Obtaining a J-1 Visa

Obtaining a J-1 Visa

J-1 status is used by many different visitors to the U.S. At HSU J-1 status is most often used by short-term exchange students and visiting scholars. J-1 status is a nonimmigrant classification, which means that you must demonstrate to the U.S. government that you do not intend to reside in the U.S. on a permanent basis. You must also demonstrate sufficient English language proficiency. Immigration form DS-2019, issued by HSU, provides evidence of eligibility for J-1 status.

Applications to change to J-1 status may be filed by individuals who are residing in the U.S. in a qualifying nonimmigrant status. All other students must apply for a visa stamp abroad.

If you would like to change to J-1 status in the U.S., please contact the Center for International Programs to discuss the options at least six months before the planned start date of your program.

Qualifying for J-1 Student Status

J-1 student status might be possible if one of the following conditions is met:

1. You or your program is financed directly or indirectly by the U.S. government, your home government, or an international organization of which the U.S. is a member;

2. The exchange program is based on an agreement between the U.S. and another government;

3. The exchange program is based on a written agreement between: a) Humboldt State University and a foreign educational institution, b) Humboldt State University and a foreign government, or c) a U.S. state or local government and a foreign government; or

4. You are supported substantially by funding from any source other than personal or family funds.

After being admitted to the University, students are asked to provide a Form DS-2019 at their visa interview.  The Center for International Programs (CIP) will only issue Form DS-2019 for J-1 status once it confirms the following:

  1. The student has proficiency in the English language;
  2. The student demonstrates that he or she has funding to cover the cost of attending Humboldt State University; and
  3. The application and all required supporting documents are received and original.

Citizens of countries with an official language of English are not required to demonstrate English language proficiency. Proficiency in the English language is most often demonstrated through standardized testing.

Once an international student receives Form DS-2019 he or she may apply for a J-1 visa stamp. If residing in the U.S. in an eligible nonimmigrant status, a student may also Change to J-1 Status.

All J-1 students must pursue a full-time course of study unless otherwise specifically authorized by the CIP and sponsoring agency. The CIP must be informed of and approve of any drop below full time. Full-time status for undergraduates is 12 credit hours per semester. Full-time status for graduate students is 9 credit hours per semester.

 J1 Visa Stamp

All nonimmigrants require a valid visa stamp in their passports before coming to the U.S. to work or study. Exceptions to this general rule include citizens of Canada or contiguous islands that are considered visa exempt.

In general, a valid visa stamp is also required for nonimmigrants returning to the U.S. after travel abroad. An exception to this general rule exists when a student travels only to Canada or Mexico (and certain contiguous territories) and complies with the automatic visa revalidation standards.

Visa stamps in passports are only for admission to the U.S. in a specific status, or visa "type". After admission, visa stamps do not have any substantive impact on one's status in the U.S. Therefore it is not necessary for nonimmigrants maintaining status in the U.S. to possess a valid visa stamp in their passport. An expired visa may only need to be renewed for re-entry into the U.S.

Visit for a list of embassies, consulates and diplomatic missions. Each Web site will have specific visa application procedures for your area. Also visit for information about visa wait times in your area. Note that visa wait time information is not always accurate. Visa application procedures, appointment times and visa issuance times are subject to change without notice.

Visa application appointments must be scheduled in advance. You should plan to schedule your visa application appointment at least one month in advance. In some instances, applications must be scheduled many months in advance. Please note that you should ensure that you schedule your visa application appointment for a date when you will have all required materials. Visa applications will often require a document from the U.S. such as an I-20, DS-2019 or I-797. You should ensure that you will have this document at the time of your application.

J-1 applicants (among others) must demonstrate to the U.S. consulate that they do not plan to reside in the U.S. permanently. These applicants should be prepared to provide the consulate with ample documentation that they plan to return to their home country. J-1 applicants must also pay the SEVIS fee (SEVIS is the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) prior to their applications.