The process of requesting J-1 Exchange Visitor visa status begins with the host department. Once the UMBC department has submitted a complete J-1 request to IES, we will review all required documents and issue the prospective Visitor a document called a DS-2019, which is used to obtain a J-1 visa stamp at the US embassy.
DS-2019 is the name of an immigration document required to apply for a J-1 Exchange Visitor (EV) visa. The DS-2019 is issued by a school or other organization in the US, and includes a summary of all relevant information about the student, their sponsoring organization, and their program, as well as how the program is funded.
Instructions for host departments
1. Assemble application package
- Obtain official university appointment letter for your Visitor from the Office of the Provost. This first requires approval from the chair of the inviting faculty member’s department and the dean of the respective college. This is often the most time-consuming part of the J-1 request process, so please start as early as possible!
- Send the Exchange Visitor J-1 Request Form to prospective Exchange Visitor (EV) for completion (electronic copies are acceptable). It must be returned to the host department along with required supporting documents.
- Complete the Department J-1 Request Form and obtain required signatures.
- When submitting bank statements, institutional letters of support, or bank letters please use the following guidelines:
- Documents must have been issued within the last 3 months.
- The EV must be named as account holder or recipient of the letter of support.
- The account balance with currency or statement must specifiy that they have at least $2000 (not including dependents) of support per month.
- The letter must be in English or notarized English translation.
- If the funding information is an institutional letter of support, the dates of coverage and total amount of support must be present.
- If transferring from another US institution to UMBC, please include the J-1 Transfer In Form. If the EV is eligible for a J-1 transfer, the start date at UMBC must be the date after the current/previous DS-2019 ends, or earlier. There cannot be a significant gap in DS-2019 coverage.
2. Scan and email the documents to the International Office
Please include all required materials as email attachments and send to email@example.com with the subject line “EV Request – [EV Name]” (i.e. “EV Request – True Grit”).
Once IES has reviewed the complete application package, we will contact the Department and/or the EV with any questions.
3. IES issues the DS-2019
- IES will email the SEVIS ID number, along with other pertinent information, to the EV and host department representative(s).
- Once the document is issued the department contact will pick up the DS-2019 and send it to the EV. We strongly recommend that departments use FedEx, UPS, or another courier service.
Instructions for incoming exchange visitors
1. Complete the Exchange Visitor J-1 Request Form
This will be sent to you by your UMBC department contact. Return the completed form and associated documents (electronic copies are encouraged) so your department contact can submit the request to IES.
2. After the department’s request is approved by IES, you will receive the SEVIS ID number via email
IES will email you your SEVIS ID number from your DS-2019. Your department will send the DS-2019 to you via FedEx, UPS, or another courier.
3. Pay the SEVIS Fee
You can pay the SEVIS fee via the SEVIS I-901 Fee Processing website.
4. Obtain the J-1 visa stamp
Once you receive your DS-2019 from UMBC, make an appointment at the nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate for a visa interview.
- Please check the Department of State website for current visa wait times at each embassy/consulate.
- See the Consular Electronic Application Center for specific requirements.
Note: Canadian citizens do not require a visa stamp.
5. Prepare for your transition to UMBC
Please plan ahead to make sure you will have a smooth transition to the US! Be sure to consider:
- Housing near UMBC: Please explore your options and rent an apartment in advance of your arrival to the US! Please consider transportation options when choosing an apartment.
- Book your flights: You are welcome to arrive in the US up to 30 days in advance of your DS-2019 start date, and up to 30 days after the start date with permission from your department.
- Carry your passport, DS-2019 and appointment letter on your flight – learn more about what to expect when you land in the US and go through Customs.
- Plan for transportation from the airport to your apartment
6. After you arrive to UMBC’s campus, you will need to check in with IES
You must check in with IES within five days of arriving on campus. While checking in, we will need to review your passport, J-1 visa stamp and I-94 entry document; receive your US address and phone number, as well as emergency contact information; and obtain your consent to keep the required level of health insurance while at UMBC.
When this process is complete, we will “validate” (or activate) your J-1 immigration record.
Check-in must be done within 30 days of your DS-2019 start date!
Please work closely with your sponsoring department and the IES office throughout this process – we’re happy to help you and look forward to welcoming you to UMBC!