What is the process to obtain a J-1 Visa for entry into the United States? / May 14, 2024

It might be necessary for you to apply for a J-1 Internship visa if you want to take part in an educational exchange program in the US. A J-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows you to visit the United States temporarily for a cultural exchange visa, exchange visitor program, education, training, research scholar visa, or employment.
However, before applying for a J-1 visa application process, you must meet certain requirements and prepare some documents. We will walk you through each step and give you a list of the paperwork required to get a J-1 visa.

Step 1: Find an approved program sponsor

Finding a program sponsor who fits your interests and qualifications is the first step toward obtaining a J-1 visa. An organization that holds a specific category of authorization from the US Department of State to oversee exchange programs is known as a program sponsor. The J-1 visa falls into various categories, including those for camp counselors, interns, teachers, researchers, doctors, chefs, and hospitality, among others. There are time restrictions and qualifying requirements specific to each category. If you are interested in the program, contact CMI International for guidance on applying and finding suitable sponsors.

Step 2: Apply for the program and receive the DS-2019 form

To participate in a program, find a sponsor, apply, and meet their criteria. If accepted, your sponsor will input your details into SEVIS, generating a DS-2019 form. This form certifies your eligibility as an exchange visitor. Your sponsor will send you the DS-2019 form for review and signature.

Step 3: Fill out the DS-160 form online

The next step in the visa application process is to fill out the DS-160 form online. This form requires personal information, contact details, travel plans, education and work history, and other relevant details. You also need to upload a digital photo that meets specific requirements. The form can be accessed at https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/. Once you submit the form, you will receive a confirmation page with a barcode to print and bring to your visa interview.

Step 4: Pay the visa fee and SEVIS fee

To apply for a J-1 visa, you must pay two fees: a $160 non-refundable visa fee and a $220 non-refundable SEVIS fee for most J-1 categories. Both fees can be paid online or at a bank that accepts US visa fee payments. Payment for the SEVIS fee can also be made by mail using a credit card or a check. It is important to keep the receipts of both payments as proof of payment.

Step 5: Schedule and attend your visa interview

The final step in the visa application process is to schedule and attend a visa interview at the nearest US embassy or consulate. It is important to make an appointment promptly after receiving the DS-2019 form. During the interview, be sure to bring all required documents.

● To enter the U.S., make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after departure.
● Bring your signed DS-2019 form, DS-160 confirmation page,
● SEVIS fee receipts,
● A 2×2 inch color photo
● DS-7002 form if applicable.
● Health insurance coverage that meets J-1 visa requirements.
Also, include supporting documents like transcripts, diplomas, letters of recommendation, proof of financial resources, and ties to your home country.

During the interview, you will be asked about your background, program, plans in the US, and intention to return home. Answer truthfully and confidently. The consular officer will then decide whether to approve or deny your visa application.

If your visa is approved, you will receive your passport with the visa stamp by mail or courier shortly. If your visa is denied, you will receive a letter explaining the reason for the denial and guidance on whether you can reapply.

We would be thrilled to have you visit the CMI International office and take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. We understand how important it is to make the right decisions, and we are here to help in any way we can.