Processing a J-1 Student Visa
The United States embassies or consulates will not issue a visa more than 120 days before the start of your program (item 3 on DS-2019). Consulates will allow you to apply prior to this, but may not issue your visa until the 120 day time frame occurs. You should make an appointment to obtain the visa as soon as you are eligible. There are two fees involved with obtaining a visa. One is the application fee for the J-1 visa and the other is the I-901 SEVIS Fee. Please keep in mind these are separate fees and you will need to pay both to apply for the visa. You will need a valid passport, admission letter, proof of funds, DS-2019 and the receipt for the I-901 (SEVIS Fee)*. Make sure your surname and given name match on all your documentation and that all other information is correct and up-to-date. You should be prepared to prove that you do not intend to immigrate. If you have ties to your home country, you will need to bring documentation to prove the ties, such as a letter to continue employment upon your return, documentation of economic, social and/or family ties to your homeland, and/or post graduation plans for the future in your homeland.
- If you need to reschedule an appointment for the visa, you must make a request prior to the date of the interview and show good cause for rescheduling.
- Use the DS-2019 for the school you will attend, because regardless of how many DS-2019s you are issued; only the DS-2019 used to obtain the visa will be activated.
* To obtain the I-901 receipt, you will need to pay the SEVIS Fee (I-901). This is a $200 fee that can be paid using one of three methods:
- Online with a credit card
- By mail with a check or money order
- At a Western Union
- To transfer a payment made on one SEVIS ID to another SEVIS ID