Visa Matters

International scholars  must have a valid passport and visa  to enter the United States.  As an international scholar, you are responsible for learning, understanding, and obeying the U.S. laws and regulations that apply to you.  Global Engagement Services: International Students and Scholars (ISS) is  here to help you maintain your legal status while in the U.S. and  also apply for related  immigration benefits. 

 SEVIS I-901 Fee

The SEVIS I-901 fee of US $180  is required for all J-1 student and scholar visa applicants. Without this fee, you will not be eligible to apply for a visa. To pay the fee, go to

 J-1 Student Visa

You will need:

  • DS-2019 issued by your UM hosting department or another US sponsor
  • Statement of financial support
  • Valid country passport
  • Reciept of SEVIS I-901 fee payment

To apply for a J-1 visa you should visit the website of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country. For the interview, you may  find the  10 Points to Remember useful.

When traveling, it is always a good idea to carry original documents on your person. Do NOT put them in your checked baggage.

You should plan to arrive with enough money to cover your expenses for the first few weeks.  International Students and Scholars  (ISS) can help you establish a bank account and help you will other financial matters after you arrive.


Your dependents (spouse and children) can obtain  a J-2 visa with an accompanying form DS-2019. Dependents do not have to pay the SEVIS fee.

Global Engagement and your hosting department can assist you with finding daycare or schools for your dependents. Please be sure to bring all school  and immunization records so they can be placed at the proper level in school.

Dependents of J-1 scholars cannot work without prior permission from  US Immigration Services. Applications can take up to three months to process. Dependents are eligible to study full or part-time.  

There are opportunities for your spouse to take English classes during your stay. Two options are: 

University of Montana English Language Institute

Life Long Learning Center