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I am French, and I am currently working in the US as a postdoctoral researcher under a J1 visa. I am planning to go back to France in August for research purpose, but I don't know exactly what document I need. I am especially trying to find out if there is something special to do for a more than 30 days leave, and what is the exact definition of the 30 days limit.

I have a valid visa, a valid DS2019, and a signature on it which allows me to travel. However until now, all my travels were way less than 30 days so I never had to solve this question. But to my understanding, if I am traveling more than 30 days I need a special document to be signed.

Question 1: Is that true and if yes, what is that document?

The tricky thing in my case, is that I would like to travel exactly 30 days (flights are cheaper on the selected dates than happen to be exactly 30 days). So I have 2 questions:

Question 2: What happens if my first flight US->France leaves US at 1pm on July 30, 2016, and I am flying back on August 28, 2016, arriving in the US at 11am (if I am not mistaken it corresponds exactly to 30 days, and is less than 30*24 hours)?

Question 3: What happens if my first flight US->France leaves US at 1pm on July 30, 2016, and I am flying back on August 28, 2016, arriving in the US at 9pm (if I am not mistaken it corresponds exactly to 30 days, but more than 30*24 hours)?

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    You seem to think there's some special procedure for trips outside the US exceeding 30 days' duration. What is the source of this belief? I've never heard of such a thing. – phoog Jul 26 '16 at 6:50
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    @phoog For example ap.washington.edu/ahr/visas/j1/travel : "Exchange Visitors occasionally leave the US for short periods for a variety of personal or business reasons. Short periods are 30 days or less. J-1 scholars may be absent from the U.S. for more than 30 days only if that absence is consistent with the purpose of the Exchange Visitor’s J-1 program. Exchange Visitors who anticipate being outside the US longer than 30 days to perform research or other collaborative UW activity must complete and ISO must approve an Out of Country Request before the Exchange Visitor leaves the US." – Vincent Jul 26 '16 at 7:19
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    Since you will be gone for all or part of 31 calendar days, you're definitely on the edge. The safe thing to do is to assume that your absence counts as longer than 30 days and get preapproval. – phoog Jul 26 '16 at 7:25
  • @phoog You were true. I changed the date then to August 28 (instead of August 29). – Vincent Jul 26 '16 at 7:35

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