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BAFF - Baltic-American Freedom Foundation

Living in the U.S.


Broaden your horizons. Visit the many unique cultural and natural attractions that the U.S. has to offer.


BAFF and CIEE encourage you to take full advantage of your time here in the U.S. by visiting unique cultural and natural attractions. 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 travel outside the U.S.

Time Off and Vacation

BAFF allows up to 10 business days of vacation or personal time per year for participants on 9- to 12-month programs, or five business days for participants on 6- to 8-month long program. Any time off requires approval from your employer and supervisor.

Holidays officially observed by your employer and BAFF-organized enrichment trips, as well as any sick days, do not count as time off/vacation. You must notify your employer and the U.S. Program Manager in advance if you must take additional time off for personal reasons (graduation, exams, family, etc.).

Traveling Outside the U.S.

If you plan to travel outside the U.S. during your program, you first must notify the U.S. Program Manager to request permission to travel. This involves a CIEE representative providing a Travel Validation Signature on your DS-2019 form, and issuing you a "Letter of Good Standing" that verifies that you’re a current CIEE participant and will be returning to the U.S. 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 U.S., you’ll need to be certain that both items are still valid for the entire duration of your stay outside of the U.S. Otherwise, you’ll risk running into issues with U.S. Customs officers upon your return.

Please be aware that CIEE insurance covers travel to Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas) only!

To travel outside the U.S., 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 U.S. These materials should be sent using a trackable shipping method (FedEx or UPS are best) to:

Margarita Ivanova
U.S. Operations Manager
300 Fore Fore St.
Portland, Maine 04101

Phone: 207-553-4194
Fax: 207-553-5194

If traveling overseas, please make sure that your J-1 Visa and DS-2019 are valid upon your reentry to the U.S. If your J-1 Visa has expired, you will need to renew your J-1 Visa in your home country before you reenter the U.S.

30-day Travel Period

Your J-1 Visa allows you to travel for up to 30 days after your DS-2019 program end date. If you choose to travel during the optional 30-day travel period, you do so at your own expense.

Travel to Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas) during the Travel Period is allowed but does require travel validation. If you travel to these destinations during your Travel Period, please inform CIEE so that you can receive a Good Standing Letter for your trip.

Finally, you must return to your home country immediately following the end of your program and fulfill the two-year Home Country Residence Requirement.

Travel Resources

Online hostel booking

Hostel World
Boston Hostel
HI Chicago
HI New York
HI Washington, D.C.
Hostelling International USA - J1

Participants enjoy a 10% discount with Hostelling International USA.
Please use online promo code: CIEE2016
(10% discount and $3/non-member fees waived at check in)
Valid dates: July 6 – Dec 31, 2016 (blackout dates may apply)
Bookings online only with the Hostel directly.

Currency conversion tools


Transit tickets


Online travel agents


Discounted student travel agency


Online maps and directions

Google Maps

Online guide for activities, attractions and entertainment


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Baltic-American Freedom Foundation (BAFF)
Valdemara Centrs
Kr. Valdemara 21
Riga, LV-1010
phone: +371-67035270

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