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J-1 Exchange Visitors  

Important Documents

Do you know the difference between a visa and an immigration status? The glossary below offers some brief explanations and definitions for the important documents you hold.

Passport - A passport permits its bearer to return to the issuing country, usually the country of the passport holder’s citizenship.


Did you know that it is necessary to hold a passport, which is valid for at least 6 months, in order to obtain a J-1 visa from a U.S. embassy/consulate? Likewise unless your passport is valid for at least 6 months, you will be denied admission to the U.S. at the port of entry.


Sources: INA 212 (a)(7)(B)(i)(I); 22 CFR 41.2(j); 8 CFR 214.1 (a)(3)


How do I renew my passport when I am in the U.S.?

Contact the embassy of your country or their nearest consulate for instructions. Here is a link to find your embassy/consulate.

Visa - A visa is a stamp affixed in your passport enables you to request admission to the U.S. It does NOT guarantee admission to the US.


The validity period of the visa is determined by an agreement between your country and the U.S. in something called a reciprocity table.



DS-2019 Form - This is the document you use to request an entry visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country. It is also called the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status


The information on the DS-2019 is also stored on an electronic database called SEVIS. It is specific to you and any changes must be updated via your scholar advisor at WSU.


You must present this document along with your passport and visa every time you enter the U.S.


Your DS-2019 remains valid until the program end date indicated.