Navigating the J Visa Process

COVID-19 UPDATE ON J-1 VISA ISSUANCE

On July 2, 2020 the following Presidential Proclamation 10052 was issued which temporarily halts the issuance of J visas for interns & trainees. Due to this, the University of Montana is unable to sponsor international interns at UM or our affiliate campuses at this time.

In addition, many travel restrictions and embassy/consulate closures still remain in effect. Please check our COVID-19 International Travel Guidance for the most up to date information about acquiring a visa and traveling to the U.S.

Step 1: Request a Letter of Invitation

Before you can join the University of Montana as a visiting scholar, it is important to locate a faculty member and/or department that aligns with your research interests. Once you receive a response to your inquiry and they agree to accommodate your time at UM, you will need to request a letter of invitation. This letter must be signed on official UM letterhead clearly stating the following:

  • Full name of visiting scholar
  • Name of host department
  • Start and end dates of time in U.S.
  • Amount of salary or stipend being offered (if applicable)
  • UM resources that will be made available (i.e. office space, library, lab, etc.)

2. Complete Online Forms for the DS-2019

The Form DS-2019 or "Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status" is the basic document used in the administration of the exchange visitor program. This form permits a prospective exchange visitor to seek an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in order to obtain a J visa to enter the United States. Each year, a number of visiting scholars from abroad spend time in residence at the University of Montana through the J-1 program. To Request a DS-2019, please work with your host department to complete the following forms and submit the required documentation (listed in the forms) to caroline.mclean@mso.umt.edu.  

Step 3: Pay the Scholar Fee

To support annual certification fees required by the Department of State, the scholar or host department is responsible for paying an application fee of $120 annually, plus $10 per additional month of their stay in the U.S. before the DS-2019 will be processed.

Scholar Fee Chart

This table outlines fees visiting scholars must pay

Time in the U.S.

Fee Amount

12 months or less

$120

13 months

$130

14 months

$140

15 months

$150

16 months

$160

17 months

$170

18 months

$180

Note: Fee will continue to increase $10 per month of stay in the U.S.

Scholars can pay the fee from abroad by visiting umtglobalengagement.flywire.com.

Host departments can pay the fee by contacting caroline.mclean@mso.umt.edu with an index code to JV.

Step 4: Pay the I-901 Fee & Schedule Visa Interview

The SEVIS I-901 fee of US $220  is required for all J-1  visa applicants. Without this fee, you will not be eligible to apply for a visa. You do not need to pay this fee for J-2 dependents. To pay the fee, go to www.fmjfee.com.

After you have paid the I-901 fee, you will need to apply for the J-1 visa. To apply for a J-1 visa you should visit the website of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country. Most countries require that you complete the DS-160 to schedule the interview and an additional fee payment of $160. For the interview, you may  find the  10 Points to Remember useful.

You will need the following for your interview:

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