J-1 Visa Application Process
You may apply for a J-1 student visa from a U.S. consulate as soon as you receive the DS-2019 from Caltech. Below is a general overview of the visa application process:
Schedule a visa appointment at the nearest U.S. consulate. It may take several weeks to secure an appointment at the nearest U.S. consulate.
Check visa wait times. Prepare for possible delays. Incoming Caltech students are sometimes subjected to additional administrative processing at the Consulates that could delay visa acquisition. Apply early to allow sufficient time for processing.
Read the consulate's website to learn about visa application procedures and documentation prior to your scheduled appointment. At a minimum, be prepared to present the following at your visa appointment:
- Letter from Caltech, indicating admission, length of study, and Caltech funding (if applicable)
- DS-2019 issued by Caltech
- Valid Passport
- SEVIS Fee Receipt (proof of SEVIS I-901 Fee payment)
- Pay the $220 SEVIS Fee online. If you previously visited the U.S. in F-1 status, you may be exempt from the SEVIS Fee.
- Proof of financial support (as listed in item #5 of the DS-2019)
- This may include personal bank statements, a letter from the home government or sponsoring agency, and/or a letter from the Caltech Graduate Office or Office of Financial Aid (if applicable)
- Visa application forms are available online
U.S. Department of State's Reciprocity Table indicates the maximum validity period of a J-1 visa for each country. Your visa may be coincide with the duration of the DS-2019 (listed in item #3) or for the amount of time allowed by the Reciprocity Table.
Dependents. If you will bring one or more dependents (spouse or children) to Caltech, a separate DS-2019 will be issued, at your request, for each dependent. We recommend that your dependent(s) apply for the J-2 visa at the same time you apply for your initial J-1 visa. Be prepared to show evidence of financial support to cover dependent expenses (including adequate health insurance for all dependents) for the length of your program or for a 12-month period, whichever is shorter. Dependents are not required to pay a SEVIS Fee.
For individuals in J-1 status and their J-2 status dependents, you must obtain medical insurance coverage by the time you arrive in the United States that complies with the U.S. Department of State requirements. Willful disregard of these requirements will result in termination of your program and your J-1 status and the J-2 status of any dependents.