Most Exchange Visitors must enter the United States on a J visa. You will receive Form DS-2019 (also known as the “Certificate of Eligibility for the J Visa”.) from your program sponsor. Be sure to read the form thoroughly, understand what is required of you, and sign the form. Information from the DS-2019 will be needed when you pay the SEVIS Fee prior to applying for your visa.
Exceptions to the Visa Requirement
Although a valid passport is always required, U.S. visa policy permits citizens of certain countries to travel to the U.S. without a visa. Citizens of the following countries are not required to apply for a visa:
Bermuda, or citizens of the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda
Bahamian nationals or British subjects resident in the Bahamas
British subjects resident in Cayman Islands or Turks and Caicos Islands
Citizens of the Republic of the Marshal Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia
Please note: Only citizens of these countries will not require a visa. Landed immigrants will require a visa to travel to the U.S.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires the collection of a one-time SEVIS Fee of $180. You must have a receipt that you paid that fee before you may schedule an appointment with a U.S. consulate.
For more information on SEVIS, please click here.
J Visa Application Procedures
You should present the following at the U.S. consulate when you apply for a J visa:
Form DS-2019, issued in SEVIS by Emory University or your program sponsor. This form will be signed in blue ink by the RO/ARO at item 7. You will also need to sign and date the bottom of the form
Proof of having paid the SEVIS fee
Documentation evidencing financial ability to meet expenses
Evidence of English ability sufficient for exchange program
Evidence of residence abroad and intent to depart the U.S. after completion of your program
DS-156, "Nonimmigrant Visa Application"
Form DS-157 if required
Form DS-158 photographs
Proof of having paid the Machine Readable Visa (MRV) fee
Visa reciprocity fee (if applicable)
You must have an interview with a U.S. Consular officer in order to get your visa. In the interview, you must establish that you do not intend to immigrate to the U.S. and that you have a residence in a country outside the U.S. to which you will return. You will be presumed to be an immigrant until the consular officer establishes that you qualify for nonimmigrant status. The burden to prove this is on you - so you must be prepared.