FAQ on departure conditions and formalities

Leaving Europe | Departure conditions/formalities | Germany

Like Germany, Spain in a signatory of the Schengen Agreement. In order to enter Germany and Spain it is thus sufficient to apply for one Schengen visa.

The question as to which of several places of residence is considered the principal place of residence is only relevant under German law if a resident maintains several residences within Germany. Residences abroad are not taken into consideration. If a person with a residence abroad maintains only one residence in Germany, this residence is considered his or her only and thus principle domestic residence.

In your case, you will maintain one German residence for the duration of your stay abroad, which means you do not need to end or transfer your registration or have your identity card changed. The case would be different if you were to give up your domestic residence for the duration of your research stay. In this case you would have to notify the authorities of your departure and your identity card would be marked with: "Kein Wohnsitz im Inland" (No domestic residence).

A J1 visa is a Non-Immigrant Visa (NIV) for the USA. It is required by nationals of third countries who wish to enter the USA for a temporary visit and is essentially designed for exchange students, doctoral candidates and fellows.

Apart from a J1 visa there is also an H-1B visa, which is another type of NIV. The H-1B visa is a temporary employment visa which allows many foreign occupational groups such as engineers, researchers, computer specialists etc. to work in the USA. In principle, this category is open to everyone with an academic education (or the equivalent). In order to apply, the applicant must have a concrete employment offer. It should be noted that there is a limited number of H-1B visas that can be issued annually.

In order to apply for a J1 visa, you will first have to obtain Form DS-2019 certifying eligibility. This form is issued by a non-immigrant visa unit authorised by the US Department of State (DOS). Processing can take between six and eight weeks. Only once you have received Form DS-2019 will you be able to apply for a visa and an appointment for an interview at a US Consulate.

You can apply for non-immigrant visas (NIV) at the consulates in Berlin, Frankfurt or Munich. The application consists of different forms (e.g. Form DS-2019, SEVIS I-901 fee receipt), which can initially be submitted online or completed at home and must be brought along to your personal interview at the respective consulate.

The waiting time for an interview date varies from consulate to consulate and is usually between 15 and 20 working days.

Processing applications normally takes five to seven working days from the date of interview. During the busy periods around Christmas and in the summer, however, it can take up to 14 days and may take even longer if, for example, the documentation is not complete.

If your J-1 visa has expired and you remain in the USA until the end of the fellowship period without leaving the country, you only need a valid (possibly extended) Form DS-2019 for the time remaining.

However, if you have to or wish to leave the country, you must extend your visa before it expires. You cannot apply in person to extend your visa within the USA, although it may be possible to make an appointment to submit your application personally at a US Consulate in a neighbouring country (Canada, Mexico).

The other alternative is to send your application for an extension (including all the documentation) directly to the responsible US Consulate in Germany.

The marital partners and unmarried, underage children of those holding a J1 visa are eligible to apply for a J-2 visa. Family members must fulfil all the requirements for a visa to be issued, including proof that they have sufficient financial means to cover living expenses in the USA and that they will leave the country at the end of the programme. Unmarried partners are not eligible to apply for a J-2 visa.

Those who hold a J2 visa can apply to the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) for a work permit (form I-765). This application can only be submitted once you have entered the country; processing takes two to three months.


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Last updated: 10 January 2022