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J-1 Student Visa/Status

About the "J" Exchange Visitor Program

The J visa is for educational and cultural exchange programs designated by the U.S. Department of State. This program is designed to promote the interchange of persons, knowledge, and skills in the field of education, arts, and sciences. Regent University is an authorized J exchange program sponsor able to issue the SEVIS Form DS-2019 for full-time students only. For more information on this program, visit the link from the U.S. Department of State's Opens in a new browser window web site.

Two-year Foreign Residence Requirement

Certain J exchange visitors may be required to return to their country of nationality or last residence after completing their program in the U.S., and reside there physically for two years before they may become eligible to apply for an immigrant or temporary worker visa. To find out if you would be subject to this requirement, contact International Student Services or view the Exchange Visitor Skills List Opens in a new browser window. If your country and current occupation appears, you will most likely be required to return to your home country upon completing your degree program.

Applying For a J-1 (Exchange Visitor) Visa in Your Home Country

Note: Canadian nationals, landed immigrants, or British subjects residing in Canada or Bermuda are not required to obtain a visa, unless they are entering the U.S. from outside the Western Hemisphere. However, the appropriate immigration document (SEVIS Form DS-2019 for J-1) must be presented at the U.S. port of entry.

  • You must be academically and financially admitted into a Regent University degree program before you can apply for an J-1 student visa.

  • Once you are admitted, Regent University will send you a SEVIS Form DS-2019 (immigration document). This verifies that you have been accepted into a specific degree program for the expected length of your program, and that you have a certain amount of funds available for your education and living expenses. Read "Instructions to Students" on page 2, sign and complete item #11 on page 1. The SEVIS Form I-20 will be presented to the U.S. embassy or consulate when you apply for a student visa.

  • Make an appointment for an interview with the U.S. embassy or consulate in your area of residence. June, July, and August are the busiest months at most consular sections, so it may be difficult to make an appointment during those months. It is important to plan ahead so that you won’t have to make repeat visits. However, you should not apply more than 90 days before the registration date noted on line #5 of the SEVIS Form I-20 issued to you by the OISS. (To locate U.S. embassies and consular offices worldwide, and for specific visa application instructions, visit Opens in a new browser window.)

  • Attend your interview. Be prepared with all the documents you could possibly need (see below).

Preparation for the Visa Interview

You must prove that you are eligible to enter the U.S. as a student to be considered for a student visa. This eligibility is based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to:

  • Foreign residence and ties to a community
  • Intention to return to the place of foreign residence
  • Ability to financially support yourself (and family if included) while in the U.S.

At a minimum, you should take the following to your interview:

  • Form DS-156 PDF, DS-158 PDF (Application for Nonimmigrant Visa), which can be obtained at the U.S. consulate or embassy. Some applicants may need to complete DS-157 PDF as well, so please contact the Embassy for more details on your situation.

  • The required fee in U.S. dollars or receipt showing payment of fee. (Fee information can be found at Opens in a new browser window) Note: There is a fee for the visa application and another fee for issuing the visa if your application is approved. *The US DHS is currently deciding the SEVIS fee that will be imposed to student visa appicants. Once we have this information, it will be posted.

  • A complete and accurate SEVIS Form DS-2019 issued by Regent University

  • Information related to academic background, such as transcripts, diplomas, certificates, etc. (only two or three documents are appropriate rather than a thick packet)

  • Proof of English competency, such as TOEFL scores or documentation verifying planned attendance at a language school

  • Information verifying financial support, such as bank account statements (accounts should not be new); you must be prepared to show relationship with any sponsors who are providing financial support

  • Proof of intention to return to your home country by including information such as bank accounts, property, employment, and ties to family members remaining in the home country

  • An explanation of why you want to study at Regent University and then return to your home country

  • Two passport-size photographs

Applying early and providing the requested documents will not guarantee that you will receive a visa. Because each student’s personal and academic situation is different, it is possible that two students applying for the same visa may be asked different questions and be required to submit different documents. It is a good idea to take more information than you think you might need to your interview.

Go to Opens in a new browser window for more information about what you’ll need to provide at your interview.

If your visa application is approved, a visa stamp will be placed in your passport. A visa includes a visa number, location of issuing office, classification of visa, date, number of U.S. entries permitted to, expiration date, student's name, and the signature of the issuing officer.

A visa is the document that allows you to travel to the U.S. A visa does not guarantee that you will be allowed to enter the U.S. That decision is made by an immigration official at the U.S. port of entry. You will be required to present your SEVIS Form DS-2019 (student copy) as proof of your intention to attend Regent University. You will be given an entry document (I-94 card, which will be stamped with your date and port of entry, your immigration status (J-1 or J-2), and the dates your status will be valid. (Under normal circumstances, the I-94 card given to J-1 and J-2 visa holders will be stamped "D/S", meaning "Duration of Status." This verifies that you will remain in J-1 (or J-2) status for the duration of your degree program, as stated on your SEVIS Form DS-2019.)

For example, if you have a student visa that is valid for five years that will expire June 1, 2005, and you are admitted into the U.S. for the duration of your status (abbreviated in your passport or on your I-94 card as "D/S "), you may stay in the U.S. as long as you are a full time student. Even if June 1, 2005 passes and your visa expires, you will remain in legal student status while you are in the U.S. However, if you depart the U.S. with an expired visa, you will need to obtain a new one before being able to return to the U.S. and resume your studies. A student visa cannot be renewed or re-issued in the U.S.; it must be done at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.

If your visa application is denied, you will be given a written notice indicating reason for refusal and possible recourse action. If possible, you should do what is expected by the consular official. Please notify the OISS immediately.

J-2 Visa: Bringing Family Members to Live With You

Your spouse/children may be able to enter the U.S. with you on an J-2 visa. You will want to submit their application for an J-2 visa at the same time you submit your application for a J-1 visa. It is important that you present with your IAP-66 Form an official letter from Regent University stating the names and additional information for each dependent. If you do not receive this letter, please contact OISS. Regent University will only provide a letter to include your spouse/children if you have proven sufficient finances to support them while you are a student.

Maintaining J-1 Status

Once admitted to the United States with F-1 status, you must meet the following obligations in order to remain in legal status.  Click here for details.


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