Back to Blog

8 Steps To Apply For A J1 Visa In 2024

18 Mar 2024By Team J1X

The J1 Visa serves as a bridge for cultural exchange which allows individuals from around the globe to share their culture, knowledge, and skills in the United States. The program fosters mutual understanding through educational and professional exchanges. As we step into 2024, the application process for the J1 Visa has been updated to streamline the experience for applicants. This is to ensure a more efficient and supportive journey toward cultural exchange. 

Let’s take a look at an 8-step process to apply for a J1 Visa in 2024.

Step 1: Fill Out DS-2019 Online Application

The DS-2019 form, also known as the “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status,” is a critical document for the J1 Visa application process. It verifies your eligibility for participation in the Exchange Visitor Program. To complete the form accurately, you’ll need:

  • The program’s start and end dates.
  • Contact information for your host company (email, phone number, address).
  • Your personal information, ensuring it matches your passport.
  • The type of Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) you’ll be participating in.

Accuracy and attention to detail are paramount when filling out this form to ensure a smooth application process.

Step 2: Submit Required Documents

Submitting the correct documents is a foundational step in your J1 Visa application. Required documents typically include:

  • Internship/Training plan detailing the objectives and structure of your program.
  • Proof of English proficiency, which could be a free online assessment or scores from standardized tests like TOEFL.
  • Diploma or proof of current enrollment for students; this requirement may vary for trainees.
  • A current resume or CV.
  • A copy of the biographical page of your passport.

Organize these documents early and ensure they are clear and up-to-date to facilitate a seamless review by your visa sponsor.

Step 3: Pay Program Fees

To join the Trainee/Intern program, J1X requires a $1,495 J-1 processing fee. Additional costs include a $220 SEVIS fee and a mandatory $125 per month for the J-1 program and insurance. For living expenses, anticipate spending approximately $900 on housing, $200 on utilities, $250 on food, and $100 on local transportation monthly. Utilizing the J-1 Visa Pricing Calculator can offer a closer estimate of your total expenses, assisting in effective financial planning for your exchange visitor experience.

Step 4: Verify Placement

Host company verification is a key step in the J1 Visa process, ensuring the internship or training opportunity meets the program’s standards and requirements. Your sponsor initiates contact with the host company to confirm the placement details. This verification process is crucial for maintaining the integrity of the Exchange Visitor Program as it safeguards participants against fraudulent or non-compliant offers. 

Step 5: Attend Pre-Departure Orientation

Pre-departure orientation is designed to equip participants with essential knowledge and insights for navigating life in the U.S. Topics typically covered include cultural adjustment, legal rights and responsibilities under the J1 Visa, and practical advice for living and working in the U.S. This orientation serves as a comprehensive guide to help you make the most of your exchange experience, highlighting the importance of cultural sensitivity, adherence to program regulations, and tips for professional development within the American work environment.

Step 6: Receive DS-2019

Upon successful verification of your placement and completion of all preliminary requirements, your visa sponsor will dispatch your DS-2019 form. This document, crucial for your visa application, officially identifies you as an eligible participant in the Exchange Visitor Program. It’s imperative to review and fully understand this document upon receipt, as it outlines the specifics of your program, including duration and sponsorship details, setting the foundation for your upcoming cultural exchange journey in the United States.

Step 7: Local Embassy or Consulate Interview

Preparing for the J1 Visa interview involves gathering essential documents, dressing appropriately, and understanding the types of questions you may be asked. Required documents typically include your passport, DS-160 confirmation page, payment receipt, a photo, your DS-2019 form, and the DS-2007 form. 

Dress in business casual to convey professionalism. Familiarize yourself with common questions regarding your program, your intent to return home, and how you’ll support yourself in the U.S. Practice clear, concise responses to demonstrate your qualifications and intentions.

Related: Popular J-1 Visa Interview Questions: How To Answer Them

Step 8: Receive Your Visa

After the interview, the consulate will either inform you immediately about the decision or you might have to wait for their communication. If approved, you’ll receive your visa directly or via mail, attached to your passport. In case of denial, inquire about the possibility of appeal or reapplication based on their feedback. For approved applicants, it’s crucial to understand your visa’s terms and prepare for your U.S. arrival, ensuring compliance with all conditions of your stay.

Finding a Host Company

Before embarking on the J-1 Visa journey, identifying a host company in the U.S. for your internship or training is crucial. This U.S. organization is where you’ll gain practical experience, separate from your J-1 visa sponsor, which handles the administrative side of your application. To find a host company, approach the process as you would any job search: with commitment and persistence. Utilize your network, diligently search job boards, and be prepared to apply widely. Success in securing a host company hinges on proactive effort and strategic job hunting.

Navigating the Application Timeline

Understanding the timeline for your J-1 Visa application is essential to ensure a smooth process. Start by identifying potential host companies early, as this can be the most time-consuming step. Once you’ve secured a host, the subsequent steps, from filling out your DS-2019 application to attending your embassy interview, have more predictable timelines. 

Be mindful of visa processing times and embassy appointment availability, and aim to begin your application well in advance of your intended start date in the U.S. This foresight will help mitigate any delays and ensure you’re ready for your cultural exchange experience.

How J1 Visa Exchanges Helps You Throughout the Application Process

J1 Visa Exchanges, as your dedicated J1 visa sponsor, is committed to ensuring a smooth and successful application process for your cultural exchange experience. From the moment you decide to embark on this journey, J1 Visa Exchanges is there to support you every step of the way. They begin by verifying your eligibility for the program, and meticulously reviewing your application to ensure it meets all regulatory requirements. Their expertise extends to assisting you in gathering and submitting the necessary documentation, including navigating the complexities of the DS-2019 form.

Moreover, J1 Visa Exchanges provides invaluable pre-departure guidance, equipping you with the knowledge and preparation needed for life in the U.S. They also play a crucial role in facilitating your placement with a host company, leveraging their extensive network and resources to find a match that aligns with your professional goals and aspirations.

Throughout the application process, J1 Visa Exchanges offers personalized support, addressing any questions or concerns that may arise, ensuring you feel confident and prepared. Their commitment to your success is unwavering, from your initial application to your arrival in the United States, making them an indispensable partner in your cultural exchange journey.

Team J1X

Team J1X

Explore J-1 visa exchange programs for students, professionals, and teachers. Get help with the visa application process, insurance, and travel!

Let us help you with your J-1 Visa Case today!