Entering the U.S in J-1 Status
All J-1 Scholars (except for Canadian citizens) must apply for and obtain a J-1 entry visa from the closest U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. This process can only be completed upon receipt of the DS-2019 for the J-1 scholar and all J-2 dependent family members and the payment of the $180 SEVIS fee. (For more information on the SEVIS fee, go to https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/). Processing times for the DS-2019, the availability of appointments, and background checks at the consulate may vary greatly, therefore, it is highly recommended that scholars do not make or finalize any travel plans until they secure their entry visas.
For information on applying for a J-1 visa, go to http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/temp_1305.html
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security regulations state that prospective J-1 exchange visitors will not be admitted to the U.S. any earlier than 30 days prior to the program begin date shown on the DS-2019. Please consider this when making travel plans.