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Visiting International Students Visa Process

Follow These Steps

Step 1: Paying Your I-901 SEVIS Fee

Your first step in making your US exchange student visa appointment is to pay your $220 SEVIS fee.

Instructions Pay I-901 Fee

Step 2: Apply for a U.S. Visa, Form DS-160

Complete the online visa application, form DS-160 to apply for a visa. You can access instructions at Travel.State.Gov. You will be required to pay the DS-160 visa application fee of $160 by following instructions on your local U.S. embassy or consulate’s website. View An Example of Form DS-160.

Documents required to complete DS-160 include:

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

Step 3: 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 student nonimmigrant visa.

Estimate Visa Wait Times

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

Additional Resources

Bring the Following Required Documents to Your Visa Interview:

  • DS-2019
  • Letter of admission 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 It is impossible to specify the exact form the evidence should take since applicants' circumstances vary greatly.

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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