J-1 visa applicants should apply at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, generally in their country of permanent residence. Please consult the instructions available on the embassy or consulate website where you will apply.
If you are age: Then an interview is:
13 and younger Generally not required
14-79 Required (some exceptions for renewals)
80 and older Generally not required
You must schedule an appointment for your visa interview, generally, at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. You may schedule your interview at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate, but be aware that it may be difficult to qualify for a visa outside of your place of permanent residence. Waiting times for these interviews vary, depending on the specific consulate and time of year. For details on average visa waiting times at U.S. consulates throughout the world, go to the following website: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/wait-times.html.
There is a $160.00 USD non-refundable visa application fee, which you are required to pay before your interview. When your visa is approved, you may also pay a visa issuance fee, if applicable to your nationality. Visa issuance fee information can be found at https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/fees/reciprocity-by-country.html.
Gather and prepare the following required documents before your visa interview:
Review the instructions for how to apply for a visa on the website of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you will apply. Additional documents may be requested to establish if you are qualified. For example, additional requested documents may include evidence of:
During your visa interview, a consular officer will determine whether you are qualified to receive a visa, and if so, which visa category is appropriate based on your purpose of travel. You will need to establish that you meet the requirements under the U.S. laws to receive the category of visa for which you are applying.
Ink-free, digital fingerprint scans will be taken as part of your application process. They are usually taken during your interview, but this varies based on location.
After the interview, your application may require further administrative processing. You will be informed by the consular officer if further processing is necessary for your application.
When the visa is approved, you will be informed of how your passport with visa will be returned to you. Review the visa processing time, to learn how soon your passport with visa will generally be ready for pick-up or delivery by the courier.