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International Student and Scholar Services
University of Mississippi

Obtaining J-1 Visa Status

1. Check your DS-2019 

Verify that your name, date of birth, city/country of birth and citizenship as listed on your DS-2019 form match what is written in your passport. Contact International Student and Scholar Services if changes are needed on your DS-2019.

2. Pay the SEVIS Fee 

Before the J-1 visa is issued, you must pay the SEVIS fee. This US government required fee is for support of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) that maintains data about international students during their stay in the United States.

The fee can be paid by mail, online or through Western Union Quick Pay.

  • To pay Online:
    1. Complete the Form I-901 at USCIS I-901 Fee Website. Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your I-20 form and your date of birth in month/day/year format.
    2. Supply the necessary Visa, MasterCard or American Express information. Debit cards with the visa or MasterCard logo are also accepted.
    3. Print a copy of the online receipt.

3. Apply for the J-1 visa

    1. Follow the U.S. Embassy/Consulate’s instructions to schedule an interview for a visa application. A list of Consulates and Embassies can be found at If you are a student, be sure that it is known that you are applying for a student visa, as these applications are given priority for scheduling. Sometimes it is possible to request an expedited appointment because of the semester dates after first scheduling a regular appointment. Consulates can differ by city/country in how appointments are scheduled.
    2. Complete the DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application 
    3. Pay the visa application fee by following instructions on your local U.S. Embassy/Consulate’s site.
    4. Prepare and bring to your visa interview :
      • Passport valid for at least six months into the future
      • Form DS-2019
      • Receipts for payment of the SEVIS and Visa Application fees
      • Financial evidence to show there are sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period you intend to study
      • Be prepared to explain the program in which you will participate at The University of Mississippi, your reasons for wanting to participate and any information that helps to establish your nonimmigrant intent since the J-1 visa is for nonimmigrant status.
      • Any additional information listed on the consulate’s website

4. Receive J-1 Visa Stamp from U.S. Embassy/Consulate

  • Make plans to come no more than 30 days before the Program Start Date.
  • Bring all of the documents required for J-1 student immigration status at the U.S. port of entry
    • Don’t pack them in your checked luggage!
  • Note: Students from Canada and Bermuda are exempt from the visa requirement but must pay the SEVIS fee and present the DS-2019 when entering the U.S.

Additional Helpful Sites:

U.S. Department of State Exchange Visitor Visa

J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Study in the States

Education USA