Applying for the J-1 Visa

After you receive your DS-2019 from UMW, you must apply for your J-1 visa.  Click on the J-1 Exchange Visitor link at the bottom of this EducationUSA website for detailed instructions about the J-1 visa process.

Complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Application (Form DS-160) for J-1 status.

Be prepared to present the following at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate:

  • SEVIS Form DS-2019
  • One passport size photograph
  • Evidence of financial support (original bank statements, scholarship letter, approved loan application, etc.)
  • Evidence that you have no intention of abandoning residence in your home country (strong family ties, pre-arranged job in your home country or other economic ties, etc.)
  • Passport (valid at least 6 months beyond your program start date)
  • University of Mary Washington contract and welcome letter
  • Student visa application fee
  • SEVIS fee payment receipt
  • DS-160 confirmation receipt


What is the SEVIS fee?
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) charges a one-time SEVIS fee for exchange visitors beginning a new J-1 program. This fee is separate from the visa application fee.

When do I pay the SEVIS fee?

  • At least three business days prior to your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
  • At least three business days before entering a U.S. port of entry if you are exempt from the visa requirement.

How do I pay the SEVIS fee by credit card?

  • Complete the I-901 Form online.
  • Supply the necessary Visa, MasterCard or American Express information. *Enter your name exactly as it appears on your DS-2019.
  • Print a copy of the online receipt.
  • Make a copy of your receipt and keep it with your other important immigration documents. You will need to take the printed receipt with you to the Consulate or Embassy when you have your visa interview.

How do I pay the SEVIS fee in my local currency?

  • This option is available in any country where Western Union offers its Quick Pay service.
  • If you choose this option, do not file Form I-901 online.
  • Access the instructions, along with a completed sample of the Western Union form, on the SEVP website.
  • Find the Western Union location nearest you.
  • Bring a printed copy of the instructions and the sample of the completed Western Union form to the nearest Western Union office to process your payment.
  • After three business days, check to view your payment status. Once payment is confirmed on the website, print out the confirmation page as proof of payment.

Arriving in the United States

Report Date
You must arrive in the United States no later than the report date listed on your  DS-2019 (section 3), and no earlier than 30 days prior to this date. If you cannot enter by the date given on your immigration document, contact our office at

I-94 Card Completion
All students, without exception, should be issued an I-94 Record of Entry upon arrival in the United States. The I-94 procedure differs according to method of entry into the U.S.
Arrival by Airplane
The I-94 is the official record of your immigration status in the United States. Students arriving in a U.S. airport will no longer receive a paper I-94 card. Instead, the airport will enter the I-94 electronically so that it is available online. After arriving in the United States, you should go to to view and print a copy of the I-94 to retain with your other important immigration documents. You should verify that your personal information such as your name and date of birth matches the information as it is entered on your student visa. Students who are exempt from the visa requirement should compare the information on the I-94 to the same information as it appears on the DS-2019. You should verify that the I-94 shows your correct immigration status ( J-1) and that the “Admit Until Date” shows D/S. If you find an error on your I-94 or are unable to locate your I-94 online 30 days after your entry into the U.S., please contact CIE at

Arrival by Automobile, Bus, Train, or Boat
The I-94 is the official record of your immigration status in the United States. Carefully complete this white card provided to you during your travels, writing your name exactly as it appears on the student visa stamp in your passport. A student who is exempt from the visa requirement should write his/her name as it is listed on their DS-2019. The official at the port of entry must stamp the I-94 card J-1 and D/S. Your portion of the I-94 card should be stapled into your passport for safekeeping.

Upon arrival in the United States, you must be prepared to show the inspections officer:

  • valid passport
  •  J-1 entry visa
  • UMW contract and welcome letter
  • original financial support documentation
  • DS-2019 issued by UMW. Do not present an immigration document issued by any other institution.