Applying for a Visa

Yale University has been approved by the U.S. Department of State to sponsor J-1 Exchange Visitors participating in academic research, teaching and observation at Yale. Scholars use the Exchange Visitor program for official appointments such as visiting faculty, postdoctoral or postgraduate fellows and associates, as well as other temporary academic appointments.

The J-1 visa cannot be used for ladder-track or tenured appointments as well as Managerial and Professional (M&P) or Clerical and Technical (C&T) positions.

In most cases, M.D. students and scholars are prohibited from engaging in any clinical activities during Yale's J-1 Exchange Visitor visa sponsorship. International medical graduates often use the J-1 visa sponsorship of another agency: the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates for clinical residency and fellowships.

Initial Steps in J-1 Process

  1. The host Yale department must determine that the individual has the appropriate academic credentials, funding support and English language proficiency.
  2. The department requests a Yale appointment title, and submits data via OISS Connect.
  3. OISS prints a Form DS-2019 which is mailed to the scholar.
  4. SEVIS Fee must be paid
For Canadians Special Note For Canadians:
Canadian citizens do not need to apply for a U.S. visa and can enter the U.S. with the appropriate immigration document (e.g. DS-2019 for J-1 status, I-797 approval notice for H-1B.)

Pre-Application Checklist

Before you begin the visa application process, you must have the following documents:

  • Form DS-2019 (Sent to you in the mail from Yale after you have accepted an appointment offer). Your DS-2019 is required when applying for an J-1 scholar visa at an American embassy or consulate and for entry into the United States. The DS-2019 has been produced by the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and is an acknowledgement that your record is in the SEVIS system. The form includes your SEVIS ID number, which is found in the upper right hand corner above the bar code (starting with an N) and Yale's program number in section two (2).
  • SEVIS Fee Receipt. All new scholars coming in J-1 status must pay a $220 SEVIS fee prior to applying for your visa. You can find instructions about paying the fee on this page.
  • Additional DS-2019 Forms. If you have family members traveling with you in J-2 status, each J-2 dependent (spouse and child(ren) only) should have his or her own DS-2019 form. Yale will issue a DS-2019(s) through SEVIS for their use.

The Application Process

You must apply for your visa well in advance of your arrival. In some instances it can take several weeks, and occasionally longer, to obtain the J-1 scholar visa.

To apply for a U.S. visa, you will need to present the following documents at the U.S. embassy or consulate nearest to you:

  • Your Form DS-2019
  • The SEVIS Fee receipt
  • A copy of your financial support documents, i.e. evidence that you have sufficient funds to meet the expenses of studying at Yale, e.g. bank statement.

In addition, the application for a U.S. visa requires you to present:

  • A valid passport
  • Passport-size photographs
  • Completed visa applications forms (Visa application forms are available on individual consular websites.)

An application fee and an interview will also be required.

There have been (and continue to be) changes in the visa application process and these changes are usually reflected on the consular websites.

Find a U.S. Consulate or Embassy Now

Special Notes

When applying for your student visa, pay careful attention to the following:

  • Per the U.S. Department of State, U.S. consulates may only issue a J-1 visa up to 120 days in advance of the program start date. However, an application for a J-1 visa can be submitted more than 120 days in advance of the DS-2019 start date in order to accommodate long processing times. Check the website of the consulate where you will apply for a visa for detailed instructions.
  • Entry to the U.S. on J-1 status is permitted no more than 30 days prior to the start date noted on your DS-2019 Form. If you try to enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the start date on your DS-2019, you may not be allowed entry to the U.S.
  • You must arrive, check in, and be validated in the SEVIS system within 30 days from the start date on your DS-2019. (This is imperative because SEVIS will purge records that are not validated within 30 days.)
  • Pay particular attention to the start date noted on your DS-2019 (Item #3). If you cannot enter the U.S. by this date, please get in touch with OISS and your Yale sponsoring department.

A Final Note

If the U.S. consulate has any questions regarding your Yale appointment, please contact OISS. And if your visa application is delayed or denied for any reason, please contact OISS and your Yale sponsoring department immediately. Safe travels and we look forward to meeting you when you arrive in New Haven!