j-1 scholar visa

Apply for J-1 Visa

Obtaining your U.S. J-1 Scholar Visa

Once your host department submits the J-1 Scholar Request, the UNCW J-1 Scholar Advisor creates your DS-2019 and sends you the document via traceable mail.

There are three types of J-1 Scholar categories: 

Short-Term Scholar Professor Research Scholar

You will be categorized as one of the above categories. 

Your document DS-2019 is to be used to obtain your J-1 visa and as a travel document for entering the U.S. Read the U.S. Department of State J-1 Visa Welcome Brochure to understand your rights and responsibilities as a J-1 exchange visitor.  Once you receive the DS-2019, follow the steps below for obtaining your J-1 visa.

Obtain your U.S.. J-1 Scholar Visa

Paying Your I-901 SEVIS Fee

Your first step in making your US visa appointment is to pay your I-901 SEVIS fee. This fee is $180. Instructions for paying this fee can be found at http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/. You can pay this this fee by going to https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/index.html. Your SEVIS number as listed on your immigration document DS-2019.

Apply for a U.S.. Visa, Form DS-160

Complete the online visa application, form DS-160 to apply for a visa. This takes 20-30 minutes to complete.

You can view an example of the DS-160 form HERE

Documents required to complete DS-160 include:

  • Passport
  • Travel itinerary (if you already have it)
  • Dates of previous travel to the U.S..
  • Your SEVIS number as listed on your immigration document DS-2019

Schedule your Visa Appointment

For specific instructions, use the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website where you will be interviewed. You are applying for a J-1 nonimmigrant visa. This process charges a fee.

Estimate Visa Wait Times

Estimate the wait time by selecting your Embassy location on the U.S.. Visa Wait Times website.

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Documents You Should Bring to the US Visa Interview

Bring the Following Required Documents to Your Visa Interview:

  • DS-2019
  • letter of invitation to UNCW
  • proof of financial support
  • evidence that you have paid the U.S. SEVIS fee.

Additional Documents You May Provide

In addition to the required items above, you may also choose to bring additional documents showing that your stay in U.S.. will be TEMPORARY, and that you plan to RETURN HOME at the end of your academic program.

Additional documentation may include:

  • Proof of a residence in the home country
  • Family business in home country
  • Spouse/children staying in home country
  • *Note from travel.state.gov - It is impossible to specify the exact form the evidence should take since applicants' circumstances vary greatly

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How Early Can I Enter (Or How Late Can I Leave) the U.S..?

To enter the United States, you will be required to show your J1 Exchange Student Visa along with your UNCW issued DS-2019. Therefore, it is important that you keep your passport and DS-2019 easily accessible and do not pack it in your luggage. When you enter the United States, make sure the port of entry officer stamps your DS-2019 and gives it back to you.

Entering up to 30 Days BEFORE Program Start Date

Your J1 exchange student status will allow you to enter the U.S.. AS A TOURIST up to 30 days prior to the start date listed on your DS-2019. Tourists are not allowed to work or take classes.

Leave U.S.. up to 30 Days AFTER Program End Date

At the end of your J1 exchange program, you are allowed to stay in the U.S.. AS A TOURIST up to 30 day past the end date of your DS-2019. Tourists are not allowed to work or take classes.

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