OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

How to Apply for a Visa

How to Apply for a U.S. Visa

Below are the directions to apply for a J-1 Exchage Visitor visa. Please contact our office for information applying for H1-B or other visa type.

How to Apply for a J-1 Visa

Initial international Exchange Visitors will need to apply for a U.S. visa in order to enter the United States to begin their program. Continuing Exchange visitors may need to renew their U.S. Visa while traveling abroad during their program. Explained below are the procedures and considerations to remember.

Initial Visa

Visa Renewal

Documents needed to enter the US

Issues for OSU employees applying for visas abroad

Visa Delays & Security Clearance

 

Initial J-1 U.S. Visa

Initial international Exchange Visitors who are outside the United States will need to apply for a J-1 US Visa in order to enter the United States to begin their program.

Procedure for Applying for an Initial Visa:

  1. The prospective visiting scholar will need to receive sponsorship from an Oregon State University (OSU) department. The OSU department will work with the International Scholars and Faculty Services (ISFS) office to produce a form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) status. These forms indicate that you are being invited to enter the United States as a visiting scholar at OSU. You will need to work with your sponsoring department to apply for these documents.
  2. Once you have your J-1 DS-2019 eligibility documents, you will need to pay the I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee. See this link http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/index.htm for additional information. Print and take your SEVIS receipt to your visa appointment.
  3. Schedule a visa appointment at a US Consulate office. Refer to your local US Consulate office's Web site for a list of documents they will require. Though all US Consulates are governed by the same general guidelines, each US Consulate has its own procedures for applying for a visa and processing times vary.

Dependents: Scholar's dependents will need to apply for dependent visas. Dependents will have to present all of the documents required for the scholar's visa, as well as proof of marriage for the spouse and proof of parenthood for children. Any child who is 21 years of age or older cannot enter the United States on a dependent visa.

Canadian Citizens: Canadian citizens do not need a US visa to enter the United States but do need to have an approved travel document, DS-2019, and proof of I-901 fee payment to be admitted into the US.

Change of Status or Transfer: Scholars who are currently in the US and have applied for a change of status or transfer of status do not need to leave the US for the sole purpose of applying for a visa abroad.

Visa Renewal

International visitors who travel outside of the US must have a valid visa (for their current non-immigrant status) in order to re-enter the US. If a scholar's visa will expire prior to re-entering the U.S., or if the scholar has used all entries permitted by the visa, or if the visa does not match the current non-immigrant program category, the scholar will need to apply for a new visa while outside of the U.S.

Scholars who are currently in the US and have a valid status document (DS-2019, I-797 Approval Notice, etc) do not need to have a valid visa stamp in their passport. The sole purpose of the visa is for authorization to re-enter the US after traveling abroad. A valid status document is the only authorization necessary for an international visitor to legally remain in the US after being legally admitted (with a visa which has since expired). International visitors should not leave the US for the sole purpose of applying for a US visa abroad.

Procedures for applying for a visa renewal are similar to procedures for applying for an initial visa. Though all US Consulates are governed by the same general guidelines, each US Consulate has its own procedures for applying for a visa and processing times vary. The scholar should check the Consulate's Web site at which he/she will apply for their specific application procedures.


Documents needed to enter the US

You will need to be prepared to present the following documents to the immigration officials at the United States port of entry (POE) into the U.S., be prepared to present the following items to immigration officials:

  • Valid passport (valid for at least six months)
  • United States Visa Stamp
  • Status Document (DS-2019, or I-797 Approval Notice)
  • Financial Documentation of the source & dollar amount of your funding

 

Issues for OSU employees applying for visas abroad:

  • Timing considerations
    Some US Consulates have backlogs for visa interview appointments. International Student & Faculty Services (ISFS) highly recommends scheduling your visa interview as soon as possible to avoid having to wait for an interview appointment. US Consulates usually have instructions for booking interview appointments on their web site.
  • Applying outside your country of residence
    If you intend to apply for a J-1 visa in a country other than your country of citizenship, ISFS highly recommends checking the US Consulate's web site to verify that they will issue J-1 visas for Third Country Nationals.  Recent changes in visa issuance have led some countries to change their policies regarding issuing visas to Third Country Nationals. Learn more on the US-Visa website.
  • Visa Delays & Security Clearance
    Be aware, if you are in a research field that may be considered of US national security interest, you may face serious delays receiving a visa while a background check is being conducted. It is impossible to predict how long a background check might take (one week to 6 months), and it is not possible for any agency to intervene to expedite the background check.  Read more about visa delays & security clearances here.