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Obtaining a J-1 Visa

J Visa (Exchange Visitor Visa)

The "J" visa is for educational and cultural exchange programs designated by the U.S. Department of State, Exchange Visitor Program and Designation Staff. The "J" exchange visitor program is designed to promote the interchange of persons, knowledge, and skills in the fields of education, arts, and sciences. Participants include students at all academic levels; trainees obtaining on-the-job training with firms, institutions, and agencies; teachers of primary, secondary, and specialized schools; professors coming to teach or do research at institutions of higher learning; research scholars; professional trainees in the medical and allied fields; and international visitors coming for the purpose of travel, observation, consultation, research, training, sharing, or demonstrating specialized knowledge or skills, or participating in organized people-to-people programs. Participants in the "J" program must present a Form DS-2019 issued by our institution.

Once you receive your Form DS-2019 (J-1 students and scholars) from the admissions office (students) or the Office of International Affairs (scholars & interns), you should check to make sure all of the information is correct and that it matches the passport that you will use to enter the country. Sign page 1 in blue ink next to your printed name.

Next, you must pay the SEVIS fee for an initial I-20. This fee is paid online at this site and is required in order to schedule your visa appointment at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country. This SEVIS I-901 (FMJ) fee is different from visa fees and must be paid BEFORE you schedule your visa interview or entering the port of entry (Canadians or those who are visa exempt). You should pay your I-901 fee and apply for a visa as soon as you are admitted as it can be a lengthy process. Your DS-2019 and supporting documents (admission letter/invitation letter, scholarship information, financial documentation supporting your stay in the U.S.) should be presented to the U.S. visa officer when you attend your visa interview.

Process to Apply for a J-1 Visa in Your Home Country

Process to Apply for a J-1 Visa in a Country Other than Your Home Country (in a country where you DO NOT hold citizenship)

We advise that you refrain from purchasing airfare to the U.S. until after you have received your J-1 visa. Please note that you must enter the U.S. using the same DS-2019 that you used to apply for the exchange visitor visa.

U.S. immigration regulations require that you report to the school listed on the visa stamp for your initial U.S. entry BEFORE the program start date listed on your DS-2019, even if you change your mind and decide to enroll at a different school (students). If the U.S. Embassy or Consulate has any questions regarding your studies at UL Lafayette, please contact the Office of International Affairs at

For more information, visit U.S. Department of State Website.