Cal Poly

Obtaining a J-1 Visa

Overview of Visa Issuance Process

  1. Verify that your passport is valid at least six (6) months past your arrival date.
  2. Review theDS-2019 form issued by the International Center for accuracy. If there are any errors, notify the International Center immediately. Do not pay the SEVIS fee if there is an error on your form. J-1 Student Interns will also receive a DS-7002 Form. Review that form for accuracy and keep it with your DS-2019 Form.
  3. Pay the I-901 SEVIS fee. See this tutorial on paying the fee.
  4. Apply for a visa at a United States Embassy or Consulate in your home country.
    Special instructions for Canadian citizens: A J-1 visa is not required. Just pay the I-901 SEVIS fee, then bring your passport, I-901 receipt, DS-2019 (and DS-7002 if applicable), and proof of funds with you to the U.S. port of entry.
  5. Prepare for your J-1 visa appointment.
  6. Bring your documents with you to your visa appointment. You will be interviewed in English. Remain calm and answer questions honestly. Be prepared to talk about your program at Cal Poly and your plans when you return to your home country. The interview is normally brief and may be as short as five to ten minutes.
  7. Check to be sure that your DS-2019 is returned with your passport and the information on your visa is correct. Carry your DS-2019 (and DS-7002 if applicable) with you on the plane.
  8. See instructions for Entering the USA.

Contact Judy Mitchell at 805-756-5837 if you have urgent questions about the visa process, or email

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