Applying for a U.S. Visa & Travel to the United States
Your Form DS‐2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J‐1) Status, indicates that Georgetown University will sponsor your immigration status in the United States. Please read the instructions on page 2 of the form and sign the Exchange Visitor Certification on page 1.
Prior to applying for your visa, you will need to pay a one‐time Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) I-901 Fee. This fee is assessed in addition to the visa application fee. J‐2 dependents are not subject to the SEVIS I-901 Fee. To pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee, complete Form I‐901. Write your name exactly as it appears on your DS‐2019, and print your receipt to include with your visa application. Your SEVIS Identification Number starts with an “N” and can be found at the top right corner of your DS‐2019. The Program Number can be found in Box 2 of your DS-2019 (P‐1‐01850). We recommend you carry the payment receipt with your DS‐2019 to show to the immigration officials at the port of entry as well.
Then, you will need to complete the DS‐160 visa application form and schedule an appointment at the U.S. Consulate for a visa interview (except for Canadian citizens). When you go to your visa interview, take:
- Form DS‐2019
- SEVIS I-901 Fee payment receipt
- Any correspondence received from Georgetown University regarding your stay
- Original financial documents (Personal bank statements, employment letters, scholarship letters, etc.)
- Appointment letter, if paid by Georgetown
- J-2 dependent documents, if applicable
- Form DS-2019(s)
- Birth certificates for each child, if applicable
- Marriage certificate, if applicable
Intent to Return: To 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 complete 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.
For more information, please refer to the Department of State’s J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa website.
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:
- Participation in the exchange program is financed, directly or indirectly, by the U.S. government or a foreign government;
- 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);
- 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 after two years before they are eligible for the more permanent visa categories (H-1B temporary worker, L-1 intra-company transfer, K-1 Fiancé, 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 a prospective J-1 is subject to this requirement, both on the Form DS-2019 and on the visa stamp.
Once your visa is granted, you may enter the United States up to 30 days prior to the start date on your Form DS‐2019. At the U.S. port of entry, you will be asked to present:
- your DS‐2019, passport, and J-1 Visa
- SEVIS I-901 Fee payment receipt
- J-2 passport(s), J-2 visa(s) and DS-2019(s), if applicable
In addition to your immigration‐related documents, we advise that you bring certified copies of the following documents:
- Financial documentation
- Georgetown University Appointment letter
- Birth certificates for yourself and each J-2 dependent
- 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
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 print out your I-94 Record. This is the proof of your J-1 status in the United States.
If you intend to arrive by land (from Mexico or Canada), you must schedule and pay the I-94 Fee in advance of your arrival at the border.
If you will arrive later than the start date on your DS-2019, please email your dedicated IS Advisor with the date you plan to arrive.
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. Please review the full list of requirements and health insurance options on our J-1 Health Insurance web page.