Before you begin the visa application process you must have the following documents:
- Form DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status
Your DS-2019 is required when applying for a J-1 scholar visa at an American Embassy or Consulate and for entry into the United States. This DS-2019 has been produced by Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and is an acknowledgement that your record is in the SEVIS system. The form includes your SEVIS ID number, which is the number in the upper right hand corner above the bar code (usually starts with an N). Each dependent in J-2 status are issued their individual DS-2019 as well.
- SEVIS Fee Receipt
All new scholars coming in J-1 status must pay a $180 SEVIS fee prior to applying for your visa. A new fee payment is not required for visa renewals. Simply having the original payment receipt notice is sufficient.
To apply for a U.S. visa:
You will need to present the following documents at the U.S. embassy or consulate nearest to you:
- Your Form DS-2019
- The SEVIS Fee receipt
- A copy of your financial support documents (evidence that you have sufficient funds to meet the expenses of living in the U.S.). These may include a bank statement, employment offer letter, etc.
- A valid passport
- Passport-size photographs
- Completed visa applications forms (Visa application forms are available on individual consular Web sites.)
An application fee and an interview will also be required. You must apply for your visa well in advance of your travel, as it can, in some instances take several weeks, and occasionally longer, to obtain the scholar visa. Visit the US Department of State web site to view current visa wait times.
- The U.S. Department of State has instructed U.S. consulates that they may issue a J-1 visa no more than 120 days in advance of the program start date. However, an application for a J-1 visa can be submitted more than 120 days in advance of the DS-2019 start date in order to accommodate long processing times. Again check the Web site of the consulate where you will apply for a visa for detailed instructions
- In addition, you may enter the U.S. no more than 30 days prior to the starting date noted on the DS-2019 Form. If you try to enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the start date on your DS-2019, you may not be permitted to enter the U.S.
- Additional information including guide on the visa interview process is available in our Applying for J-1 Visa Stamp instructions
- There have been (and continue to be) changes in the visa application process and these changes are usually reflected on the consular Web sites.