Welcome to Georgetown University! This site contains pre-arrival information compiled by the Office of Global Services (OGS) to assist you with your move to Georgetown.
The goal of Georgetown University's J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is to promote cultural and educational exchange between international and domestic students, faculty, staff and community members as well as to promote greater diversity and international awareness within the University community.
Components of this program include:
- Educational, research and teaching activities,
- Cultural exchange programming (such as Language Exchange Program, Global Expo),
- Cultural adjustment support,
- Logistical support, and
- Immigration advising.
Prior to applying for your visa, you will need to pay a one‐time Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Fee. This fee is assessed in addition to the visa application fee. J‐2 dependents are not subject to the SEVIS fee.
To pay the SEVIS fee, visit www.fmjfee.com and complete Form I‐901. Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your DS‐2019 Form and print your receipt for inclusion with your visa application. Your SEVIS Identification Number can be found at the top right corner of your DS‐2019 Form. It starts with an “N”. The Program Number can be found in Box 2 of your DS-2019 Form (P‐1‐01850).It is recommended that you carry the payment receipt with your DS‐2019 Form to show to the immigration officials at the port of entry as well.
Following payment of the SEVIS fee, you will need to complete the DS‐160 visa application form and schedule an appointment at the U.S. Consulate for a visa interview. When you go to your interview, take the DS‐2019 Form, the SEVIS fee payment receipt, your passport, and any correspondence received from Georgetown University regarding your stay. If you will not be financially supported by Georgetown University or if Georgetown is only providing a portion of your financial support, you must be prepared to show the Visa Officer proof of your financial support in the form of original documents. If your family members will be traveling with you, they should apply for their J‐2 visas at the same time. If OGS has not already issued separate DS‐2019 Forms for them, please notify your OGS Immigration Advisor as dependents must have their own DS‐2019 Forms. Please contact the U.S. Consulate nearest you for information regarding the application procedures and fees (http://usembassy.state.gov/).
Intent to Return: YTo obtain your J‐1 visa, you must demonstrate to the U.S. Consular Officer that you intend to return to your country of citizenship or legal permanent residence after you have completed your J‐1 program. Any statements made during the visa interview which cast doubt on your intentions of returning home may result in the denial of the visa. Although some consulates permit applications from third-party nationals, it may be difficult to prove your non‐immigrant intent if you do not apply for a visa in your home country.
travel to the united states
Once your visa is granted, you may enter the United States up to 30 days prior to the start date on your DS‐2019 Form. At the U.S. port of entry, you will be asked to present your DS‐2019 Form, passport, and J-1 visa to the U.S. Immigration Inspector. Your passport should be stamped with the date of entry and "J-1 D/S". These markings indicate that you have entered in J‐1 status (or J‐2 status for your accompanying dependents) for the duration of your status. After arrival, you should also visit https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home to print out your Form I-94. This is the proof of your J-1 status in the United States. If you arrive by land (from Mexico or Canada), you must schedule and pay the I-94 fee in advance of your arrival to the border. You can do this here: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home
If you will arrive later than the start date on your DS-2019 Form, please e-mail your OGS Immigration Advisor with the date you plan to arrive so that she can amend the start date to allow you to arrive later.
In addition to your immigration‐related documents, we also advise that you may want to bring certified copies of the following documents:
- Birth certificates for yourself and each member of your family.
- Marriage certificate, if you are married.
- Copies of diplomas and/or professional licenses with English translations.
- Copies of vaccination records for any children who will attend school.
J-1 Student Intern Check-in
You are required to schedule a check‐in appointment with an OGS Immigration Advisor within 30 days of the start date of the DS‐2019 Form. OGS is located in the Car Barn at 3520 Prospect St NW, Suite 210. Please bring your passport and DS‐2019 Form as well as these same documents for any dependents. You should also bring proof of health insurance to this appointment. Topics covered during the check‐in appointment include regulations governing J‐1 visa status, Social Security numbers, travel, and living in Washington.
OGS must register your arrival within 30 days of the start date of your DS‐2019 Form in order for you to remain legally in the United States. You must attend a J-1 check-in in order for your arrival to be registered. If you will arrive later than expected, please notify your OGS Immigration Advisor by e-mail.
You also need to check-in with OGS prior to applying for a Social Security Number (SSN).
Please note: if you intend to travel outside of the United States after your arrival, you will need to obtain your OGS Immigration Advisor’s signature on the DS‐2019 Form in order to re‐enter the United States. This is done at the check-in appointment.
Mandatory Health Insurance
Federal regulations require J-1 Exchange Visitors to obtain health insurance for themselves and any J-2 dependents for the entire length of stay in the United States. Georgetown requires all scholars to certify insurance coverage upon arrival in the United States. The requirements are:
You and any dependents in J-2 status must have health insurance for the entire period of stay.
The minimum requirement for coverage is at least $100,000 per accident or illness.
Insurance coverage for medical evacuation is required with a $50,000 minimum. This is used in the unlikely event that you or a family member must return to your home country for medical treatment.
Insurance coverage for repatriation of remains is required with a $25,000 minimum. This is used in the event that you or a family member should die in the United States and the remains must be returned to your country.
The maximum deductible on the health insurance may not exceed $500 per accident or illness.
Insurance policies secured to fulfill the requirements of this section may require a waiting period for pre-existing conditions that is reasonable as determined by current industry standards; May include provisions for co-insurance under the terms of which the exchange visitor may be required to pay up to 25% of the covered benefits per accident or illness; and must not unreasonably exclude coverage for perils inherent to the activities of the exchange program in which the exchange visitor participates. Any policy, plan, or contract secured to fill the above requirements must, at a minimum, be underwritten by an insurance corporation having an A.M. Best rating of “A-” or above; a McGraw Hill Financial/Standard & Poor’s Claims-paying Ability rating of “A-” or above; a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of “B+” or above; a Fitch Ratings, Inc. rating of “A-” or above; a Moody’s Investor Services rating of “A3” or above; or such other rating as the Department of State may from time to time specify; or backed by the full faith and credit of the government of the exchange visitor’s home country; or part of a health benefits program offered on a group basis to employees or enrolled students by a designated sponsor; or offered through or underwritten by a federally qualified Health Maintenance Organization or eligible Competitive Medical Plan as determined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
You may use insurance coverage from your home country if it meets these criteria or purchase U.S. based insurance. Information on insurance plans is available on our Health Insurance Website. Student Interns are required to have insurance prior to their arrival in the United States.
Please make sure that any coverage you choose meets the requirements outlined above as well as your medical needs. You may wish to verify that the insurance policy covers the birth of children in the United States as well as mental health services. Living in another country can be stressful, so it is a good idea to have insurance that also covers mental health services. Note: If you will not be paid by Georgetown and you or your spouse is pregnant, you are advised to purchase health insurance in your home country. Most insurance companies in the United States consider pregnancy a pre-existing condition and will not cover the related expenses if you or your spouse is pregnant upon arrival in the United States.
If you will be in a full-time paid position, you may be eligible to participate in one of the insurance plans offered by the University for its employees. If you wish to sign up for one of these insurance plans, you must do so within 60 days of beginning work. Benefits begin on the 1st of the month. If you are not starting on the 1st, you will need to purchase temporary insurance until you can be covered under Georgetown insurance. The Georgetown University insurance plans offered to paid employees meet the requirements outlined above, except for the CareFirst BlueChoice Advantage CDHP with HSA plan.
Affordable Care Act Requirements
The Affordable Care Act mandates that all individuals who are considered U.S. residents for tax purposes (as defined by the IRS) carry adequate health insurance coverage. Most J-1 scholars are considered nonresidents and are not subject to the mandate. In general, J-1 scholars are considered nonresidents if they have been in the United States for less than 2 calendar years. It is the responsibility of the scholar to determine whether or not they are subject to the mandate. Georgetown University health insurance offered to employees satisfies the Affordable Care Act minimum coverage requirements.
For more information, including options, visit our Health Insurance website.
I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form
If you will be employed at Georgetown, you must complete an I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form on your 1st day of employment. If you will work on the Main Campus, complete an I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form in Human Resources on your 1st day of employment. For Main Campus employees, it is best to set up an appointment by e-mailing email@example.com. If you will work at the Medical Center, Law Center or University Services, you should do this with your Department on your 1st day of work.
restrictions/obligations of j-1 status
By entering the country in J‐1 visa status, you accept the responsibility of meeting the terms and conditions stated on the DS‐2019 Form. You will be admitted into the United States for the sole purpose stated in section 4 of the DS‐2019. Please notify OGS if any of the following occur:
- the source of your funding changes
- the nature of the work you are doing changes
- the end date of your work changes
- your sponsoring institution changes
- your U.S. address, telephone or e-mail address changes (must be reported within 10 days of the change)
Failure to notify OGS of any of these changes may invalidate your immigration status and affect your legal permission to stay in the United States.
J‐1 Student Interns must work full-time (at least 32 hours per week)at the internship. They may not engage in any employment (either on or off campus) that is not described on the DS‐7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP).
know your rights
If you will work in the United States under the terms of your J-1 visa status, it is important for you to know your rights. Please review the Wilberforce Pamphlet on the Rights and Protections for Temporary Workers.
the two-year home residence requirement
Individuals in J‐1 and J‐2 status will be subject to the two‐year home residence requirement [also known as 212(e)] if any of the following apply:
1) Participation in the exchange program is financed, directly or indirectly, by the U.S. government or a foreign government;
2) The skills the Exchange Visitor is coming to develop or exercise are in a field which the Exchange Visitor’s home government requested be included on the State Department’s skills list (skills in short supply in the home country);
3) The Exchange Visitor comes to the United States to receive graduate medical education or training.
Those who are subject must return to their home country for two years before they are eligible for the more permanent visa categories (H‐1B temporary worker, L‐1 intra‐company transfer, and Legal Permanent Resident status). It also prohibits subject individuals from requesting a change in immigration status from within the United States. At the time of the visa interview, the Consular Officer will indicate whether or not a prospective J‐1 is subject to this requirement, both on the DS‐2019 Form and on the visa stamp.
U.S. tax laws require that approximately 30% of the U.S.-based income be withheld in the form of taxes. You may, however, reduce this tax burden by taking advantage of certain tax benefits to which your J-1 status may entitle you.
If you will be paid by Georgetown, once you are in the GMS Human Resources system, you should set up your tax withholding by completing the Tax Office Google form and following their instructions for submitting your documents. E-mail any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All Student Interns will be required to complete at least one tax form by April of the next year, whether or not they have received U.S. source income. Visit our website in February for details.
social security numbers
In order to work in the United States, you must apply for a Social Security Number (SSN). All individuals in J‐1 status are eligible to apply for an SSN even if they are not currently employed in the United States. This number serves as your unique taxpayer identification number. You may apply for an SSN after you have checked in with the Office of International Programs, and your SEVIS record has been registered.
banking & living expenses
Washington, D.C. is one of the most expensive areas in the United States. Please note that the funds that you were required to show to obtain your DS-2019 Form represent the bare minimum of funding needed to support you during your stay and do not allow for any luxuries.
For information on banks in the Georgetown area, please see http://internationalservices.georgetown.edu/money/.
Due to space limitations, Georgetown does not offer on-campus housing for interns. We recommend that you DO NOT enter into a contract with any landlord or send money for housing before arriving and viewing the property. However, it is helpful to begin to think about your budget and research properties before you arrive.
The University maintains an Off-Campus Housing listing that may aid scholars in their search for housing. Scholars may visit their website prior to arrival (http://studentliving.georgetown.edu/off-campus/) to research prices and locations in the D.C. area. Upon your arrival at Georgetown, you can visit the Office of Neighborhood Life is located at 1300 36th Street.
Additional links to housing search tools as well as tips on finding housing are available on our website.
transportation & arrival
Detailed information about Washington, D.C. transportation options and additional arrival information are both available here.