How to Apply for J-1 Visa

J-1 student learns from professor.

The J-1 visa, also known as "exchange visitors program," is authorized by the Department of State (DOS) and meant for those who intend to participate in an approved program. The goal of these programs is to promote the interchange or persons, knowledge, and skills in the fields of education, arts, and science.

Steps to Apply for J-1 Visa

1Choose a program and find a U.S. sponsor. Exchange programs include:

  • Study
  • Observation
  • Conducting research
  • Instructing or lecturing
  • Teaching
  • Consulting
  • Demonstrating special skills
  • Receiving training
  • Receive graduate medical education or training

2The applicant receives Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status (formerly known as an IAP-66).

This is a SEVIS generated form provided by the U.S. program sponsor.

3Complete Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application.

This is a U.S. Department of State form. The applicant uploads a photograph as the applicant process.

4Pay the visa application fee of $160.00.

5Schedule a visa interview at the nearest U.S. consulate or embassy.

Applicants aged 13 or younger and applicants aged 80 or older are generally not required to have a visa interview.

6Attend the visa interview.

The applicant should bring the following documents to the interview:

  • A U.S. passport valid for at least six months beyond the intended period of stay in the U.S.
  • Receipt for payment of visa application (if required to pay before the interview)
  • Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status, Form DS-2019
  • Training/Internship Placement Plan, Form DS-7002 (if applicable)

7Attend the visa interview.

At the interview, the applicant`s documents will be reviewed, their fingerprints will be scanned and a U.S. consular officer will ask them about the visa application.

8The visa application is approved or denied.

The consular officer will either approve or deny the visa application at the interview.

9If the visa application is approved, receive a visa and travel to the U.S.

The applicant may enter the U.S on a J-1 visa not more than 30 days before his/her program starts

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