While a significant aspect of the BridgeUSA purpose is to facilitate cultural and educational exchange, all activities during the BridgeUSA program period, including domestic and international travel must:
- Be directly related to the program objectives described on the form DS-2019
- Must be communicated to the faculty host and HR administrator in compliance with 22 C.F.R. § 62.10(e)(2) to monitor the welfare and progress of the Exchange Visitor
- Domestic travel does not require a specific authorization from the OIE
- International Travel requires a specific authorization on the form DS-2019 that can be obtained by submitting a travel authorization e-form request in iStart
To be eligible to return to the U.S. during the period of a BridgeUSA program after travel, a J-1 scholar or student intern must have:
- A valid/unexpired DS-2019 form
- A signature from a Responsible Officer at the sponsoring organization on the bottom right side of the DS-2019 "validating" the return travel to the U.S.
- A valid/unexpired passport
- A visa stamp in the passport that is unexpired at the time of return travel to the U.S.
J-1 scholars and student interns must complete the Travel Signature Request e-form via iStart prior to departing from the U.S. OIE advisors will review the travel details and provide any information you should consider or act on before traveling. Travel abroad for substantial periods of time during the BridgeUSA program presents practical challenges and scholars and their faculty host will be expected to articulate the programmatic reasons the extended travel outside of the U.S. is a needed to complete the program objectives using the Attestation to Recommend Out of Country Authorization form which is available in the travel signature e-form. Travel that will exceed 30 days will require an "out of country" request e-form as additional information and review by the Responsible Officer is required.
Note that J-2 dependents are not eligible to remain in the U.S. during a period of J-1 travel that exceeds 30 days and any approved travel e-form will allow an OIE international advisor to sign both J-1 and J-2 dependent DS-2019 forms.
Exception to Valid Visa Requirement: Automatic Visa Revalidation
Automatic visa revalidation allows F and J non-immigrant visa holders to visit Canada, Mexico and adjacent Caribbean islands (excluding Cuba) for less than 30 days and reenter the U.S. with an expired visa stamp. Upon returning to the U.S, students utilizing automatic visa revalidation must present a valid passport, I-20 or DS-2019 with travel signature, and I-94 record. If you have an electronic I-94 record, it is recommended that you bring a hard copy during travel and present it upon exit and entry. Citizens of certain countries, including Cuba, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan and Syria are not eligible for Automatic Visa Revalidation.
Note: Non-immigrants who apply for a visa during their stay in Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean are not eligible to use automatic visa revalidation if the visa is denied or delayed.