1) Once the Center for Global Programs & Studies has been notified by the sponsoring department that you will be coming to the university, you will be issued Form DS-2019 with an associated record in the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). This form will allow you to apply for an J-1 exchange visitor visa at the nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate. The initial time period that is listed on the form will be determined by the sponsoring department.
2) After you receive Form DS-2019, you will need to pay a fee that is referred to as the SEVIS I-901 Fee. This fee is used to pay administrative costs associated with the SEVIS computer system. This fee can be paid in a variety of ways, including online using a major credit card.
3) Once you have received the DS-2019 form and paid the fee, you are now ready to schedule an interview with the U.S. Embassy/Consulate. For exchange visitors from certain countries, an appointment can be scheduled using an online reservation service. Others will need to schedule the interview by telephone. Before going for your visa interview, you should be aware of all documentation that is required by the respective embassy/consulate that you will be visiting. Procedures and practices vary from country to country, so it is vital that you check the embassy’s/consulate’s Web site prior to your visit.
Keep in mind that you can apply for the visa as soon as you receive your DS-2019 and pay the I-901 fee. You are advised to apply as early as possible so as to avoid any unforeseen delays that might occur due to background checks, high demand, etc.
4) Once you have obtained your J-1 visa stamp, you are ready to travel to the U.S. You may make an entry to the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the start date listed on your DS-2019. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ENTER THE U.S. MORE THAN 30 DAYS PRIOR TO THIS DATE.
Detailed information as it pertains to both the visa process and entry to the U.S. in the J-1 category can be found at the following site:
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement