Obtaining a Visa

If you are a Canadian citizen with a valid passport, you do not need to apply for a visa stamp. However, you need to pay the SEVIS fee before entering the United States.

Apply for a J-1 visa

To request J-1 status for you, your hiring department at IU must submit an electronic request (e-form) through Atlas. We request that your department submit the e-form at least three months before your start date to allow for OIS processing, mailing, obtaining a visa, and making flight and living arrangements.

During this application process, you will also submit information about any J-2 dependents you plan to bring with you.

Your IU department has to submit the J-1 Application for New Exchange Visitors form. Your department will have to provide your passport, proof of English proficiency, and proof of funding.

The form contains:

Your department may ask you to complete the Applicant and Dependents Information sections of the form. If so, you will receive a link to these sections.

After we review and approve the form, you’ll receive an email with your SEVIS ID number and Exchange Visitor Program Number. While we’ll create your DS-2019(s), your department will mail them to you.

After you receive your SEVIS ID number and the Exchange Visitor Program Number from your program sponsor, you can pay the SEVIS fee online. If you are bringing dependents with you, you will need their SEVIS ID numbers as well. (All of you will share a program number.) You do not need to wait to receive the DS-2019(s) to pay this fee.

Remember to print your online receipt. You will need it for your visa interview and visa application.

The online application includes a list of documents and information you will need.

Do this as soon as possible, as wait times for appointments vary by country. To see how long this process takes in your country, read the Department of State's visa wait time information.

See the list of U.S. embassies and consulates to find the nearest one and schedule your appointment.

You will be required to show several documents at your visa appointment, including:

  • Your DS-2019
  • A valid passport
  • Your SEVIS payment receipt
  • Visa application forms
  • Current financial documentation that lists the sources and amounts of financial support you have secured for your program, totaling at least $1200 per month for the duration of your invitation. If you are bringing your spouse, unmarried children under the age of 21, or both, you must also show access to $500 per month for the first dependent and $300 per month for each additional dependent.

Depending on what country you are from, you may also have to pay a visa fee at your appointment. Learn more.

Because you are applying for a nonimmigrant visa, you will need to prove to the consular official that you do not intend to immigrate to the United States. In other words, you need to show that you have definite plans to return home after your IU program is complete.

The embassy or consulate may require security clearances before it will issue your J-1 visa stamp. The requirement may be because of your name, birth country, country of citizenship, field of study, or field of research. Security clearances can take two to six weeks, or more than six weeks in rare cases. Plan for these wait times when you make arrangements to travel to the United States.

Enter the United States and validate your program

You can enter the United States up to 30 days before the start date on your DS-2019. You must arrive no later than 30 days after the start date.

Report to the Office of International Services upon your arrival at your IU campus. You should report to us no later than 30 days after the DS-2019 start date so we can validate your program. See where to find us.

J-1 transfer to IU

If you are already in the United States on J-1 status and plan to come to Indiana University without leaving the country, contact us immediately. If you are eligible, we will assist with the transfer of your J-1 program to IU.