To enter the U.S. as a J-1 exchange visitor, you will need a valid J-1 visa stamp in your passport. Visas are issued only by United States consulates and embassies outside the U.S. The visa is a stamp placed in the passport to allow an individual to enter a particular country, such as the U.S. The visa indicates the purpose of someone's visit, and it is valid for a specified number of entries to the United States: one, two, or "multiple," i.e., any number, until the expiration date.
To apply for your visa, you should take your passport, NYU’s DS-2019, and financial documentation (e.g., university appointment letter indicating salary or if you are financed independently from NYU, a letter of sponsorship, personal bank statement or proof of income) to a U.S. consulate/embassy. Before applying for your J-1 visa, you are required to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee at least three business days prior to the visa interview, and you must bring a receipt of the payment with you.
If your dependents will be accompanying you, they will need J-2 visas, and should submit their passports, DS-2019, financial documentation, and proof of marriage or parenthood to the consulate/embassy. J-2 dependents do not pay a SEVIS fee.
J visas can only be obtained outside the U.S. The application process is most efficient in your home country. Visit www.usembassy.state.gov regarding the required procedures and timeframes for visa processing at embassies and consulates overseas.
The U.S. Department of State provides general information on visa wait times. Though you should always contact the U.S. consulate or embassy for information on processing times, you may use the U.S. Department of State's Visa Wait Times as a guide.
The validity period of a visa stamp pertains only to the period during which it may be used for admission to the U.S. - it does not indicate how long a person may stay in the U.S.
Canadian citizens do not need a visa stamp to enter the U.S. However, Canadians must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee and show the Form DS-2019 at the port of entry to obtain status as a J-1 exchange visitor. (J-1 status will be indicated on the passport stamp and Form I-94.)