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International Student Office - J1 Visa Interview Guide



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J-1 Visa Interview

 Apply for J-1 Visa

 When WKU offers you an opportunity to teach, conduct research and or perform, ISO will enter your information into the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and send you a SEVIS DS-2019 to help you apply for J-1 visiting scholar visa. Thereafter, you MUST pay the SEVIS fee at using a valid credit card BEFORE you present the following documents to the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in your home country to apply for the J-1 Visa:

 1. Valid Passport (for at least 6 months)

2. Original letter of offer/invitation from WKU

3. Valid SEVIS DS-2019 form issued by WKU

4. Original copies of all financial documents [such as bank statement(s)]

5. Proof of ties to your home country (such as a job, ownership of property, etc.)

6. Copies of all of your university records/ transcripts and diploma (Original if you plan to teach at WKU)

7. Copy of your SEVIS fee payment receipt

8. Visa Application and other embassy requirements including fee and personal photos

 You may apply for the J-1 visa within 120 days before the start date on the DS-2019 form and you will be able to enter the United States within 30 days before the start date on the DS-2019 form. When you submit all items above to the U.S.; Embassy/Consulate to apply for the J-1 Visa, the Embassy will verify your information in the SEVIS system and decide whether to issue a Visa to you.

 When attending the visa interview, scholar should remain calm and answer all of the visa officer’s questions openly and honestly. For more tips on the visa interview, please click HERE.

 If You Are Denied A Visa

 Please visit the U.S. Department of State Web site to learn more about the Visa denial.

 After You Are Granted a J-1 Visa

 The U.S. Embassy/Consulate will add a Visa sticker with your photo in your passport for permission to enter the United States for a specific purpose and period of time. Visiting Scholars are usually given a J-1 Visa, spouses and children of J-1 visa holders are assigned a J-2 Visa. After having the Visa sticker in your passport, you must have the following documents to enter the U.S.:

 1. Valid Passport (for at least 6 months) with a valid J-1 Visa

2. Original letter of offer/invitation from WKU

3. Valid SEVIS DS-2019 form issued by WKU

 After Your Arrival to the United States

 When you arrive at a United States airport, you will be asked to complete a form called I-94, also called the Arrival/Departure Record of Stay Permit. This form is very important since it officially determines how long an international scholar can remain in the U.S. Scholars on the J-1 Visas usually have their I-94 stamped “D/S” (Duration of Status), which means you can remain in this country for the length of time required to complete your teaching/research and as long as you follow all the regulations of the J-1 Visa. The 11-digit number written on your I-94 is your DHS-USCIS admission number, which is used by the USCIS to monitor your entry into and departure from the U.S.(see PDF filepdf file)

 For more information about your entry procedure to the United States, please visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

 J-1 Visiting Scholars’ Responsibilities

 Visitors in J-1 status are responsible for understanding and complying with U.S. federal laws and regulations governing the J visa. Failure to do so will violate the scholar’s legal status in the U.S. Your responsibilities include but may not be limited to the following.

  •  Report Address Changes to the ISO. U.S. Federal regulations require all J-1 scholars to report a change of address within 10 days of the address change.
  • Report Departure Date and Reason to ISO. Periodically, scholars leave the university early or unexpectedly due to a variety of reasons. U.S. federal regulations require all J-1 scholars to inform their advisor at ISO if they plan to leave the university before the expiration date of their DS-2019 form as well as the reason for doing so.
  • Apply for an Extension Prior to the DS-2019 Expiration. J-1 Scholars must apply for an extension before their DS-2019 from expires if they intend to stay at WKU. Scholars in the Research Scholar or Professor categories have a maximum of 5 years to complete their J-1 program. Short-term scholars have 6 months.
  • Report Changes in Program to ISO. Scholars MUST notify ISO whenever there is a change in their academic program.
  • Maintain Adequate Health Insurance. J-1 Scholars must maintain health insurance for themselves and any dependents in J-2 status throughout their stay in the U.S.
  • Abide by Employment Regulations. J-1 Scholars must conduct research or teach only at WKU unless specifically authorized ahead of time by their advisor at ISO to give a lecture or consult at another institution.
  • Receive Transfer Authorization Prior to Leaving WKU. J-1 Scholars must receive authorization from their advisor at ISO before leaving WKU in order to transfer to another institution. You must make an appointment at ISO at least one-two months before you will be permitted to transfer out.
  • Depart the U.S. within the 30-Day Grace Period. J-1 Scholars must depart the U.S. within 30 days after the DS-2019 expiration date or program end date, whichever is earlier, unless they have applied for a change of status with the DHS.
  • Obtain Travel Signature Prior to Departing the U.S. J-1 Scholars must have their DS-2019 signed by their advisor at ISO prior to travelling outside the U.S.

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 Last Modified 9/25/14