Being aware of all the requirements and processes involved in obtaining a J1 visa can be the difference between a stress-free, easy process and an anxiety-filled last-minute bustle.
Below is a breakdown of the processes involved and the estimated timing for each:
1. Finding a Designated Sponsor
A family member or employer can not sponsor the J-1 Visa. It is unlike other visa categories in this regard as It requires sponsorship from a designated organization.
You will need to select a sponsor that offers your program choice out of the numerous approved organizations.
Then you will need to contact the organization directly to learn more about the program and the application requirements.
It is recommended that you find and submit the required documents to the sponsor as early as possible.
2. Processing of DS-2019 – 2 – 3 Weeks
After you have been selected for the program, your designated sponsor will issue you a form. This form is called the DS-2019 Form, and it is the official document that certifies your eligibility to apply for a J-1 visa.
Ensure that you read it carefully and contact your sponsoring organization for clarification on any unclear details. Along with the DS-2019 form, you will receive an email message that includes a unique identifier known as SEVIS ID.
The processing of your DS-2019 should take an average of two to three weeks.
3. Finishing the DS-160 and Schedule Interview: 2 – 4 Weeks
Next, you need to complete the online DS-160 application.
This is where you supply all the required information and documents in the form. It is crucial that you fill out the form truthfully and accurately, as false claims in your DS-160 form may lead to a delay or even denial.
Once you are done filling out the form, you should schedule your visa interview with the embassy or consulate. It is very advisable to schedule an interview as soon as you receive your DS-2019 approval.
The waiting time for the interview varies based on the embassy or consulate.
4. Visa Interview
Next, the embassy or consulate would inform you of the venue, date, and time of your interview. Sift through their message to understand the documents you will need to bring for the interview.
Prepare yourself appropriately and get all the required documents on time before the chosen date.
5. Visa collection – Within 7 Days of the Interview
This is the final step if your application is granted. The embassy or consulate will require a few days to prepare the visa sticker in your passport.
Between three to seven business days approximately, your visa and all the needed items you need to travel to the U.S., including your DS-2019 form, should arrive.