J-1 Scholars Visa

Many of Suffolk’s international scholars have J-1 visa status which allows them to remain in the U.S. Get and stay informed about U.S. regulations and learn the steps to apply.

The J-1 visa for researchers and professors has several sub-categories. In general the J-1 visa, (known as the Exchange Visitor Program) is for the exchange of professors and research scholars that promotes the exchange of ideas, research, mutual enrichment and linkages between research and academic institutions in the United States and foreign countries.

J-1 Scholar Visa Application

Everything you need to know about applying for the J-1 scholar visa.

J-1 Scholar Visa Regulations

Everything you need to know about maintaining lawful J-1 scholar status.

Update Your Address


It is important that J-1 scholars keep their current address and contact information on file with Suffolk University. Update your contact information now.

Department of State Resources (external websites)

Further Process

J-1 Scholar Application Instructions

Before you begin the visa application process, you must have the following documents:

1. Form DS-2019

(Sent to you in the mail from after you have accepted an offer of employment).

Your DS-2019 is required when applying for an J-1 scholar visa at an American Embassy or Consulate and for entry into the United States. This DS-2019 has been produced by Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and is an acknowledgement that your record is in the SEVIS system. The form includes your SEVIS ID number, which is the number in the upper right hand corner above the bar code (usually starts with an N).

2. SEVIS Fee Receipt

All new scholars coming in J-1 status must pay a $180 SEVIS fee prior to applying for your visa.

Applying for your Scholar Visa

You must apply for your visa well in advance of your arrival, as it can, in some instances take several weeks, and occasionally longer, to obtain the scholar visa.

To apply for a U.S. visa, you will need to present the following documents at the U.S. embassy or consulate nearest to you:

  • Your Form DS-2019
  • The SEVIS Fee receipt
  • A copy of your financial support documents
  • A valid passport
  • Passport-size photographs
  • Completed visa applications forms (Visa application forms are available on individual consular websites)
  • An application fee and an interview will also be required

All new J-1 Scholars using DS-2019 must pay a $180 SEVIS fee prior to applying for a U.S. visa. J-2 dependents do not have to pay the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee.

When should you pay the SEVIS fee?

The SEVIS fee must be paid at least three days prior to submitting the application for a U.S. visa. Canadian citizens, who are exempt from the visa requirement, must pay the SEVIS fee at least three days prior to applying for admission to the U.S. at a U.S. port of entry.

How do you pay the SEVIS fee?

You may pay this fee with a credit card through an internet connection or by mail in the form of a check or money order to DHS. Third party payment is permitted. You can pay the fee online. Complete the form supplying the necessary information. Be certain that your name appears exactly as it appears on the DS-2019 form.

The SEVIS ID# is the number which begins with N000 located in the upper right hand corner of the DS-2019 form. The Exchange Visitor Category can be found on the DS-2019 form in section 4.

On the second screen you will provide the payment information. If you pay by credit card, you will immediately receive a receipt of the payment. Print out the receipt (the print button is at the bottom of the receipt page). If you are paying by mail, you will print out the I-901 form and send it to the address indicated with a check or money order in U.S. dollars for $180.

The receipt is proof you have paid the fee. You will need to present the fee receipt with your application for a visa.

During your J-1 program you must take care to maintain lawful J-1 status, as failure to do so can have serious long-term consequences for you. There are some simple steps you can take to ensure that your stay in the U.S. remains valid:

  • Be aware of the expiration date of your status. This is not your visa expiration date; it is the ending date in section 3 of your DS-2019 form. If your appointment at Suffolk University is extended, the hiring department must contact ISSO before the current expiration date to have the DS-2019 form extended as well.
  • Do not accept unauthorized employment. The only activity you are permitted is the one described in section 4 of the DS-2019 form. You must consult an ISSO advisor in advance if you wish to take up any other work during your stay.
  • If offered a comparable position at another college or university, discuss your plans with an ISSO advisor to make sure that the required transfer procedure can be accomplished.
  • J-1 visitors are allowed a 30-day grace period beyond the end date on their DS-2019. This additional 30-day period is not for employment, extensions, or transfers. If you travel outside the U.S. during your 30-day grace period, you forfeit the remaining grace period and may not re-enter the U.S. under J-1 status.
  • Comply with the health insurance requirements for J-1 visa holders and their families. Willful disregard of these requirements will result in termination of your program and your J-1 status.
  • Keep your passport valid.