After securing approval from your J1 sponsor, you’ll need to secure your forms DS2019 and pay your SEVIS fee.  Your visa is actually processed at the port if entry. The information provided here with links included are for your convenience.

Applying For Your J-1 Visa

If you are working with a recruiting agency, they will assist you through the process, however, you are ultimately responsible for obtaining your visa and for assuring that your papers are processed correctly when entering and exiting the United States of America (USA), so please be sure to read through the information carefully.  If you have any questions about the process after reviewing this information, contact your recruiting agency or email us at [email protected].

Inspect your DS 2019 form for errors.

Inspect your DS 2019 for accuracy.  Slight errors in biographical information can be corrected but errors may be cause for denial of your entry.  Pay close attention to date format.  The DS2019 forms reflect dates in MM/DD/YYYY format.  All information must exactly match your passport information.

Pay the SEVIS fee.

If you are working with a recruiting agency, check with them to see if the SEVIS fee is paid on your behalf as part of their services. If it is not, you can pay this fee online at  You’ll need to have your SEVIS ID and the sponsor’s program number to make this payment and a credit card is required.   Be sure to print a copy of your receipt (I-901) and keep it with your DS2019 at all times.

Make your Final Arrangements.

Once you’ve received your forms DS2019 and paid your SEVIS fee, you can go ahead and make the final arrangements.

  • Book your Round Trip Ticket
  • Enter your travel information into your profile
  • Make payment to secure your Medical Insurance
  • Be sure all necessary supporting documents have been submitted including: a copy of your police background check, medical screening and three references.
  • Read and sign the Pre-Departure

Entering the US

Have ready and on your person, the following documents.

  • forms DS2019,
  • SEVIS receipt,
  • passport and
  • contract.

Be sure that you explain clearly that you are entering on the cultural exchange program. The biggest issue we experience with Canadians takes place upon entrance. Officials often assume you are entering as a guest. If they do not ask to see your forms DS2019, make sure they see it! They must stamp page 1 of your forms DS2019 and your passport and return them both to you.

Please note: In all instances, your PERIOD OF ADMITTANCE INTO THE UNITED STATES IS DETERMINED AT THE PORT OF ENTRY by Customs and Border Protection. The validity of the visa does not indicate the length of time you may stay in the U.S. It represents the date by which you must use the visa to apply for entry.

The Department of State provides its own Exchange Visitor Welcome Brochure  and Welcome Letter for Summer Work Travel participant outlining the program purpose and rules and regulations.  Be sure to read and review this information if you are participating in the Summer Work Travel Program.

Medical Insurance.

You must secure medical insurance for your entire stay in the US including travel time before or after your program dates. A medical Insurance policy has been secured exceeding regulatory minimum standards at a discounted monthly rate.  Your cost will be calculated upon entering your travel dates.  If you extend your program or travel dates before entering or while in the states, you must also extend your medical insurance.

Medical Insurance Brochure and Coverage Details.

Confirm your Pre-Departure Orientation

After making final travel arrangements and securing medical insurance, it is time to prepare for your US experience: learn more about the culture, the laws, visa restrictions and communication requirements, emergency numbers and contacts, etc.

Pre-Departure Orientation Booklet

Please read carefully through the booklet.  Ask questions if there is anything that is unclear.  Print the last page of the booklet, sign and upload this page to your profile so that your sponsor knows that you are fully prepared.