Participants have to pay the fee for their exchange program to their sponsors; the fees vary depending on the exchange visitor category and also the duration of the program. It is good to check with your sponsor for a breakdown of all costs and fees of your program beforehand. After you are accepted into an exchange visitor program, you will be required to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee to the Department of Homeland Security. It could either be paid by your sponsor as part of your program fees or you may be needed to pay it. If the sponsor has paid the fees, he will provide you with a receipt confirming payment. Once you are accepted into an exchange program, your sponsor will issue a Form DS-2019 to you. Exchange visitors must pay the non-immigrant visa application processing fee too when they apply for a J-1 visa. At the time of their interview, applicants must show a receipt as proof that the visa processing fee has been paid. Sometimes an additional fee must be paid upon issuance of your visa. However, government sponsored exchange program applicants and their dependants are exempted from fee for visa application or visa issuance.
The Form DS2019
People interested in applying for a J1 visa must first get a DS2019 form completed by their sponsors. The sponsors are authorized to issue this form to prospective exchange visitors after screening and selecting them. They will ensure that the program you are applying for is in line with your experience and educational background. They also make sure that the program conforms to the U.S. State Department regulations.
The form DS2019 is the “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status” and is the basic document used in administering the J-1 exchange visitor program. All the necessary information in this form is completed by the sponsor before the participant gets it. This form permits an exchange visitor to seek an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate to obtain a J visa to visit the U.S. The form DS-2019 identifies the exchange visitor and their sponsor, giving a brief description of the exchange visitor’s program, the start and end date of the program, category of the exchange program and an estimate of the cost involved. In case of any questions or concerns about the Form DS-2019, exchange visitors can contact their designated sponsor on all related matters, so they can offer the required assistance and advice.
Once the DS-2019 form is given, the participant can apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate for the J-1 visa. Issuance of the J-1 visa will be at the discretion of consular officers even after you are accepted in the exchange visitor program and have received the DS-2019 form.