As a J-1 scholar, you should make copies of all travel documents and keep the copies in a safe place, separate from the originals.
Photocopy the following documents:
Passport identification pages that have your picture and personal information, as well as official information (including its date of expiration). If you have subsequently renewed/extended your passport, make sure that you copy the page with the extension information.
Passport page with your visa on it
Both sides of your Form I-94
All pages of your DS-2019 and any subsequent documents you receive. If you transferred to Emory, you should also keep the originals and photocopies of the documents from your previous program.
Your passport is your own government's permit for you to leave and re-enter your own country. You should keep your passport valid at all times. Consult your own consulate or embassy in the U.S. to renew your passport at least six months before it expires. The consulate officials will tell you what forms and fees, if any, are required. You can link to Washington, D.C. embassies to obtain contact information for your country's nearest consulate.
Visa (if applicable)
The visa stamp put in your passport by the U.S. Consulate abroad is generally required to enter the United States (see below for exceptions). It indicates the immigration classification you will have when you are admitted to the United States. You must renew your visa if it has expired and you are planning on traveling outside the North American continent. You may renew your visa by visiting the U.S. Consulate in the country to which you are traveling. If you are not going to your home country, be sure to consult with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country you are visiting prior to leaving the U.S. to be sure you can obtain an appointment and renew your visa there. Visas cannot be renewed inside the U.S.
For instructions on setting up an appointment and documentation requirements for applying for the J-1 visa stamp, visit the web site of the U.S. consulate you plan to visit when applying for your visa at List of U.S. Consular Offices worldwide.
Citizens from a number of countries are not required to hold a J-1 Visa stamp. For a full list of these countries, please click here.
Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record
The I-94 is a small white card which confirms that you have been admitted to the U.S. You will receive it on your flight or at the border crossing. The I-94 is usually stapled adjacent to the U.S. visa page (if applicable) in your passport. It contains an eleven-digit identifying number (called your departure number) that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses to keep track of your arrival in and departure from the United States. DHS sometimes refers to the "departure" number as the "admission" number.
There may be a date written in the upper right corner of your I-94. You must leave the U.S. by that date or apply to extend your stay. If there is not a specific date, but rather the inscription "D/S" (duration of status), you are admitted for the length of your program as indicated on your DS-2019, plus a "grace period" of 60 days. If you receive an I-94 with a date rather than "D/S", consult with your advisor in ISSP.
The DS-2019 form is the certificate of eligibility for non-immigrant J-1 exchange visitor status. This document is issued by a representative of your program sponsor, known as a Responsible Officer (RO) or Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO). This could be Emory University, a government agency, or an organization that sponsors scholars for exchange programs. Each DS-2019 issued to you is important and should be retained for your records.