When applying, each visa applicant must submit to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate the following:
- DS 2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status. A SEVIS-generated Form, DS-2019, is provided to you by your program sponsor, after the sponsor enters your information in the SEVIS system. All exchange visitors, including their spouses and dependents must be registered in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
- Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160. Visit the DS-160 website to learn more about the DS-160 online process.
- A passport valid for travel to the U.S. and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant’s intended period of stay in the U.S. (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions). If more than one person is included in the passport, each person desiring a visa must complete an application;
- One (1) 2×2 photograph. See the required photo format explained in photograph requirements.
- Find out if there are any additional documentation items required by reviewing the U.S. embassy or consulate website.
- Applicants must demonstrate to the consular officer that they have binding ties to a residence in a foreign country which they have no intention of abandoning, and that they are coming to the U.S. for a temporary period. It is impossible to specify the exact form the evidence should take since applicants’ circumstances vary greatly.
As part of the visa application process, an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate is required for visa applicants from age 14 through 79, with few exceptions. Persons age 13 and younger, and age 80 and older, generally do not require an interview, unless requested by the embassy or consulate. The waiting time for an interview appointment for applicants can vary, so early visa application is strongly encouraged. Visa wait times for interview appointments and visa processing time information for each U.S. Embassy or Consulate worldwide is available on the Visa Wait Times website, and on most embassy websites. If you are authorized by your sponsor to be accompanied by your spouse (husband or wife) and children, they will also be given a Form DS-2019 and they can apply at the same time. Learn how to schedule an appointment for an interview, pay the application processing fee, review embassy specific instructions, and much more by visiting the U.S. embassy or consulate website where you will apply.
During the visa application process, usually at the interview, an ink-free, digital fingerprint scan will be quickly taken. Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a Consular Officer.
Visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs for a comprehensive overview of the Exchange Visitor (J-1) Visa.