How to Sponsor a J-1 Exchange Visitor
When to begin
Begin as early as possible, allowing sufficient time for the Exchange Visitor to apply for and receive the J visa and travel to the US. If complete information is submitted to ISO, the Form DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status will be sent to the sponsoring academic department within two weeks. The department should forward the DS-2019 to the Exchange Visitor at least three months in advance of the start date.
How to Submit a J-1 Visa Request
- Read our page on J-1 Exchange Visitors to assess the eligibility of the international scholar. An international scholar under a J visa is referred to as an “Exchange Visitor.”
- Review our J Process Handout to understand the various steps in the process and how long it may take.
- Verify and retain evidence of sufficient funding from all sources for the duration of the appointment, as well as evidence of English proficiency.
- Follow the UW Visa Request Instructions to receive a conditionally approved visa request, then print it, route it for signatures, and return it to ISO.
What You Will Receive
Approximately five to ten business days after the signed hard copy of the visa request, with any supporting documents, is received at ISO, the DS-2019 will be sent via campus mail to the Administrator listed on the Visa Request Form. The DS-2019 typically covers a period of up to one year (item 3 on the DS-2019). Extensions may be requested in one-year increments. The DS-2019 can be issued to cover a longer period of up to five years if the Sponsoring Department commits to paying full salary to the Exchange Visitor for the entire duration of stay. Separate DS-2019s are issued for accompanying dependents. Once received, the Sponsoring Department forwards the DS-2019 “Certificate of Eligibility” to the Exchange Visitor. The UW is forbidden by law from sending scans or faxes of the DS-2019 form; however, you may send the Exchange Visitor the “SEVIS Number” listed in the upper right-hand corner of the DS-2019, or other information listed therein, to facilitate interview scheduling.
- The Exchange Visitor must read the J-1 Reference Guide, pay the SEVIS fee, and schedule a visa appointment at the nearest US consulate to apply for the J-1 visa. The visa will be denied if the Exchange Visitor fails to assure the consular officer that the visit to the US is temporary. Accompanying dependents must apply for J-2 visas. (Canadian citizens are visa exempt, and simply present the DS-2019 to the US immigration officer at the port of entry). Delays in visa approval should be anticipated due to security reviews that take into account the Exchange Visitor’s country of origin and field of research.
- The Exchange Visitor must enter the US no later than the program start date listed in item 3 of the DS-2019. If entry is not possible within that time frame, a new DS-2019 should be requested. Upon arrival on campus, the Exchange Visitor must attend an ISO Check-in within 30 days.
- Sponsoring Departments are charged a $213 processing fee, payable by cost transfer invoice (CTI), for each DS-2019 requested (including forms issued for J-2 dependents). If the validity dates of the DS-2019 exceed one year, an additional $213 processing fee will be assessed for each year the form covers. Budget documentation will be sent to Budget Contact listed on the UW J Visa Request Form. Sponsoring Departments may request reimbursement of the processing fee from the Exchange Visitor. Note: Only non-federal grant budgets may be used to pay for the J-1 processing fee. This is in accordance with OMB (Office of Management and Budget), Circular A-21, Cost Principles for Educational Institutions. For more information, contact Grant and Contract Accounting at GCAhelp@uw.edu.
- Units may choose to transfer the $213 CTI fee to the Exchange Visitor. Exchange Visitors will also have to pay the $180 SEVIS fee and any fees charged by the US consulate.