You may be eligible to leave the U.S. and re-enter with a J-1 visa that is expired if you meet the following conditions:

  • You are in a valid J status
  • You are traveling to Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands
  • You will stay outside the U.S. for less than 30 days
  • You have a valid, unexpired I-94
  • You are not a citizen of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria
  • The purpose of your trip is not to apply for a renewal of your U.S. visa

To use this benefit:

  • Tell the port of entry official your intention as you leave the U.S.
  • If you were given a white card I-94 the last time you entered the U.S., do not surrender it. You will need to present it to the port of entry official upon re-entry.

Remember, if you apply for a visa renewal while outside the U.S. you are not eligible for this benefit. If you are denied the renewal and your current visa is expired, you will not be allowed to re-enter the U.S.


Driving in the U.S.

Driving in the U.S. requires a valid U.S. driver’s license and sufficient driver’s insurance. Insurance requirements vary by state. Your insurance must meet the requirements for the state in which you reside. If you own a vehicle, there are additional requirements.

  • In Texas, driver’s licenses are managed by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
  • If you have a valid license from your home country and your country recognizes an equivalent U.S. license as valid, you may drive up to one year on the out-of-country license.
  • To get a Texas driver’s license you will take written and driving exams and show proof of insurance.
  1. For information about obtaining a Texas driver’s license, pick up a brochure in the International Services Office.
  2. See the Texas Department of Public Safety website for driving laws.
  3. See the Texas Driver’s Handbook, page 3-1 for information about Texas insurance requirements.
  4. Car owners must register their vehicle.