How to Apply for an Initial J-1 Entry Visa

Check Your Documents

Form DS-2019

  • Your Form DS-2019 indicates that we have created a record for you in SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System), a government database for international students and scholars. Your unique assigned SEVIS ID number is in the upper right corner above the bar code on page one. Check to see that all information is correct. If you have informed us that your dependents (husband, wife, or children under the age of 21) will come with you to the U.S., each of them will receive their own "dependent" Form DS-2019 needed for applying for their J-2 visas and entering the U.S. in J-2 status. If your family name is different from your dependents, be prepared to show documents that prove your relationship.


  • Make sure your passport is valid for a minimum of six months into the future from the date you will arrive.

Pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee

Go to this website: and follow the instructions. You will require the Form DS-2019 to pay the SEVIS Fee. Print copies of the payment confirmation – one for the visa appointment and one for your own records. Your payment confirmation can be printed at any time from this website by clicking the “Check I-901/Print Payment Confirmation” button.

Plan ahead!

Check on current visa wait times and schedule your visa appointment at the U.S. Consulate. See for information about current wait times for the appointment and for visa issuance. NOTE that the processing wait times do not include extra time that may be required for administrative processing of certain cases. Refer to to locate the nearest U.S. Consulate and its instructions for applying for a visa (including links to required forms). Make a list of documentation required for the interview. Note procedures for paying the visa application fee and any visa issuance fees, if applicable.

U.S. Visa Forms

DS-160: Everyone applying for a non-immigrant visa must complete this form. COMPLETE THIS ELECTRONIC FORM ON-LINE and take a printed copy with you to the interview:

Checklist for the Visa Interview

Have both the originals and a set of photocopies of your documents. In addition to the items listed here, you may be required to submit additional documents as listed on your local consulate's website:

  • A passport valid for at least six months

  • Form DS-2019

  • J-1 Exchange Visitor Official Invitation Letter from Stevens Institute of Technology

  • Completed visa application (DS-160). Remember to complete the DS-160 electronically and take a printed copy with you.

  • A passport-size photo less than six months old. Check [ENTER LINK] for photo details.

  • A receipt for the visa application fee

  • Payment confirmation of the SEVIS fee.

  • Financial support documentation for you and dependent(s) accompanying or following to join you that shows you have sufficient funds to cover your living expenses during the period you intend to stay.

  • Any information that demonstrates your intention to return to your home country after finishing your program in the U.S. This may include information/proof about your property, family, or other ties to your community.

  • Remember to read NAFSA's 10 Points to Remember when Applying for a Nonimmigrant Visa