I know that this question has been asked a lot in this forum, but I am still a bit unsure as to how fill up this field. This is partly due to the response that I received from a CKGS representative. My travel history to US is as follows:
August, 2012: Entered US on a B1/B2 visa and returned to India after a week.
October 30, 2016: Entered US on a J1 visa to start my postdoc. The exit stamp from Indian immigration also bears the same date.
November 11, 2017: Went back to India for renewing my J1 visa.
December 20, 2017: Re-entered US on a new J1 visa to continue my postdoc. Note that my program number and the SEVIS-ID on my DS 2019 remains the same. I have been in USA since my reentry.
Looking extensively at the forum it seems like that should enter October 30, 2016 as the date of leaving abroad, although technically speaking I entered US for the “first time” in August, 2012.
Date of last visit to India should probably the latest departure stamp from the Indian immigration authorities ? I am putting down the period of stay as one year 10 months (counting from October, 2016 to current month excluding the time spent in India during visa renewal).
Please correct me if I am wrong in any of these steps, and any advice would be much appreciated. Sorry for the long post.