Living in the U.S.
Travel During Your Program
HAESF encourages you to take full advantage of your time here in the US to broaden your horizons by visiting many of the unique cultural and natural attractions that the US has to offer. North America is a vast continent with a huge diversity of attractions and activities - please take the time to explore them! However, there are certain restrictions limiting your ability to take time off and traveling outside the US.
Time Off & Vacation
HAESF allows up to 5 business days of "vacation" for participants on a 6 month long program. However, any time off requires approval from and depends entirely on your arrangement with your Host Organization.
Holidays officially observed by your Host Organization, sick days and personal days do not count as time off / vacation. If you must take additional time off for personal reasons (graduation, exams, family etc.), you must notify in advance your Host Organization and the HAESF Manager in Portland, Maine.
Traveling Outside the US
If you plan on traveling outside of the US during your program, you must first notify the HAESF Manager and/or CIEE to request permission to travel. This involves CIEE signing your DS-2019 form, and issuing you a "Letter of Good Standing" that indicates that you are a current HAESF participant and will be returning to the US to continue your program. While the travel signature on your DS-2019 remains valid for six months, the good standing letter is only valid for three months. Therefore, each time you plan to travel outside of the US, you need to be certain that both items are still valid for the entire duration of your stay outside of the US. If this is not the case, you risk running into issues with US customs officers upon your return.
To travel outside the US, please send CIEE your DS-2019 form, along with a pre-paid, self-addressed, trackable mail envelope and a note stating your travel dates, destination, mailing address and phone number. Please send this material at least two weeks before you intend to travel outside of the US. These materials should be sent using a trackable shipping method (FedEx or UPS are best) to:
Attn: HAESF Manager
300 Fore Street
Portland, ME, 04101
Also, please also make sure that your J-1 visa is still valid upon your reentry to the US (your DS-2019 must also still be valid). If your J-1 visa has expired, you will need to apply for a new J-1 visa in Hungary before you reenter the US. This also means that you cannot travel outside of the US and reenter during the 30-day travel period at the end of your training. Please check that you are allowed to enter the US more than one time (it will be indicated on your visa under the word "entries" by the letter M for "multiple"). If you are not, you will likely be denied entry at US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
30-day Travel Period
Your J-1 Visa allows you to travel for up to 30 days after your DS-2019 program end date. However, this option is available only to participants who notified HAESF in advance and as completed on the Acceptance Form Declaration. If you choose to travel during the optional 30-day travel period, you do so at your own expense.
During this travel period, you will not be allowed to travel outside the United States. If you leave the US, you will not be readmitted on your J-1 visa, regardless of any connecting flights you must make. Plan your travels well in advance.