One of the most frequently asked questions about the J-1 Program is the possibility to ask for an extension. After all, if you could make such a fruitful experience last longer, why wouldn’t you?
Yes, it is possible to ask for an extension, for as long as the maximum duration of your specific program will allow you (to be more specific: an extension will allow you to have a maximum of 12 months in the US). This is, however, under the prerogative of the necessary authority.
You will receive a new Form DS-2019 if you are allowed to extend your internship. This document will allow you to remain in the United States until the end date.
On the other hand, keep in mind that the Visa printed in your passport will remain the same, meaning that if you were to depart the United States after the expiration of this Visa you would need to apply for a new visa and go through the embassy interview in order to return.
If you are thinking of getting an extension just because you want to stay in the country a while longer to travel and appreciate the culture, then you might not need one after all. There is a 30-day grace period after your program during which you no longer hold J status but may still remain in the country. During this time, you will no longer be allowed to work and you are advised not to go beyond U.S. borders with the intention to re-enter, as you will no longer be able to do so.