Obtaining a J-1 Visa

J-1 Application Process for Scholars and Student Interns

1. Passport

You will need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after your arrival to the U.S.

2. DS-2019

Once you receive your DS-2019, carefully review it for accuracy. If there are any errors, notify the International Center immediately. Do not pay the SEVIS fee if there is an error on your form. Sign your form in blue ink.

3. SEVIS Fee

Pay I-901 SEVIS fee, also called I-901 fee using the Program Number and SEVIS number on your DS-2019. After you have paid the fee, print a copy of your receipt and keep it with your DS-2019. You will need this receipt for your visa application.

4. Visa Application

Apply for your J-1 visa at the United States Embassy or Consulate in your home country and refer to their website for specific application submission instructions. Review instructions for applying for a J-1 visa including links to the DS-160 application form and any applicable fees.

5. Visa Interview

Schedule and attend your visa interview. Bring all required documents with you and plan to arrive early. You will be interviewed in English. Remain calm and answer all questions honestly. Wait for the embassy or consulate to return your passport to you or inform you it is ready to pick up with your J-1 visa in it. Check your visa for any potential errors. Keep your passport, DS-2019 SEVIS receipt and other documents with you when you travel – do not pack these items in your checked luggage.

Note: Canadian citizens: do not need a J-1 visa to enter the U.S. Pay the SEVIS Fee, then provide at the port of entry all of your documents (DS-2019, I-901 receipt, Cal Poly admissions acceptance letter, proof of funding).


Contact Judy Mitchell at (805) 756-5837 if you have urgent questions about the visa process, or email intlservices@calpoly.edu.