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Steps for Incoming Visitors

The process of requesting J-1 Exchange Visitor visa status begins with the host department.

instructions for host departments 

Once the NU department has submitted a complete J-1 request to the OISS, the OISS advisor will issue the Exchange Visitor (EV) a DS-2019, which is used to obtain his/her J-1 visa stamp at the U.S. embassy/consulate outside the U.S.

Instructions for Incoming Exchange Visitors

1. Complete the Exchange Visitor DS-2019 Request

This will be sent to you by your NU department contact. Return the completed form and associated documents (electronic copies are acceptable) so your contact can submit the request to the Office of International Student and Scholar Services.

If transferring from another U.S. Institution, you must also submit the J-1 Transfer In Form to your Northwestern department. Review the information on Extending or Transferring Status for details on the transferring your J-1 program to Northwestern.”


2. After the department's request is approved by OISS, the OISS will issue the Form DS 2019

  • The Office of International Student and Scholar Services will send (via email attachment) the electronic version of the Form DS-2019.
  • Please notify OISS immediately, if there are any inaccuracies, so we can amend as needed and re-issue the DS-2019.
  • Upon receiving an electronically sent DS-2019, download, print, sign, and date the DS-2019 in blue ink.
  • Read the DS-2019 Frequently Asked Questions from the U.S. Department of State.

3. Pay the SEVIS Fee

You can pay the SEVIS fee via the SEVIS I-901 Fee Processing website.

4. Obtain the J-1 visa stamp

Once you have the DS-2019 from NU, make an appointment at the nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate for a visa interview.

If while applying for a J-1 visa stamp, the EV's name is sent for a background check, there is very little the university can do. However, if more than 60 days have passed since the date of application, and no information has been given regarding application status, please contact your OISS Advisor.

Note: Canadian citizens do not require a visa stamp.

5. After arrival on campus, you will need to complete Immigration Check-In

You must check in with the Office of International Student and Scholar Services within five days of arriving on campus.