visa page picture

Steps for Getting an J-1 Visa 

It is important to read through the information to obtain your visa through the U.S. Consulate or Embassy. Here are some important steps to help you with the visa process.  

  1. Once you have obtained your DS-2019 from the Office of International Programs, you will need to pay for the DS-2019 by paying the I-901 SEVIS Fee. This fee is mandatory and must be paid before you enter the U.S. and or visa interview. We highly recommend the second and have the receipt available during your visa interview. Go to U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement to pay online. 

  1. Find the nearest US Embassy or Consulate; Although most U.S. Embassy and Consulate visa requirements are universal, there may be some variations, so find out EXACTLY what the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in your country requires by visiting its web page, telephoning, or even visiting before you schedule the interview; make sure to download and fill out the following visa forms. Check with the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in your country to find out if there are any additional forms. 

  1. Detailed information on how to apply for your student visa is through the U.S. Department of State

Important Tips to Remember 

  • HAVE EXTRA PHOTOCOPIES: You may need to give extra sets of documents, so take extra completed copies of all the documents you are submitting. 

  • BE ORGANIZED with your documents. Most importantly, do NOT hand the officer anything unless he or she asks for it. 

  • TRANSLATIONS: If anything is in your native language you must have translated into English and notarized by a government official in your country, or the U.S. Embassy/Consulate may not accept it as a legal document. 

  • MOST IMPORTANTLY: All visa applications, bank forms, government issued documents, passport information, and other document and forms should have no mistakes. Review that all your documents have the correct and same spelling of your last name, first name and middle name; birth dates, school dates, and any other dates should be written in the same format (month/day/year). Many visas are denied when there is a different date or different spelling name on another documents. 

  • Make sure that the DS-2019 is signed by both NEIU Designated School Official (DSO) and by you.  

  • Have the I-901 SEVIS Fee receipt 

  • Your passport must be valid for at least six months after your expected date of departure from the U.S. 

  • At least five regulation-sized photos. Check with the U.S. Embassy/Consulate, but the regulation size is usually 2 inches by 2 inches (5.08 cm x 5.08 cm) 

  • Dependents. Make sure you bring copies of your dependent's passport, marriage certificates, birth certificates, and financial documentation to support them. 

How to Prepare for the Visa Interview: 

  • Speak in English. The interview is short (about 5-7 minutes), so prepare to answer many questions quickly. Be very confident in your answers, and be honest. Why you want to study in the U.S. compared to studying in your home country? Why study the type of degree you choose? Why at Northeastern Illinois University? 

  • Ties to your home country. Most visa denials are because the student was not able to provide sufficient information to tie them to their home country. Think about that after you study how you need to return back home and briefly explain why you will return to your home country: Be prepared to explain your wishes, desires, hopes, wants, and personal needs for returning to your home country. This can be; Family businesses you or your family own and you have a reason to return to manage. Any and all property ownership with notarized and translated government issued document, such as a deed. Employment or Employment Opportunities in your country. A letter from a future employer who will hire you when you return to your country because you have an American degree. Be prepared to provide proof of any relationship with your home country, such as: Family Relationships. 

  • Financial Documents. These are the same documents you provided when you obtained your DS-2019. Additional documents if you want provide; current bank account statements showing the balance and when the account was open. (Accounts open less than a year will be looked at suspiciously). Your tax records showing you are a good tax-paying citizen in your country.