Applying for the J-1 visa

1 The Human Resources Contact will initiate the Initial DS-2019.

The Human Resources Contact in your college will initiate the Visiting Student Request for Initial DS-2019 once your appointment is approved by the Provost’s Office and you are issued a NU ID number.

For more information on the visiting appointments approval process, please visit the Office of the Provost’s website or reach out to the HR Contact in your college.

2 Initial DS-2019: 10 business day processing time

Initial DS-2019 requests are subject to a 10 business day processing time from the date the HR Contact submits the entire request to the Office of Global Services (OGS). Once your DS-2019 is ready, you will receive an e-mail that contains Northeastern’s J-1 Exchange Visitor Program Number and your SEVIS ID. This information is required to schedule a visa appointment at the United States Embassy or Consulate.

Upon approval of your DS-2019 request, you will receive an email from OGS with your digitally-signed DS-2019 attached. If you requested a DS-2019 for your dependent(s) (spouse or unmarried children under age 21) to apply for a J-2 visa, their DS-2019(s) will be included with yours.

Your DS-2019 approval email will include important information about next steps for making your visa appointment, housing resources, and what to expect as your start date is approaching. Please be sure to read the email carefully.

3 Carefully review the DS-2019

Please print and carefully review the DS-2019 immediately upon receipt and contact OGS if there are any errors or anything is missing (e.g. dependents’ DS-2019s). Sign and date in blue ink where indicated on the bottom of Page 1. Do not make any other notations on the form. J-2 dependents must sign their own DS-2019, with the exception of children under the age of 16; you must sign their DS-2019 for them.

4 Pay the SEVIS fee

All J-1 Visiting Students must pay the SEVIS fee before the visa appointment (or before entering the U.S., in the case of Canadian citizens). For more information on the SEVIS fee, please visit The SEVIS fee will be collected from prospective J-1 Visiting Students who are applying for an initial J-1 visa from outside the U.S.

The SEVIS fee is not required:

  • If you are currently in active J-1 status in the U.S.
  • If you are transferring to a new J-1 sponsor
  • For J-2 dependents

5 Apply for the J-1 visa and attend interview (if required)

The following documents are typically required for the J-1 visa application:

  • Online Non-immigrant Visa Application Form (DS-160) confirmation page
    • If your address in the U.S. is not available yet, you can use the Northeastern University address: Office of Global Services, 354 Richards Hall, 360 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. Email: [email protected].
    • For a contact person, you can put the name of the person who signed your DS-2019. You can find this information in Section 7 on Page 1 of your DS-2019. Phone: +1-617-373-2310.
  • Visa application fee payment receipt (visit the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate website for specific instructions)
  • Form DS-2019 issued by OGS at Northeastern University
  • Valid passport (the passport should be valid for at least six months after your date of entry into the U.S.)
  • Evidence of financial support
  • Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) I-901 fee payment receipt
  • A copy of your appointment letter to Northeastern University
  • One photograph (see the U.S. Department of State website for photo requirements)

Please note:

  • Expedited Appointments: if you make a J-1 visa visa appointment but the appointment date is after your DS-2019 program start date or does not give you sufficient time to arrive in the U.S. by the start date, please contact the U.S. Embassy/Consulate where you will be applying or check their website for their expedited appointment requirements. At many consulates, if you have a DS-2019 with a start date within 60 days and have already made a visa appointment, you may qualify for an expedited appointment.
  • J-1 Visiting Students must obtain their J-1 visa prior to traveling to the U.S. In anticipation of your visa appointment, please follow the J-1 visa application instructions specific to your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Requirements may differ among Embassy or Consulate locations.
  • Possession of a DS-2019 does not guarantee a J-1 visa.
  • Citizens of Canada or Bermuda are not required to obtain a J-1 visa stamp, but they must carry and present their J-1 documents, including the SEVIS fee receipt, when entering the U.S.

OGS strongly advises against purchasing flights or making other arrangements prior to receiving your J-1 visa. OGS will not expedite DS-2019 requests based on flights or living arrangements.

J-1 Transfers to Northeastern

If your J-1 SEVIS record is being transferred to Northeastern University, you do not need to pay the SEVIS fee again, if you have already paid it. If you are transferring from a U.S.-government sponsored Exchange Visitor program (indicated by a program code starting with “G,” such as G-1-0001) to Northeastern University, you are required to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee upon completion of the transfer process and before applying for a new J-1 visa.

If you are traveling internationally after your transfer to Northeastern is completed, you must plan to apply for a new J-1 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad the next time you travel internationally.

Please note: you can remain in the U.S. with the J-1 visa stamp noting the previous institution as long as your new Northeastern DS-2019 remains valid. You do not need to depart the U.S. simply to renew the visa stamp unless you have a requirement to travel internationally. Please note that it is not possible to apply for a J-1 visa in the U.S.

Administrative Processing & Visa Denials

Administrative Processing & Visa Refusals

Although most J-1 visa applications are approved, the outcome of some J-1 visa applications is a refusal under 221(g) or what is commonly referred to as “Administrative Processing.” In these cases, the consular officer will convey to the applicant whether the applicant is required to provide any further documentation or information, or whether the case requires additional administrative processing. Please note that this is not a visa denial. Additionally, for J-1 scholars conducting research in certain STEM fields, your application may undergo additional security screening as part of administrative processing. This can often take several months and it is difficult to get updates from the Embassy during that time.

You should follow the instructions on the 221(g) to provide any requested information or documentation. If the 221(g) requires any information directly from Northeastern, or if the 221(g) will delay your arrival to the U.S. to start your J-1 program, please contact [email protected].

Please refer to the Department of State website for more detailed information about visa refusals and administrative processing.

Visa Denials

Although J-1 visa denials are rare, the most common visa denial is under 214(b), which means the applicant did not demonstrate to the consular officer that they have non-immigrant intent, and/or did not fully demonstrate they have sufficient ties to their home country (family, job, education, property) that indicate they will not immigrate to the U.S. and instead will return home after their J-1 program.

The J-1 visa application is a personal application that depends mostly on your oral responses to a consular officer’s questions, and is typically not a document-driven process. Therefore, when a J-1 visa applicant receives a visa denial under 214(b), Northeastern and OGS are typically not able to intervene or provide documentation in the way of support letters to overcome the denial.

If your J-1 visa application is denied under 214(b), you should request documentation of the denial from the consular officer. You can apply again for the J-1 visa, but you should be prepared to present new information that addresses the previous concerns with your potential immigrant intent in order to overcome the previous denial.

You can also review the Department of State website for more information and guidance about visa refusals and visa denials.

If you receive a visa denial that will prevent you from coming to the U.S. to begin or continue your J-1 program, please email your Northeastern HR contact & faculty supervisor, and copy [email protected] to notify us that you will not be starting your program.