How to Apply for a J-1 Visa: 5 Easy StepsMay 18, 2021
Do you want to know how to apply for a J-1 Visa? Let Experiance Abroad give you a 5 easy step-by-step guide on how to get one.
The J-1 exchange visitor visa is a nonimmigrant visa for foreign nationals participating in Cultural Exchange Activities which provides countless opportunities for international candidates looking to travel and gain experience in the United States.
This program was developed to expose individuals from around the world to the culture and institutions of the United States and to foster a better understanding between nations on a variety of issues through educational and cultural exchange programs.
As a J-1 visitor, you may remain in the United States until the end of your exchange program, as specified on your form DS-2019. Once your program ends, you may remain in the United States for an additional 30 days, often referred to as a “grace period”, in order to prepare for departure from the country.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to apply for a J-1 Visa:
Step 1: Get a Program Sponsor
To apply for a J-1 Visa, you have to find a program sponsor first. Sponsors are organizations that administer specific exchange programs and select and monitor participants. Individuals who wish to participate in an exchange program must reach out to sponsors directly to learn about the program they offer and its application requirements.
Step 2: Pay for the Fees
Once you have found a J-1 program sponsor and you have enrolled in an exchange visitor program, you must pay two fees before getting started.
- Program Fees – These fees depend on your program details. You should ask your sponsor for a breakdown of these costs. Only individuals in a federally funded exchange program are exempt from program fees.
- SEVIS Fee – The SEVIS fee funds the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Your sponsor may pay this fee on your behalf. If they do, they must provide a receipt confirming payment. You will need this receipt during the J-1 visa application process.
To know more about our program fees, click here: Experience Abroad Program Fees
Step 3: Process/Apply for the DS-2019
The Form DS-2019, also called the “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status,” is the primary document used in the administration of the exchange visitor program. It identifies the exchange visitor, their sponsor, a program description including start and end date, program category, and an estimated cost of the exchange program.
Keep this form safe, as it is necessary during the J-1 visa application process and for all administrative procedures that take place during your program.
Step 4: Complete the Required Documents
Make sure to bring the following requirements before going to the Embassy for your interview schedule.
- Passport (valid for six months beyond your proposed stay in the U.S., unless exempt)
- Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (Form DS-160) confirmation page
- Application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before your visa appointment
- A Photo that meets photo requirements (in case the online photo upload failed)
- Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status (Form DS-2019) issued by your J-1 program sponsor
- Training/Internship Placement Plan (Form DS-7002), if participating in a Trainee or Intern program
The consular officer at your visa appointment may also request additional documentation to determine whether you receive a J-1 visa such as:
- Documents supporting your purpose of travel
- Documents showing your intent to depart the United States after your travel
- Documents showing you or another person’s financial means of covering your cost of travel
You must also read the Legal Rights and Protections pamphlet before your visa interview to learn about your rights in the United States.
Step 5: Attend your Visa Interview Schedule
Of course, applying for a J-1 Visa means you have to go to the US Embassy for an interview.
At your interview, a consular officer will determine your eligibility for an exchange visitor visa based on your submission of the necessary documents and forms. The Consul may ask you to present any of the documents required which is the reason you have to bring all necessary documents. They will then ask you to provide an ink-free, digital fingerprint.
J-1 Visa regulations impose significant compliance responsibilities on employers. Experience Abroad works with host organizations and participants to coordinate the details of their training program may it be through processing applications, delivering guidance on travel procedures, ensuring that government reporting requirements are met, or checking in with trainees and interns throughout their stays in the United States.
Since you have already learned a few steps on how to get started, let Experience Abroad be your bridge to realizing your American dream.