I am a visitor in the US on a J1 visa.

I want to transfer my Visa from Institution A to Institution B. Do I need to be physically present in the US so that this transfer can happen?

Suppose I leave the country, would I need to show up again within a certain time frame? By comparison, I know they only let you enter the US within the first 30 days of your J1 start (since you must report to your institution), but is there anything similar with J1 visa transfer?

1 Answer 1


(I previously posted this answer on travel.SE but the question was closed there)

As you hinted in your question, the J-1 transfer regulations (22 CFR 62.42) are not entirely clear as they do not directly address the question of being outside the US during a transfer. There are some practical problems involved, such as the requirement for the new program sponsor to immediately validate your program which includes confirming your "actual and current US address". The Responsible Officers of both the old and new program sponsor have some discretion in determining what is acceptable, so the bottom line is you can only do it if both of them accept your plan.

If possible, you could avoid such issues if you can be in the US to continue participating in your current J-1 program first, and then do the transfer within the US. Alternatively, if you don't plan to enter the US at all, you might not need to maintain J-1 status at all.

  • "if you don't plan to enter the US at all, you might not need to maintain J-1 status at all": if you're not in the US, you have no J-1 status.
    – phoog
    Aug 30, 2022 at 6:38
  • @phoog while that's literally true, the issue is more complicated than that. If you continue your J-1 activities while out of the country, or are out of the country for a short break, your J-1 program may remain active. On the other hand, if your J-1 program becomes inactive, you will no longer be able to re-enter the US on that J-1 program. Starting a new J-1 program or re-activating a deactivated program may or may not be possible depending on many factors. OP should consider all of this and more when deciding whether to keep their J-1 program active while out of the country.
    – krubo
    Aug 30, 2022 at 13:03
  • Point taken. Thanks for clarifying.
    – phoog
    Aug 30, 2022 at 13:06

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