About the DS-2019 Form

The DS-2019 Form (Certificate of Eligibility) is a controlled document of the U.S. Department of State that a sponsor issues to a potential J-1 exchange visitor. This form, together with other important documents, permits the potential J-1 exchange visitor to schedule an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate to seek to obtain a J-1 visa to enter the U.S. as an Exchange Visitor Program participant.

After Receiving the DS-2019 Form
Once you have received your DS-2019 Form from IA&A, check that all the information on it is correct. Please contact us immediately if you find that it should be amended in any way. Do not make any amendments yourself as this will invalidate the DS-2019.

If all of the information on the DS-2019 Form is correct, you may proceed with scheduling a visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. In order to schedule your visa interview, you will need to pay the SEVIS fee, complete the DS-160 Form (Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application), and pay the MRV fee.

Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee
The SEVIS I-901 Fee is mandated by Congress to support the program office and the automated system that keeps track of exchange visitors and ensures that they maintain their status while in the U.S. Each exchange visitor issued an initial DS-2019 Form is responsible for paying this fee.

The SEVIS I-901 Fee is $180 and should be paid after you have received your DS-2019 Form. You will need to have paid this fee in order to schedule your visa interview.

To pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee and learn more about this fee, please visit www.fmjfee.com.

Complete the DS-160 Form
(Note: Canadians are exempt from this requirement.)

The DS-160 (Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application) is submitted electronically to the U.S. Department of State. Consular Officers use the information entered on the DS-160 to process the visa application and, combined with a personal interview, determine an applicant’s eligibility for a J-1 visa. You can learn more about the DS-160 here.

To complete the DS-160 application and learn more, visit the Consular Eletronic Application Center.

Pay the MRV Fee and Schedule Visa Interview
(Note: Canadians are exempt from this requirement.)

The MRV (machine readable visa) Fee is a visa processing fee that is payable whether or not a visa is issued. The fee is $160 and is paid at the time you schedule your visa interview. The method of payment depends on which U.S. embassy or consulate you will be applying at.

To pay your MRV fee and schedule your visa interview, visit the Visa Appointment Service website.

Visa Interview
(Note: Canadians are exempt from this requirement.)

Due to increased security, most U.S. embassies and consulates will require you to undergo an in-person interview with a consular officer as part of the J-1 visa application. This can take anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks to arrange, so bear this is mind when you are confirming your placement start date.

Required Documents

Depending on the country in which you are applying for your J-1 visa, the following list of required documentation may vary. However, the list is generally as follows:

  • Completed DS-2019 Form (Certificate of Eligibility).
  • Completed DS-160 Form (Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application).
  • Completed SEVIS I-901 fee payment.
  • Passport, which must be valid for six months after the end date of your placement.
  • Evidence to show that you have sufficient funds to cover all expenses during your stay in the U.S.
  • Recent photograph (visit the Embassy’s website for photo size requirements).
  • Proof of ties abroad (in country other than the United States).
  • U.S. project description and/or offer letter.
  • Evidence of having paid the MRV fee with paying-in slip.
Purchase Plane Tickets

Do not book your travel to the U.S. until after you have received your J-1 visa. Delays can occur in visa processing, especially around the winter holiday (December) and during the summer period (June through September).

Information for Canadian Citizens
Canadian citizens are not required to have a non-immigrant visa for entry into the U.S. (with few exceptions). Therefore they are not required to pay the MRV fee and are not required complete a visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate before entry to the U.S.

Instead, Canadian citizens may apply to enter the U.S. at the border with the following documents:

  • Valid ID and a proof of Canadian citizenship (e.g. passport).
  • Valid DS-2019 Form (Certificate of Eligibility).
  • Proof of having paid the SEVIS Fee.

For more information please visit the travel.state.gov site.

Resources for Applicants

Read through the application steps before submitting your online application. Contact IA&A if you have any questions.

Online Application


Application Process


Health Insurance


After U.S. Arrival