Passport & Consular Services

How To Apply for a J-1 Visa?

To apply for a J-1 visa, you will typically need to follow these general steps:

Find a J-1 Program Sponsor: Identify and connect with a J-1 program sponsor. Program sponsors are designated by the U.S. Department of State and can assist you throughout the application process. Different sponsors offer various J-1 programs, so choose the one that aligns with your desired exchange visitor program.

Obtain a DS-2019 Form: Your J-1 program sponsor will provide you with a DS-2019 form, which is the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status. This form is necessary for the J-1 visa application.

Pay the SEVIS Fee: Visit the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) website and pay the SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) fee. You will need to provide the payment receipt during your visa interview.

Complete the DS-160 Form: Fill out the online DS-160 form, which is the Nonimmigrant Visa Application. Submit the form electronically and print the confirmation page. You will need the DS-160 confirmation page for your visa interview.

Schedule a Visa Interview: Visit the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country and schedule a visa interview appointment. The wait times for appointments can vary, so it’s advisable to schedule your appointment well in advance.

Prepare Required Documents: Gather the necessary documents for your visa interview. This typically includes your passport, DS-2019 form, DS-160 confirmation page, SEVIS fee payment receipt, a photograph meeting specific requirements, financial documents to demonstrate your ability to support yourself during your stay, and any additional documents specified by the embassy or consulate.

Attend the Visa Interview: Arrive at the embassy or consulate on the scheduled date and time for your visa interview. Be prepared to answer questions about your exchange program, your intentions in the United States, and your ties to your home country. Present your documents when requested.

Visa Processing and Approval: After the interview, the consular officer will determine whether you are eligible for a J-1 visa. If approved, your passport will be returned to you with the visa affixed inside. The processing time for visa issuance can vary, so check with the embassy or consulate for estimated processing times.

Travel to the United States: With your J-1 visa in hand, you can travel to the United States. Make sure to review the entry requirements and any additional requirements imposed by your program sponsor.

It’s important to note that the J-1 visa application process may have variations and additional requirements depending on the specific J-1 program and the U.S. embassy or consulate where you apply. It’s recommended to consult the official website of the embassy or consulate and follow the instructions provided to ensure a smooth application process.

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