Form DS-2019: Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1)

What is Form DS-2019?

Form DS 2019 is the first step necessary for someone who wants to obtain a J1 Visa to enter in an exchange visitor program in the United States. It grants permission for the individual to setup an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate. Form DS-2019 designates the exchange visitor, his or her sponsor organization, and a summary of what the exchange program is.

DS-2019 is also called the Certificate of Eligibility and unlike other forms, it is issued by designated sponsor organizations by the U.S. Department of State. Only individuals who have been accepted into a legitimate exchange program are issued this form and it adds the individual into the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The form you receive will assign you a SEVIS number as your identifier. Obtaining Form DS 2019 is not a guarantee for a J1 Visa but shows that your sponsor program supports your application for the visa.

J2 Visas, for spouses or dependents of J1 Visa holders who want to accompany the primary exchange visitor, must also obtain Form DS 2019 in the first step of their visa application process.

What information is request on Form DS 2019?

  • Personal Information
    • Name
    • Gender
    • Position (e.g. student, job)
    • Country of Residence
  • Sponsor Information
    • Program Description
    • Form Purpose
  • Form Time Period
  • Exchange Visitor Categorization
  • Financial Cost and Support Source
  • Department of State Officer Preparing Form
  • Signature of Exchange Visitor and Acknowledgement of the Form

What programs are included for the J-1 Visa?

  • Au pair or Educare
  • Camp Counseling
  • Government Visitor
  • Intern
  • Physician
  • Professor or Research Scholar
  • Specialist
  • Student in Higher Education
  • Student in secondary school
  • Summer Work/Travel
  • Teacher
  • Trainee

What other materials do I need to obtain a J1 Visa?

Intended foreign exchange visitors must also file Form DS 160, the Online Non-immigrant Visa Application.

If the exchange visitor is entering a trainee or internship program, they must also fill out and present Form DS-7002, The Training/Internship Placement Plan along with DS-2019. Additionally, all applicants for the J-1 Visa need:

  • A valid passport to travel to the U.S. that is not set to expire until after at least six months past the intended date of departure after the exchange visit
  • One copy of a 2×2 photograph

Steps to Obtain the J1 Visa

  1. Apply to a designated exchange program in the U.S.
  2. Once you are accepted, submit the Online Non-immigrant Visa Application, From DS 160 with a photo
  3. Schedule an interview with a U.S. consulate or embassy
  4. Pay the $160 fee for the visa application
  5. Gather the required documents
    1. Passport
    2. DS 160
    3. Visa application payment receipt
    4. A 2×2 photo
    5. Form DS 160
    6. Form DS 7002 if you are coming as an intern or trainee
  6. Other possible  documentation proving:
    1. Purpose of travel
    2. Intended departure from the U.S.
    3. Resources to pay all costs
  7. Interview with a consular office to see if they approve of your visa
  8. Await delivery of your passport with the J1 Visa