There is much to do to prepare for a move to another country, but this section focuses on what the scholar must do to ensure they have the correct immigration documents to participate in their Notre Dame program. For more information on Life in the U.S., including Social Security Numbers, Driving in the U.S. and Resources for Spouses, review our Life in the U.S. page. 

STEP 1 - Request the DS-2019 with the host department/academic unit

Once the appointment letter has been issued and signed by the scholar, the host department will send the scholar a link to a form in ISSAlink; they will complete the form to request the DS-2019. Once the request is completed, the department will mail the Form DS-2019, which allows them to apply for a J-1 visa. They should read page 2 of the Form DS-2019 carefully and then sign the bottom of page 1

The scholar will need digital copies (only PDF, JPG, BMP, or PNG formats accepted) of the following documents to upload for the J-1 Applicant Information form:

  • scholar’s ID page in passport
  • all dependents’ (spouse and children under 21) ID pages in passports
  • proof of funding if ND is not paying the scholar (funding requirements and acceptable types of funding can be found here)
  • any previous DS-2019’s, especially if the scholar is transferring from another program or school
STEP 2 - Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) charges a one-time Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) I-901 fee for scholars beginning a new J-1 program. Scholars must pay this fee prior to applying for their J-1 visa. To pay the fee:

  • Complete Form I-901 online and submit payment using a Visa, MasterCard, or American Express credit card. Print the receipt to take to the consulate and when entering the U.S. 
  • Or, pay via Western Union in your home country. Complete instructions can be found on After paying, check your payment status; once confirmed, print the receipt.
STEP 3 - Obtain a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa Stamp (excluding Canadians and Bahamanians) 

Visit to locate the nearest American embassy or consulate and for specific instructions about applying for the J-1 Exchange Visitor visa in that country.

At most visa interviews, you will need to present:

  • Completed DS-160 non-immigrant visa application receipt;
  • a valid passport, with at least six months validity remaining;
  • a Form DS-2019 issued by the University of Notre Dame;
  • One passport-sized photo;
  • SEVIS I-901 fee payment receipt;
  • Visa application (MRV) fee payment receipt number (visit the appropriate embassy’s or consulate’s website for more information);
  • Appointment letter from the University of Notre Dame;
  • Proof of English language proficiency;
  • Proof of financial support for the Exchange visitor program at Notre Dame;
  • Proof of the scholar's intention to depart the United States after the completion of the Exchange Visitor program; and
  • Other documents detailed on the U.S. embassy or consulate’s website.

Scholars issued a DS-2019 from the University of Notre Dame should not enter the country on visitor visas (ESTA/B-1/B-2 visas).