I am a PhD student employed by a German university, and I am in the middle of a six-month J1 visa in the US as a visiting researcher in another university, still paid by my German employer.

Those six months are considered as a business trip, which means that I get daily allowances to cover for the difference of life price between Germany and the US. This also means that I can not take days off officially for six months (although I have plenty of days off left to take).

I want to travel home to Germany for 10 days to visit a sick relative, see family I couldn't see because of COVID, and handle the apartment I sublet.

I brought this up to my German supervisor in an email but he did not react to this specific point. I can just ask my advisor in the host university but I can not go without telling anything to my German supervisor...


  • My visa allows me to go back to Germany for a couple of days.
  • German federal reimbursement rules typically forbid business travel being combined with vacations longer than 3 day.

My Question:

The administration told me I can not take vacation because it is a business trip. But not letting me take vacations for 6 months although I earned them is quite a precarious situation. Is it legitimate for me to require some vacations and with what lever can I negociate?

  • 1
    Are you asking about the implications for your visa of returning to Germany from the US while on a J1 visa, or are you asking about the interpersonal aspect of informing/getting permission from your German and US supervisors? And on what basis/whose authority do you state that you "can not take days off officially for six months"?
    – Bryan Krause
    Sep 1, 2022 at 18:26
  • 1
    As long as the J-1 visa isn't restricted to single entry or otherwise expired it seems the immigration part should be straight-forward. As for the reimbursement issues that's something to discussed with your home institution.
    – Anyon
    Sep 1, 2022 at 18:43
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    I suppose the problem is that the visit is being financed as a business trip by the German employer. German federal reimbursement rules typically forbid business travel being combined with vacations longer than 3 days. If this is the case the OP should clarify this.
    – TimRias
    Sep 1, 2022 at 19:19
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    @MaiKar Can you please update your question to be what you are specifically asking this site for help with? If your supervisors are fine with your vacation, your visa is fine for you to leave and re-enter the country, but your German university will forbid it no matter what (for reasons still unclear to me), what's the problem you want help with?
    – Bryan Krause
    Sep 1, 2022 at 20:54
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    Can't you just formally interrupt the business trip? Just have the German university handle it as two 3-month trips with a gap in between instead of a 6-month one. I assume that should be perfectly legal even in Germany.
    – TooTea
    Sep 2, 2022 at 6:26

1 Answer 1


In my experience it's all a matter of a gentleman's agreement between you, your supervisor from the home institution and your supervisor from the host institution.

Usually they only want you to get the job done. If you do everything in one month, you can have a five months holiday. I exaggerate just a bit.

Best answer is to just ask both your bosses.

  • Indeed, I finally did that. US boss agrees, I'm waiting to see what German boss says as this is the tricky side.
    – Mai Kar
    Sep 2, 2022 at 17:38

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