Obtaining a J-1 Visa and Entering the U.S.

Your SEVIS DS-2019 (formerly known as IAP-66), "Certificate of Eligibility", is necessary to obtain a J-1 exchange visitor visa. This type of visa permits you to enter the United States for the purpose of coming to Wesleyan University to engage in the educational objectives stated in item four of the DS-2019.

Obtaining a Visa

If you do not have a passport, you must obtain one from the appropriate office of your government. Your passport must be valid at least six months into the future at all times. It is your responsibility to be aware of the expiration date of your passport and to renew it at the appropriate time.

Please be sure to read all requirements for obtaining the J-1 visa from the appropriate United States Consulate carefully.

With your passport, proof of financial support, letter of acceptance to Wesleyan University, prepaid SEVIS fee for J-1 visa holders and DS-2019, go to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The U.S. Consular Officer will review your papers and if all is in order, issue a J-1 visa permitting you to enter the U.S. for the purpose specified in item four of the DS-2019. The visa takes the form of an ink stamp or sticker on one of the pages of your passport. You may want to request a multiple-entry visa.

Important Note

When you apply for a J-1 nonimmigrant visa, the U.S. Consular Officer who interviews you grants you the entry visa on the assumption that you will return to your home country upon termination of your program. The burden of proof is upon you to convince the Consular Officer that you will return to your home country upon completion of your stay. You must, therefore, demonstrate to the U.S. Consular Officer that:

  • You have sufficient funds to cover all your expenses for the duration of your stay in the U.S. If sponsored by an agency or employer, be prepared to show a letter of award. If your support is from personal and/or family funds, be prepared to show bank statements, certified letters of credit, and proof of your annual salary and/or your total available or anticipated assets or that of your immediate family/sponsor. If you are receiving a scholarship or salary from Wesleyan University, be prepared to show a letter of award or appointment.
  • You have good reason to return home at the end of your program or appointment (e.g.: all your family is in your country and not in the U.S.; you have a job awaiting you in your country; all your assets are at home and not in the U.S., etc.) You must show that you have strong ties (professional, family, financial, etc.) to your country and that you will return home upon completion of your program objectives.

If you cannot prove these points to the Consular Officer, you may be denied a visa. If you are denied a visa, contact the RO (Responsible Officer) or ARO (Alternate Responsible Officer) from Wesleyan University immediately and we may be able to contact the U.S. Consulate on your behalf.

Entering the U.S.

When you arrive in the U.S., you will be required to present your passport with valid J-1 visa, your DS-2019 and financial documents to a U.S. Immigration Inspector. Since you must show your documents before you are allowed to claim your bags, do not pack these documents in suitcases that are checked into the baggage compartment. If you arrive by air, you will show your documents in the airport at your port of entry.

You may be interviewed twice; once at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy when you request a visa and then again at your port of entry. Be prepared each time; otherwise you may be denied entry to the U.S.

The Immigration Inspector at the port of entry will review your papers and then give you Form I-94, "Arrival/ Departure Record". The I-94 is a small white card which the Immigration Inspector will staple into your passport. It should read "J-1 - D/S" indicating that you have a J-1 visa and have been granted duration of status ("D/S"). Duration of status means that as long as you are engaged in the educational objectives as described in item 4 of your DS-2019, you may legally remain in the U.S.

Arrival to Wesleyan University

Please contact the RO (Responsible Officer) or ARO (Alternate Responsible Officer) from Wesleyan University upon your arrival on campus to schedule an appointment so that you can register your immigration documents. Undergraduate and graduate students will usually provide this information during the orientation period. Researchers and visiting scholars should arrange for an appointment during their first two weeks on campus.