Contact the embassy or consulate of the country to which you are traveling to determine if you need a visa to enter that country. Each country has different laws governing entry of foreign citizens. It may be necessary for you to obtain a visa from the consulate or embassy prior to departing the United States.
Foreign consular offices are located in cities throughout the United States. Foreign embassies are located in Washington D.C. and most countries have a consulate or Mission to the United Nations in New York City.
Temporary Workers (H-1B Status)
- Locate the original Form I-797 (notice of approval for your H-1B petition)
- Locate a copy of your appointment letter. If you cannot find the appointment letter, contact the International Service Office.
- Check the visa stamp in your passport to determine if it has expired. If it has expired, you will need to review your visa at an U.S. Consulate in the country in which you are traveling. You should follow the instructions for entering the United States on page 1 of this book. You must contact IFSO to request a Visa package 2 months in advance.
When you leave the United States, you will be asked to surrender your Form I-94. Please remember that upon re-entry you must receive a new Form I-94.
Please note that for travel to Canada or México, you should be permitted to reenter the US with an expired visa in your passport. Also, if traveling to Canada, you may not be required to surrender your Form I-94. If at all possible, keep it, often upon return from Canada, you will not be given anew Form I-94.
H-4 Dependents of Temporary Workers
If traveling without the H-1B holder, dependents should bring a copy of the H-1B holder’s visa, Form I-94 and a letter confirming continued employment of the H-1B. If they are traveling alone and need to renew their visas, they must also bring a copy of the original Form I-797 and a copy of the petition. Please remind your dependents that they need to receive a new Form I-94. Please refer to the section Obtaining a Visa to Enter the United States. (Page 1)
Exchange Visitors (J-1 Nonimmigrant Status)
- Check the visa stamp in your passport. If the visa in your passport has expired; you will need a duplicate Form DS-2019. If you are sponsored by IFSO (researchers) please contact the International Service Office at least 2 weeks prior to traveling.
- If the visa stamp has not expired, you will need to have a DS-2019 Form endorsed by the Responsible Officer of your Exchange Visitor Program. If you are sponsored by the University of Texas at Brownsville, you must take the DS-2019 Form to the IFSO for a signature from one of the Immigration Advisors or Manager. If you are renewing your visa while abroad, follow the steps in the section of this booklet entitled Obtaining a Visa to Enter the United States. (Page 1)
J-2 Dependents of J-1 Exchange Visitors
The J-2 dependent(s) of the exchange visitor traveling outside the United States without the exchange visitor should follow the above instructions, with the following exceptions:
If the dependent(s) visa stamp has expired, they will need a duplicate DS-2019 Form for family travel. This Form may be obtained from, the ISO. If their visa stamps have not expired, they need only to bring a copy of the J-1 exchange visitor’s DS-2019 and Form I-94.