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J-1 Application Process

A J-1 program sponsor must issue a scholar a Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility, before he or she may apply for a J-1 entry visa at a U.S. consulate or apply for a change of status within the United States. Once a DS-2019 has been issued, the scholar must pay  a fee for SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) and then make an appointment for a visa interview at a U.S. consulate abroad or apply for a change of status in the United States.

Requesting Form DS-2019

Department faculty who would like to invite an international scholar to DU must submit the following documents to Laura Buhs in International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) to request a DS-2019 for the scholar:

  • J-1 Request Form
  • Health Insurance Attestation Form
  • Scholar's curriculum vitae or resume
  • Photocopy of the biographical page(s) of the scholar's and dependents' passports
  • Original documentation of the funds to support the visitor, expressed in U.S. dollars, if the sponsor is an organization other than DU. If personal funds are shown, a bank statement including the current account balance must be provided with a currency conversion to U.S. dollars.

Please verify that all forms are complete and have been signed by required department personnel before submitting them to ISSS. The J-1 Request Form includes several options for delivery of the DS-2019 to the department. The department will then forward Form DS-2019 to the international scholar.

Paying the SEVIS Fee

J-1 scholars must pay a $180 fee to the Department of Homeland Security for the creation of a record in SEVIS. Payment of the SEVIS fee must be made after a DS-2019 has been issued and before the scholar schedules an appointment to apply for a J-1 visa. The SEVIS fee may be paid online at The scholar should print a copy of the receipt from the payment site and take it to the visa appointment.

Applying for a J-1 Visa

Form DS-2019 certifies a J-1 scholar's eligibility to engage in an academic activity at an approved program in the United States. The scholar must be issued a DS-2019 from DU and have paid the SEVIS fee before scheduling an appointment to apply for a J-1 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate.

The J-1 visa document is pasted in the scholar's passport and should not be removed. Scholars should apply for a J-1 visa as early as possible. A J-1 visa may not be issued earlier than 90 days before the program start date listed on the DS-2019, and the scholar may enter the United States up to 30 days before the program start date.

Processing Time

Visa application procedures and processing timelines vary among embassies. The scholar should consult the local consular procedures in order to estimate how long the application will take to process and what documentation will be required at the visa appointment. A list of U.S. embassies and consulates is available on the Department of State website.

Some scholars may be subject to additional security checks during the visa application process, depending on the country of citizenship and their field of activity. Certain academic fields are considered sensitive, such as chemistry, the biological sciences, and nuclear engineering.

When inviting scholars in these fields, the department should write a letter explaining the nature of the research in non-academic terms. If the consular officers determine that the proposed activity does not have applications in areas of concern, a security check may be waived. For more information on writing a writing a letter of explanation, please review Guidelines for Letters Regarding Potentially Sensitive Research.

Entry into the United States

A J-1 scholar may enter the United States up to 30 days before the program start date listed on the DS-2019. When entering the country, the scholar must present the following documents:

  • Form DS-2019
  • J-1 entry visa
  • Unexpired passport

Upon entry, the scholar will be issued an I-94 Arrival/Departure card. This card establishes the scholar's legal presence and must be kept in the passport. The I-94 card should be stamped with the date of entry, the Port of Entry location, and a "D/S" (duration of status) marker, indicating that the scholar may remain in the United States for as long as he or she properly maintains J-1 status.

Reporting Arrival

All J-1 scholars must report their entry to the United States by meeting with an international advisor in ISSS within ten days of their arrival. To schedule an appointment, please contact Laura Buhs at or 303-871-4912.