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Frequently Asked Questions for Exchange Visitor Visa Applicants

Jennifer ArandaOriginally posted on February 14, 2017; updated February 14, 2017

Frequently Asked Questions for Exchange Visitor Visa Applicants

How long will my J-1 visa be valid for?

Unless canceled or revoked, your J-1 visa is valid until its expiration date. Therefore, a valid U.S. visa in an expired passport is still valid. If you have a valid visa in your expired passport, do not remove it from your expired passport. You may use your valid visa in your expired passport along with a new valid passport for travel and admission to the United States.

I have a concern about my Form DS-2019.  Who can I call about it?

The designated sponsor, whose name and telephone number can be found on the Form DS-2019, should be contacted for questions and concerns about your Form DS-2019. Your designated sponsor is responsible for assisting and advising you on all matters regarding your exchange visitor program.

My application for a J-1 visa was denied under INA section 214(b). What does this mean? Can I reapply?

If this is the basis for your refusal, it means that you were unable to convince the consular officer that you are NOT an intending immigrant.  This could be that you were unable to demonstrate that you have strong ties to your home country and that you will leave at the end of your temporary stay in the United States.  You can reapply if you feel that you have additional information that is related to the decision on your application or if there are significant changes in your circumstances. You will have to complete a new application form though and pay the application fee and schedule an appointment for an interview.

I am a citizen of a country that is part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).  Do I still need to apply for a exchange visitor visa?

Citizens of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) participating countries who intend to participate as an exchange visitor in a Department of State program must apply for a J-1 visa.

What is the difference between these forms: DS-7002; I-901; and DS-2019?

The DS-7002 is the official training program that describes exactly what will take place during your program. Any changes to the plan should be cleared with the program sponsor before they will be implemented.  The I-901 is the electronically generated copy of the SEVIS fee receipt and is proof that you paid the SEVIS Fee.  The DS-2019 is the Certificate of Eligibility that corresponds with your record in the SEVIS.

The dates on my J-1 visa are different than the dates on my DS-2019.  Which dates should I follow?

The dates on your J-1 visa determine the period during which you can request admission to the United States at a United States customs point of entry.  the dates on the DS-2019 (the program dates in box 3) determine how long you may remain in the United States once you are present in the country. If you leave the United States with an expired visa, then you may not reenter the country until you have applied for and received a new visa in your country of residence. Even if your program end date on the DS-2019 did not pass, an expired visa  will mean no entry.

What happens if I leave the United States during my 30-day grace period after my training ends?

If you leave and attempt to return during your 30-day grace period, you will be essentially ending your J-1 status even if the expiration date has not passed yet.  You may not use the remaining days of the grace period at a later date.

As a physician who wants to work in a medically underserved area of the United States, under which bases may I apply for a waiver recommendation?

You could apply for a waiver of the two-year home-country physical presence requirement through the request of an Interested U.S. Federal Government Agency or through the request of a designated State Public Health Department or its equivalent, also known as the Conrad State 30 Program. You may apply using only one waiver basis, and it must apply to your situation.

What if I cannot get a No Objection Statement from my home country?

If your home country will not issue a No Objection Statement on your behalf, then you may apply for a waiver recommendation under one of the other bases, if it applies to your situation. If none of the other waiver bases apply to you, then you will have no other choice but to fulfill the two-year home-country physical-presence requirement.

Authors & Contributors

Jennifer Aranda

Jennifer Aranda

Jennifer S. Aranda is the COO of IVC Immigrant Visa Center, Inc.

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