I’m planning on leaving the USA pretty early on into my J1 visa to France for a two week holiday. I plan to start my j1 visa in the middle of December and then depart at the end of December to France. I’ve been advised by my programme adviser that they might not sign off on this as it’s too early into my programme even though my visa is multiple entry. Would it be possible to come into the US under the visa waiver, then off to France and activate my visa when I get back?
closed as off-topic by Giorgio, David Richerby, gmauch, Ali Awan, Thorsten S. Sep 10 '18 at 1:21
This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:
- "Questions about immigration or moving for extended periods of time (studies or employment, among others) are off-topic. Our sister site, Expatriates Stack Exchange might be a better place to ask. See also the meta post Is it OK to ask questions about immigration?." – Giorgio, David Richerby, gmauch, Ali Awan, Thorsten S.
In general, as a J-1 exchange visitor, you have to follow the requirements of your J-1 program sponsor (the school or organization that issues Form DS-2019). If your J-1 program sponsor agrees, either of the options you mentioned could work:
Enter the US in December as J-1 (with December start date on DS-2019), start J-1 activities for ~2 weeks, get travel signature on DS-2019, go to France for ~2 weeks, return to US and resume J-1 activities in January.
Enter the US in December as a tourist (B-2 or VWP) but don't do any J-1 activities, then go to France, then enter the US in January as J-1 (with January start date on DS-2019) and begin J-1 activities.
On the other hand, neither of the above will work if your J-1 program sponsor doesn't agree to it. In the first case, you need them to issue a travel signature on your DS-2019. In the second case, you need them to issue an updated DS-2019 with January start date. Furthermore, if your J-1 program sponsor determines that you aren't following their rules, for example by being absent from required activities, they could end your program. As a result, your flexibility to set your schedule depends on how much flexibility your J-1 program sponsor will allow.