You will receive the DS-2019 and supporting documents from your department. In most cases you will need to apply for a J-1 visa. (exceptions: Canadians). Make sure to review the DS-2019 carefully and if any corrections are needed, contact your host department and the Office of Global Services. Read page 2 of the DS-2019 and sign the bottom of page 1. By signing the DS-2019 you are agreeing to the terms and requirements of the J-1 status.


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security requires that all J-1 Exchange Visitors pay a $220 SEVIS fee prior to applying for a J-1 Exchange Visitor visa and entry to the United States. This fee must be paid in advance of your visa interview. Once you pay the SEVIS fee, you will print a receipt for your fee payment. You must present this receipt to the Consulate or Embassy when you go for your visa interview. You may also need to present the receipt to immigration officials when you arrive in the U.S.

Health Insurance

Exchange visitors and their dependents are required, as a condition of J status in the United States, to carry health insurance. Your health insurance plan must cover you and your dependents (if any) for your entire period of stay in the United States in J status. Additional information regarding Health Insurance requirements will be provided with your DS-2019 and can be found here.

Obtaining a J-1 Visa

To apply for a J-1 visa abroad, you must make an appointment with a U.S. Consulate/Embassy close to your residence. You should complete the visa application online and then bring the following documents with you to your appointment:

  • DS-2019
  • Proof of SEVIS Fee Payment

The documents required may vary from country so please inquire at the U.S. Consulate where you will be applying. To obtain general information about visa services and visa application form please visit the Department of State website.

Possible Delays in Visa Acquisition

In some cases, there may be delays in visa acquisition. After the visa interview, background checks are conducted before issuance of the visa stamp. If there is an excessive delay caused by background checks, contact the Office of Global Services and your department.

Entering the United States

You may not enter the U.S. more than 30 days in advance of your DS-2019 start date. Please make sure that you have these documents ready for the immigration officer at the airport. Do not put these documents in checked baggage!

  • Passport with J-1 visa
  • DS-2019
  • SEVIS receipt
  • Letter from Illinois Tech host department

Arrival Procedure

  1. The immigration officer will review your documents and stamp your passport.
  2. After the CBP officer at the port of entry inspects your documents and your passport will be stamped with your entry and status information. It is very important that this entry is recorded correctly, and you may need to confirm with the CBP officer your entrance in J-1 status.
  3. The entry stamp should indicate a written "J-1" depicting the recorded entry status. The entry stamp should also note “D/S” for duration of status. If a different date is entered, ask the CBP officer for clarification.
  4. You will also be photographed and fingerprinted as part of a registration procedure. This whole process should not take more than a few minutes. You can obtain additional information, here.

Check-in at the Office of Global Services

Once you arrive at IIT, you are required to submit a "New Scholar Check-In" request in the ISSS Portal to complete your immigration reporting. This request must be submitted to the Office of Global Services within 30 days (as soon as possible!) of the Program Start Date listed on the DS-2019. You must provide the following documents within the online ISSS request:

  • Passport
  • J-1 Visa
  • I-94
  • J-2 Dependent versions of the documents above, if applicable
  • Proof of Health Insurance