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.

The e-mail you receive from Northeastern will also serve as a confirmation to the HR Contact that your DS-2019 is ready. The college is responsible for mailing your DS-2019 and other pre-arrival materials via FedEx or another secure international carrier. By law, OGS is not allowed to electronically distribute copies of the DS-2019. If you requested a DS-2019 for one of your dependents to apply for a J-2 visa, this document will also be included with your DS-2019.

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 reach the email carefully.

3 Carefully review the DS-2019

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 Make an appointment for your J-1 visa interview

Make an appointment for your J-1 visa interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

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.

For information about the visa application fee and payment options, please check with your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Please note that possession of a DS-2019 does not guarantee a J-1 visa.

Note: Canadian citizens 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.