Visa Stamp

Passport Stamp

Why It’s So Important

The visa stamp is one of the most important documents in your possession for making entry into the US. If you do not have a valid J-1 visa stamp in your passport, you will not be allowed to board a plane and make entry into the US in J-1 status.  

Canadian scholars will not have a machine-readable stamp placed in their passports.  

You cannot revalidate/obtain a visa stamp within the borders of the US. You will need to obtain a new/extended visa stamp at a US embassy/consulate abroad. It is generally best practice to renew your visa stamp in your country of citizenship; however, applications can be made at any US embassy/consulate as a third country national.  

If you lose your passport that contains your visa stamp, you will be required to go through the entire process to obtain a visa stamp again; there is no “replacement” process in place.  

Visa Validity Time

J-1 Scholars: The amount of time you receive on the visa stamp is determined by the dates on Form DS-2019.

NOTE: You can remain in the US on an expired visa stamp as long as you are maintaining valid J-1 status. The visa stamp should be thought of as an entry ticket. It does not have any bearing on your eligibility to remain in the US once you have crossed the border.  

Automatic Visa Revalidation

There is an exception to the requirement of having a valid visa stamp in your passport. If you are traveling to Canada, Mexico or the adjacent Caribbean Islands for a trip of 30 days or less, you are not required to have a valid J1 visa stamp in your passport –  provided you have all of the rest of the appropriate documents for re-entry (valid Form DS-2019 and passport).

However, if you apply for a new/revalidated visa stamp in Canada, Mexico or the adjacent Caribbean islands, this automatically invalidates your ability to use the automatic visa revalidation clause.

Quick Reference

Pamela Redmond
Immigration Specialist


M-F, 10 am - 5 pm
Office of International Services
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
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Winston-Salem, NC 27407
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Last Updated: 08-10-2016
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.