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.
  1. Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (Form DS-160) – Learn more about completing the DS-160 at https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/forms/ds-160–online-nonimmigrant-visa-application.html. You must: 1) complete the online visa application and 2) print the application form confirmation page to bring to your interview.
  2. Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. Your photo must be in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements at: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/photos.html.
  3. Schedule an Interview – While interviews are generally not required for applicants of certain ages outlined below, consular officers have the discretion to require an interview of any applicant, regardless of age.

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:

  1. Passport valid for travel to the United States – Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States (unless exempt by country-specific agreements). If more than one person is included in your passport, each person who needs a visa must submit a separate application.
  2. Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page
  3. Application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before your interview
  4. Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. If the photo upload fails, you must bring one printed photo in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements at: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/photos.html.
  5. Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status, Form DS-2019 – A SEVIS-generated Form DS-2019 is provided to you by your program sponsor after the sponsor enters your information in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) system. All exchange visitors, including their spouse and minor children, must be registered in the SEVIS system. Each person receives a separate Form DS-2019.
  6. Training/Internship Placement Plan, Form DS-7002 – In addition to the Form DS-2019, participants in the J-1 Intern categories are required to complete the Form DS-7002 (based on Box 7 on Form DS-2019).ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTATION MAY BE REQUIRED

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:

  1. Proof of funding as listed on Form DS-2019;
  2. Your ability to pay all travel costs; and/or
  3. Your intent to depart the United States after completion of the J-1 visa program
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.