Applying for a Visa

If you have received a DS-2019 from IUI (or another program sponsor), you should apply for a J-1 visa stamp. There are four steps in the process.

If you are a Canadian citizen with a valid passport, you do not need to apply for a visa stamp. However, you do need to pay the SEVIS fee before arriving at the port of entry.
  • Step One: Pay Your SEVIS Fee

    You will have to show your payment receipt for the SEVIS fee when you arrive for your visa interview, so pay the fee right away. (If you paid the fee in the past, you may not need to pay it again, but you should still bring your receipt.)

    Learn more about the SEVIS fee and how to pay it and obtain your payment receipt.

  • Step Two: Schedule a Visa Appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Your Home Country

    Contact the U.S. embassy/consulate nearest you as soon as possible to set up an appointment. This is important because the wait time for an appointment and for visa issuance varies. To see how long this process takes in your country, read the U.S. Department of State’s visa wait time information.

    It’s best to apply in your home country. If you are not sure which embassy/consulate you should contact, see this list of U.S. embassies.

  • Step Three: Get Your Documentation Ready

    When you arrive for your visa appointment, you will be required to show a number of documents, including:

    • Your DS-2019
    • Your valid passport
    • A SEVIS payment receipt printed from your online payment confirmation
    • Visa application forms
    • Current financial documentation that lists the sources and amounts of financial support you have secured for the current or upcoming academic year. It must match the information listed on your DS-2019.

    Students renewing their visa should also bring:

    • A Letter of Good Standing, which may be requested through Atlas.
    • A copy of your unofficial transcript, printed out from (search for "Unofficial Transcript").
    • A copy of the EAD card and proof of employment (Students on OPT only).

    The embassy’s website will list other specific documents that you should bring.

  • Step Four: Prepare for Your Interview

    Since you are applying for a nonimmigrant visa, you will need to prove to the consular officer that you do not intend to immigrate to the United States. In other words, you need to show him or her that you have definite plans to return home after your program at IUI has finished.

    For more information and tips, please see NAFSA’s Ten Points to Remember.

Applying for a Visa in Canada or Mexico

If you intend to apply for a new U.S. visa in Canada or Mexico and are not a citizen or resident of either country, contact an advisor at the Office of International Affairs. Additionally, it is important for you to read the U.S. Department of State’s guidance on Applying for Visas in Canada or Mexico.