Before You Arrive
Applying for J-1 Status
Please note, these directions are meant to help you in completing your application but should not be considered legal advice. The US Department of State ultimately provides the decision on your visa application. You must be accurate and truthful in your application. Be aware that any information you withhold from your application, or inaccurate information you accidentally or intentionally include in your application, could result in a visa denial. This information also includes your social media presence.
1. Get your DS-2019 form
All immigration documents for J-1 exchange visitors must be requested directly from the academic department. Once you have established an affiliation with an academic department, a liaison from the department will reach out to us (Scholar Services). Once we review and approve the request, we will issue a DS-2019 form to you. It’s very important that you don’t lose this form! You will need to it to apply for your J-1 visa and to enter the US.
2. Pay the SEVIS fee
The SEVIS I-901 form must be paid at least three business days prior to your visa interview. If you do not pay the SEVIS I-901 fee, then your visa application will be denied. Be sure to print a copy of the receipt after you pay and keep it in a safe place. You must bring the payment receipt to your visa interview.
Canadians and other foreign nationals who do not need a J-1 visa stamp will be required to pay the fee before going to the US port of entry. The fee CANNOT be paid at the port of entry.
You can complete Form I-901 and pay the fee online. Please be sure to enter your information exactly as it appears on your DS-2019 form.
J-2 dependents are included in the fee and are not required to pay a separate SEVIS fee.
3. Apply for your J-1 visa
NOTE: Canadian citizens do NOT need a visa and can skip this step.
OGS strongly recommends applying for the visa in your country of citizenship or legal permanent residence. You may be able to apply in another country, but some US consular offices do not accept third-country nationals so you should inquire with the consular office directly.
For your appointment, you will need to bring:
- your passport, valid for at least 6 months past the end date of your program;
- your DS-2019 form, signed in blue ink by an official at Scholar Services;
- your NYU invitation or appointment letter;
- proof of financial support, such as bank documents, NYU offer letter, or scholarship letter;
- a completed form DS-160 (online nonimmigrant visa application);
- for J-1 Student Interns ONLY: your DS-7002 signed in blue ink by an OGS advisor and your supervisor; and;
- any other documents required by the consular office (review the consular office’s website).
Any family member who needs to a J-2 visa must submit their passport, DS-2019 form, proof of financial support, and proof of marriage or parenthood to the embassy/consulate.
Specific procedures vary, so you should carefully review any instructions on the website for the consular office where you plan to apply. You can also check appointment and processing wait times.
Due to the COVID-19 situation the US Department of State suspended routine visa services in March 2020. On July 14 they began a phased resumption of routine visa services. We recommend you continue to review the website of the consulate or embassy you intend to apply for your US visa at to be aware of any further updates in their services. Although all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments are cancelled, the Machine Readable Visa (MRV) fee is valid and may be used for a visa appointment in the country where it was purchased within one year of the date of payment. To find the website of the consulate or embassy nearest you, review this listing of websites of US Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions.
4. Make sure you have adequate health insurance in place before your start date
Review the mandatory health insurance requirement information and prepare your insurance documentation. You will be asked to provide proof of health insurance coverage when you register with OGS.
Arrival in the US
Make sure your transition to New York goes smoothly by reviewing these tips. We look forward to seeing you once you arrive!
1. Book your trip and find a place to stay in New York
Once you have received your J-1 visa, it is time to make your travel arrangements and find a place to stay in New York. Learn more about living in NYC and finding a place to live.
2. Enter the United States within 30 days before or after your start date
You may enter the US up to 30 days before or 30 days after the start date on your DS-2019. This is very important. While you may want to arrive sooner to find an apartment, US law prohibits you from doing so. The only exception is for J-1 scholars who are transferring to NYU from another institution.
Scholar Services must validate your arrival with SEVIS within 30 days of your start date. If your travel plans change and you plan to enter the US later, please email email@example.com so we can amend your start date and keep your SEVIS record active.
3. Have the following immigration documents ready when arriving into the US:
- A passport valid at least six months into the future;
- Your J-1 visa (if you are Canadian you do not need a J-1 visa);
- Your DS-2019, issued by NYU (and for Student Interns ONLY your DS-7002);
- Copies of your NYU invitation letter and financial documents; and,
- Evidence that you have paid the SEVIS fee.
- Effective January 26, 2021, all travelers entering the US require a negative COVID-19 test. [As of December 28, 2020 all travelers entering the US from the UK require a negative COVID-19 test.] Air passengers are required to get a viral test within 3 days before their flight to the US departs. Travelers are also required to provide written documentation of their lab result to the airline or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19. More details regarding documentation for a negative test and FAQs can be found with the Centers for Disease Control.
- J-1 exchange visitors who were physically present in any areas impacted by CDC travel restrictions -- including during flight layovers -- within the 14 days precenting arrival in the US must have a valid National Interest Exception to cover their dates of travel to the US. Please contact your nearest US Embassy to request a National Interest Exception.
Carry all of your immigration documents with you! Do not pack them in your checked luggage. Make sure you have your documents as you pass each security checkpoint or inspections area.
4. Know how to get from the airport to your NYC destination
There are three airports in the New York area:
• John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
• LaGuardia Airport
• Newark Liberty International Airport
Before you arrive in NY, it is best to have a plan for ground transportation from the airport to your final destination. Options include taxis, car services, shuttle buses, subways, and trains. The most convenient option would be by car, and yellow taxis, are usually less expensive than car services. You can check the airports' websites for more information. You can also read more on getting to NYU.
5. Learn how keep your legal status in the US when you arrive
Review the arrival checklist and learn what you need to do to keep your legal J-1 status!
Be familiar with the terms of your J-1 program. Before you apply for a J-1 visa at a US Embassy, you should be familiar with certain terms and regulations:
Your DS-2019 form is a US Department of State (DOS) document which Scholar Services issues to you for the purpose of obtaining exchange visitor status under the sponsorship of NYU. The end date indicated on your DS-2019 determines how long you are allowed to stay in the US and participate in a J-1 program.
Do NOT use another institution’s DS-2019 form to enter the US. Any time you are issued a new DS-2019 form to begin a new program, amend program information, transfer, extend, or change your status, you should keep it in a safe place with any other DS-2019 you may have been issued.
Your J-1 visa is issued by the US consulate. It permits you to enter the US in J-1 status, and its validity period indicates the period during which you may enter the US; it does not determine how long you may stay in the US.
The I-94 is an official US government record of when you enter and depart the United States. Your I-94 record confirms what immigration status you entered the United States in, and the duration of time you can legally remain in the US. Learn more about the I-94 record.
The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a US government database designed to monitor the arrival, continuing status, and departure of F, J, and M visa holders. All US educational institutions sponsoring international students and scholars are required by law to be compliant with SEVIS. The database contains records of all J-1 scholars and J-2 family members. SEVIS access is available to the Department of Homeland Security as well as US embassies and consulates worldwide. It is used to determine a J-1 exchange visitor or J-2 dependent's eligibility to enter the US or to obtain immigration benefits such as work permission, extensions, and transfers while in the US.
A 30-day period of time is granted to you upon completion of your J-1 program for you to legally remain in the US. During your 30-day grace period, you may prepare to leave or travel around the US. You are not allowed to work for wages, or leave and reenter the US during this time. Once you leave the US, you forfeit any remaining part of the grace period.
The department within OGS (Office of Global Services) which exclusively handles visa matters for research scholars (and dependents if any) being sponsored by an NYU department/program.
The sponsoring faculty/program's point-person who acts as a go between Scholar Services and the scholar