Applying for a Visa

How to apply for a J-1 visa

Before you can begin your studies at IU, you will need to apply for (and receive) your J-1 visa stamp. You can do so as soon as you receive your DS-2019.

There are four steps in the process. Learn about each step below.

Step one: pay your SEVIS fee

You will have to show your payment receipt for the SEVIS fee when you arrive for your visa interview, so take care of this right away.

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

Learn how to pay the SEVIS fee

Step two: schedule a visa appointment at the U.S. Embassy in your home country

Contact the U.S. embassy nearest you as soon as possible to set up an appointment. This is important because the wait time for an appointment and for visa issuance varies. To see how long this process takes in your country, read the Department of State’s visa wait time information.

It’s best to apply in your home country. If you are not sure which embassy you should contact, see this list of U.S. embassies.

Step three: get your documentation ready

When you arrive for your visa appointment, you will be required to show a number of documents, including:

  • DS-2019
  • Valid passport
  • A SEVIS payment receipt printed from your online payment confirmation
  • Visa application forms
  • Current financial documentation that lists the sources and amounts of financial support you have secured for the current or upcoming academic year. It must match the information listed on your DS-2019.

The embassy’s website will outline other specific documents that you should bring.

Step four: prepare for your interview

Since you are applying for a nonimmigrant visa, you will need to prove to the consular officer that you do not intend to immigrate to the United States. In other words, you need to show him or her that you have definite plans to return home after college.

For more information and tips, please see NAFSA Ten Points to Remember.