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Leave of Absence Authorization

J-1 Research Scholars who will be out of the country for more than 30 days for business/research, or for more than 60 days for personal travel, should notify the International Services and Engagement Office (ISEO). J-1 scholars can notify ISEO by submitting a J-1 Leave of Absence Request.

  • For extended absences of three months or more, J-2 dependents should accompany the J-1 principal.
  • Please make sure to submit this request before the leave begins as this request cannot be back dated.
  • After receiving the Leave of Absence Request, ISEO staff will input the leave information into the J-1 scholar's SEVIS immigration record to alert immigration officials that the scholar will be outside the U.S. for a duration of time but their J-1 program will remain active. When submitting the request form, confirmation emails will be sent to the department administrator and the scholar's supervisor or PI.
  • Please see the requirements for maintaining an active J-1 program below. Keeping your J-1 program active is important when considering the 24-month bar, also discussed below.
  • J-1 Short-Term Scholars and J-1 Student Interns are not eligible for a J-1 Leave of Absence. If you are in one of these categories and will be outside the U.S. for a longer duration of time, you can contact with any questions.
Request leave of Absence via 
NOTE: This Leave of Absence request is pertinent only to International Faculty and Scholar Services for purposes related to SEVIS; for an official leave of absence from UC San Diego, you will need to work with your departmental administrator

Requirements for keeping an "ACTIVE" SEVIS record

In order to maintain an active J-1 program during the leave of absence:
  • The J-1 Leave of Absence Request must be submitted in prior to the leave.
  • The J-1 scholar must engage in on-going collaboration with UC San Diego during the leave.
  • The leave of absence must not exceed six months.
  • The J-1 scholar must maintain the required level of health insurance coverage.
  • If the date of return falls after the expiration of the current J-1 program, a DS-2019 Extension Application will need to be submitted via iServices in addition to the Leave of Absence Request (along with recharge fee).
  • If entering the U.S. during leave of absence for a brief period (e.g., attendance at a professional conference), the J-1 scholar must enter in J-1 status (not B-1, WB, etc.); contact your scholar advisor for more information.

24-Month bar on certain J-1 categories

All J-1 Exchange Visitors in the Professor or Research Scholar category (Box 4 of your Form DS-2019) are subject to a "24-Month Bar" on "repeat participation" in those categories. Scholars subject to the bar may not return to the U.S. as a J-1 scholar in the Professor or Research Scholar categories for a 24-month period once our office has completed or terminated your program.  This 24-Month Bar will be in effect regardless of the duration of the program: whenever an Exchange Program ends and the SEVIS record becomes "inactive," the five-year window is "closed" and you must wait 24 months before beginning a new program as a J Professor or Research Scholar.  Unused time from the five-year window may not be saved for use later.

To take advantage of the full five years of the J Research Scholar category, you would need to maintain an "active" SEVIS record if you plan to return to UC San Diego after a period of absence.

Before returning to the U.S.

Prior to your return to the U.S., please make sure that you have all your required immigration documents for re-entry. 

A valid J-1 visa stamp is required for re-entry. Therefore, you may need to contact the U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad to apply for a new visa.

Upon arrival, you are required to check in at ISEO with your immigration documents.