The “Grace Period”

Here is what you need to know about the “Grace Period”. If you want to read the boring government language the full text is here or expand the text below.

  • The ‘Grace Period’ begins after the end date listed on your DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility form.

“Following the completion of their program, the period defined on the Form DS-2019, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows participants a 30-day travel period commonly referred to as the ‘Grace Period.’”

  • Your J-1 program is over. The privileges or benefits you had from being on a J-1 program no longer apply. Your SEVIS record automatically is closed, and your sponsor can only provide limited assistance at this point.

“During this 30-day grace period, participants are no longer in J-visa status, and are under the jurisdiction of the USCIS.”

  • This means you don’t have to finish your internship on a Friday, and be on a plane by Saturday. You can take some time to pack, maybe do some sight-seeing, and get a better flight deal before you head home.

“The USCIS grants this period to allow participants to settle their affairs and to prepare to return to their home countries.”

  • If you are doing an internship or a training program, you must stop your training and stop going to your host company. If you are assisting at a school as a teaching intern, and their school year continues after your program you still have to stop going to the school.

“Program participants may no longer continue and/or complete exchange activities, nor may they work.”

  • Your Grace Period ends once you leave the US or the 30 days is up, whichever is first. If you leave the US 15 days after your program ends, you will need to look into a different type of status if you want to come back.

“Although participants may travel in the United States, it is recommended that they do not travel beyond the borders of the United States as they may not be permitted reentry.”