Cal Poly

Obtaining a J-1 Visa

Overview of Visa Issuance Process

  1. Verify that your passport is valid at least six (6) months past your arrival date.
  2. Review the I-20 or DS-2019 form issued by the International Center for accuracy. If there are any errors, notify the International Center immediately. Do not pay the SEVIS fee if there is an error on your form.
  3. Pay the I-901 SEVIS fee. See this tutorial on paying the fee.
  4. Apply for a visa at a United States Embassy or Consulate in your home country.
    Special instructions for Canadian citizens: An F-1 or J-1 visa is not required. Just pay the I-901 SEVIS fee, then bring your passport, I-901 receipt, I-20 or DS-2019, and proof of funds with you to the U.S. port of entry.
  5. If you have an I-20, prepare for your F-1 visa appointment or, if you have a DS-2019, prepare for your J-1 visa appointment.
  6. Bring your documents with you to your visa appointment. You will be interviewed in English. Remain calm and answer questions honestly. Be prepared to talk about your educational program at Cal Poly and your plans when you return to your home country. The interview is normally brief and may be as short as five to ten minutes.
  7. Check to be sure that your I-20 or DS-2019 is returned with your passport and the information on your visa is correct. Carry your I-20 or DS-2019 with you on the plane.
  8. See instructions for Entering the USA.

Contact Judy Mitchell at (805-756-5837) if you have any questions about the visa process.

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© 2015 California Polytechnic State University Cal Poly International Center
Building 52, Room E32
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
Phone: (805) 756-1477
Fax: (805) 756-5484