Applying for a J-1 Visa
Prospective exchange visitors who reside abroad are required to obtain a J-1 visa from a U.S Embassy or Consulate General’s Office to request permission to enter the U.S. However, entry to the U.S. is not guaranteed, even if a visa is issued to the exchange visitor. The Department of State web site advises the public that, “Applicants should be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States”.
The DS-2019 form is one of the documents needed to obtain J-1 status and a J-1 visa. The Exchange Visitor Services (EVS) at UFIC will issue a DS-2019 form for a J-1 visitor once the sponsored department/center completes the invitation process and request this form to EVS.
Exchange visitors who reside abroad must pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee before the visa interview is conducted at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate General’s office to obtain the J-1 visa. See FAQs about the SEVIS Fee for additional information.
Exchange visitors who currently reside in the U.S. and change from another nonimmigrant status to J status must pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee before submitting an application Form I-539 (For an In Country Change of Status) to change status with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The Form I-539 must be filed before the expiration date of the exchange visitor’s current status.
We highly recommend you view the website of the consulate office in your home country to get current information on the requirements to apply for your J-1 visa. Below is a standard list of the basic required documents, the consulate will inform you if you need additional documents. To find the consulate office near you please click here.
- DS-2019 – Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status
The DS-2019 will be created for you by the UFIC. This is the main immigration document that allows you to apply for a J-1 visa and ultimately enter the U.S. The original DS-2019 MUST be presented by you during your visa appointment. The Department of State web site advises the public that, “Applicants should be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States”.
- SEVIS Fee (I-901)
All prospective J-1 visa holders are required to pay the SEVIS fee based on your SEVIS ID Number located in the top right-hand corner of your DS-2019. Once the fee is paid we recommend you print out two copies of the payment confirmation - one copy for your personal records and one copy to take with you to your visa appointment. For more information, click here.
- Proof of Funds
You will need to take a copy of the proof of funds to your visa appointment. This should be the same proof you provided to the UFIC or host supervisor to create your DS-2019.
- DS-7002 – Intern Placement Plan (Only for J-1 Interns)
The Intern Placement Plan will be created by your UF host supervisor. This document will be approved by the UFIC and be sent to you along with your DS-2019. A copy of the DS-7002 Placement Plan MUST be presented by you during your visa appointment.
Be sure to carry your immigration documents with you; DO NOT PACK THE DOCUMENTS IN YOUR LUGGAGE. You will have to prove your intent again at the U.S. Port of Entry. Be sure you have your J1 visa, passport, copy of electronic I-94, DS-2019, DS-7002 (if J-1 Student Intern) and proof of funds.