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I am a a dual-citizen in two European countries A and B. I am currently a J1 Visa student in USA using my A passport, but will be going to Europe to work during the summer, and return to the US again in august to continue my program.

During my stay in Europe I will need to obtain a new J1 Visa, a new passport (old one is expiring), and will somewhere in-between receive a new DS2019 from my program sponsor.

During the summer I am considering flying to the US with my SO for around two weeks as a tourist. As far as I know this is perfectly legal for me to do using my B-country passport under VWP. However, I am worried I might run into trouble at the border because:

  1. I've just spent 10 months in the US and actually have all my things put into storage here
  2. I don't have a DS2019 to show that I am/will be a legitimate student again in the future. Naturally I have no doubts that I will receive one, but the bureaucratic process takes some time
  3. Me using a different passport might appear fishy to the border agent, even though I have disclosed my dual-citizenship to the US before, and my I94 history correctly shows all my entries across all passports

As such I wonder, what precautions should I take, or alternatively what would be good documents to bring with me to avoid being turned away at the border?

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It seems to me like you're making this too complicated for a vacation. If the border officer asks why you're switching passports and statuses, how will you explain it? This kind of tricky solution might sometimes be expedient for someone who suddenly needs to travel for an unforeseen emergency (like a dying relative, etc.) if they can't get their usual passport or visa in time, but it doesn't seem appropriate for your case.

The simplest solution is to get your new DS-2019 soon (preferably before you leave the US), renew your A passport soon (also possibly before you leave the US), renew your J-1 visa abroad, and then return to the US with valid J-1 visa and DS-2019. This should be the simplest solution even if all you're doing is tourist activities for two weeks. If you're having trouble getting your updated DS-2019 soon enough, you should first talk with your school's international student office and explain your situation. They should prefer to help you get the right documents earlier, in order to help you avoid the situation of needing to switch passports and statuses.

Note: I'm assuming you need a new DS-2019 only to extend the end date, and that it will already have a travel signature when you receive it. If you're actually changing to a different J-1 program with a different SEVIS ID, the advice would be different.

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    Furthermore, if it is acceptable to enter as a tourist during summer vacation, it would be possible to do that with the same passport. – phoog Apr 10 at 13:08

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