J-1 Students Visa

J-1 student visa status will allow you to remain in the U.S. for the duration of your full-time academic program. J-1 Students must have a substantial portion of their funding from a source other than personal. The spouse and dependent children of a J-1 student hold J-2 status and can usually obtain permission from DHS to work in the U.S.

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

Department of State Resources

J-1 Visa Regulations

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program operates under the auspices of the United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Each Exchange Visitor Program has a program description under which that program must operate and designates an individual or individuals as the University staff responsible for the administration of the particular J-1 program.

Maintaining Your J-1 Status

As a J-1 student at Suffolk University, you have been admitted for a specific period of time to engage in your particular area of study, as described on your DS-2019 form. It is important that you maintain lawful J-1 status while in the U.S. 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.
  • Do not accept unauthorized employment.
  • If you will transfer to another college or university to pursue another degree, 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.
  • Keep your passport valid. Passports can be renewed by your consulate in New York or Boston. For information about the nearest consulate check www.embassy.org

J-1 Visa Application

You must apply for your student visa well in advance of your arrival, as it can in some instances take several weeks, and occasionally longer. To apply for a U.S. student visa, you will need to present the following documents at the U.S. embassy or consulate nearest to you:

  • Form DS-2019 (Sent to you in the mail from Suffolk after you have been admitted). Your DS-2019 is required when applying for an J-1 student visa at an American Embassy or Consulate and for entry into the U.S. 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).

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

  • A copy of your financial support documents (i.e. evidence that you have sufficient funds to meet the expenses of studying at Suffolk, e.g. bank statement)

  • 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 Students 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. ISSO recommends that you pay this fee online. To pay the fee online, go to www.fmjfee.com. Complete the form and supply 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. (Canadians will need to present the fee receipt at the U.S. port of entry).