Guide to Obtaining a J-1 Visa

Once you have been accepted to be a part of St. Lawrence University and have completed all the appropriate paperwork with the respective office, you will be issued a DS-2019. Please note that if you are an ISEP exchange student, your DS-2019 will be issued by ISEP.

When you receive your DS-2019, please schedule your appointment with the appropriate U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you can gather all the necessary documents and materials.  Below is a list of required documents.  You can begin working on many of the documents prior to receiving your DS-2019.  We encourage you to do so to allow you to make your visa appointment as soon as possible.

Understanding the J visa program: Please visit the Bridge USA program website to learn more about the J program. Programs - BridgeUSABridgeUSA (

Required Documents for J visa application:

  • Form DS-2019 issued by St. Lawrence University or ISEP
  • Completed Form DS-160 (Nonimmigrant Visa Application) which must be completed by you online prior to scheduling your appointment. You will find instructions for using the form and a link to the form on your embassy’s website.
  • Receipt for your SEVIS I-901 fee: You can obtain your receipt by paying the fee using the following website: In order to complete the on-line form and receive your receipt, you must have information from your DS-2019 and a method of payment.
  • Nonimmigrant visa processing fee: Please visit your US embassy or consulate website for exact instructions on paying your fee and the required currency and amount. Some embassies/consulates require on-line payment of fees in advance of your interview. You can find the website for your appropriate US embassy or consulate at If you pay your fee online, you will need to bring the MRV receipt with you.
  • A passport valid for travel to the US and with a validity date at least six months beyond your period of study at St. Lawrence University.
  • One 2”x2” (5cmx5cm) photograph. Information on nonimmigrant visa photograph requirements is included in this packet and may also be accessed at
  • Financial documents: You will likely be asked to show proof of expenses in the form of award letter, contract or financial statements.
  • Additional Documentation (IMPORTANT): Please review the documentation guidelines for your US embassy or consulate. Each embassy/consulate has unique requirements. In order to assure that you receive your VISA in a timely manner, it is critical that you make sure you have all the documents and materials required by your US embassy or consulate at the time of your interview. When you are reviewing the embassy/consulate website, please make sure you look to see the documents required of ALL applicants as well as those for J visa applicants. You can find the website for your appropriate US embassy or consulate at

Visa interview: A consular officer will interview you and determine your eligibility for the J visa program. If your application requires administrative processing, the consular officer will inform you. 

EducationUSA Advising Centers

You are strongly encouraged to contact the closest EducationUSA Advising Center. These centers are located in almost every country around the world. Many offer a pre-departure orientation featuring current students from your country who are studying in the US. Many of the EducationUSA Advising Centers can also assist you with preparations for and the actual process of obtaining your visa at US embassies and consulates. To find your closest EducationUSA Advising Center, please visit