J-1 Before Arrival

exchange visitorsmore Exchange Visitors Logo

Before arriving on campus you should carefully read and understand the following information:

  • General Information Applying to Everyone
    • Department/Sponsor Consultations
      • It is vitally important that you understand your specific duties, length of time, and any compensation or reimbursement associated with your activities.
      • Consult with your department until that information is clear and agreeable.
    • Passport
      • As an exchange visitor, you are required to have a valid passport to enter the United States and at all times while you are here.
    • Church Educational System Honor Code Observance
  • Specific Information Based Upon Your Length of Time on Campus
    • If you are going to be on campus for nine days or less
      • Visa—Your department will send you a letter of invitation which you must present to the U.S. Consulate officer in order to obtain a B-1 visa. Canadians also do not need a visa to enter the U.S. Additionally, if you are from a Visa Waiver Program country and are going to be in the U.S. less than 90 days, you do not need a visa.
      • Port of Entry in the U.S.—Your department letter must also be presented to an immigration officer at the port of entry where you will be issued a Form I-94 (departure record and permission to be in the country) specifying  "B-1" immigration status. If you are Canadian, you do not need B-1 status on your Form I-94 if you declare that they are entering the U.S. on business. If you are from a Visa Waiver Program country, present your letter and valid passport at the port of entry and request a WB Form I-94. In order to qualify for a WB Form I-94, you must be in possession of a valid passport and a round-trip, nontransferable transportation ticket. The visa waiver program allows business or tourist activity for a maximum of 90 days; it is not possible to extend or change your status. more
    • If you are going to be on campus for more than nine days
      • Form DS-2019—You must have a Form DS-2019 in your possession to enter the country as an exchange visitor. This U.S. government form will indicate the nature of your activities at BYU and will specify your program length.
        • Scholars, Specialists, Professors and Researchers—As you consult with your department in preparation to coming to campus, a representative will submit to International Services a Request For Issuance of Form DS-2019.
      • Health Insurance Requirement
        • You are required to have medical insurance in effect for yourself and any dependents in J-visa status for the duration of your program. Some sponsors provide the required insurance for their participants. Other sponsors may allow you to make your own arrangements or may help to identify insurance carriers. Consult with your responsible officer before the start of your program. more
      • J-1 Visa—Unless you are Canadian, you will need a J-1 visa to enter the U.S.as an exchange visitor.
        • Application Procedure
          • You should apply for your visa at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy which has jurisdiction over your place of residence.
          • The consular office may require the following:
            • A valid passport and a properly executed Form DS-2019 from Brigham Young University.
            • Documents to establish that you are a bona fide nonimmigrant Exchange Visitor.
            • Evidence that you have adequate financial support for your entire stay in the United States.
            • Evidence that you have a residence in your home country which you have no intention of abandoning.
            • The consular officer may require other documents or evidence to ensure that you meet all the requirements of an Exchange Visitor. Please cooperate fully with these requests.
          • If the consular officer approves your application for a J-1 visa, he/she will stamp the visa on the appropriate page of your passport and note the period of validity of the visa and the number of entries for which it is valid.
          • The officer will also note on the Form DS-2019 whether or not you are subject to the Two-year Home Residency Requirement.
          • The officer then will return your Form DS-2019 to you.
          • Current wait times
      • Bringing Dependents With You—You may request permission from your department to bring dependents with you who are under the age of 21.
        • Since they will need their own Form DS-2019s, you must provide your department with the names, ages, genders, and countries of residence for each.
        • A representative will submit to International Services a Request for Issuance of Form DS 20-19 for Dependants.
        • Your dependent spouse may work if the employment is not related to your financial support. J-2 dependents may also take classes. more
      • Upon Arrival at the United States Port of Entry—Before you will be admitted to the United States, you will required to present your passport, visa, and Form DS-2019 to the Immigration inspector.
        • When you are admitted, the Immigration inspector should stamp your Form DS-2019 in red and write "J-1" and "D/S" before returning it to you.
        • The inspector should also stamp your Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record) in red and write "J-1" and "D/S" indicating the date and place of admission to the United States, your immigration classification, and your authorized length of stay. Keep these documents in a safe and accessible place during your stay in the United States.
        • more