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International Student Office - J-1 Scholar Visa



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J-1 Scholar Visa Information

The Exchange Visitor Program

The purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges. International educational and cultural exchanges are one of the most effective means of developing lasting and meaningful relationships. 

Applying for a Scholar J-1 Visa

Like all countries in the world, the United States has laws and regulations governing international visitors who are temporarily within its borders. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) administer the immigration regulations. International scholars are those who already have, or will be applying for a temporary United States Visa (most commonly the J-1 Visa) to teach, conduct research and or perform in the United States. Therefore, it is important for you to understand the immigration rules as they apply to your visiting scholar status. The DHS-USCIS does not consider ignorance of the law a legitimate reason for failing to obey it.


Be sure to apply for a passport in your home country with first and last names that match exactly the first and last names on the education documents you will submit to WKU. Most passports are good for a limited period of time. Your passport must be valid at all times while you are in the United States. It is your responsibility to apply for the passport and to remember when it will expire and contact the nearest consulate or embassy of your country in the United States to renew it. Visit this directory of foreign embassies and consulates  in the U.S. if you need to locate your home country’s embassy/consulate to renew your passport.

Pay your SEVIS Fee PRIOR to the visa interview

Enclosed is your DS-2019 form. Please use this form to apply for your J-1 scholar visa.

U.S. Immigration requires ALL new international scholars to pay the SEVIS fee PRIOR to the visa interview at the U.S. Consulate/Embassy. Failure to pay the SEVIS fee will result in a visa denial. You may pay the SEVIS fee online at using a valid credit card, valid passport and your DS-2019 form. To pay your SEVIS fee, please complete the following steps with accurate information:

  • Go to & click “Proceed to I-901 Form and Payment”.
  • Scroll down & click “DS-2019” button & “OK”
  • Fill out your personal information and enter your 10 digit SEVIS Identification Number which is listed on the top right of your form DS-2019 (above the bar code) beginning with the number after the letter "N", click “Enter”
  • Since you hold a WKU DS-2019, the school code is “P-1-03954”
  • Make sure the information is correct on the next page.
  • Complete the credit card information with the cardholder’s address and not yours
  • Print 2 copies of the last page to serve as your receipt.

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 Last Modified 9/24/14