All exchange students must obtain a J-1 visa before starting the program. The following are the procedures to obtain a J-1 visa:
1. Obtain a Form DS-2019. This form is also known as "Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status". The Form DS-2019 identifies the exchange visitor and their designated sponsor and provides a brief description of the exchange visitor’s program, including the start and end date, category of exchange, and an estimate of the cost of the exchange program.
You can only get this form through a sponsoring organization designated by the Department of State. Forte International Exchange Association has been such a sponsor since 2000.
If you have any questions or concerns about your Form DS-2019 or the program, you should contact Forte as we can provide assistance and advice on all matters regarding your exchange program.
2. Pay SEVIS fee and schedule a visa interview. After you have received your Form DS-2019, you should schedule a visa interview with an American consulate as soon as possible. This should be done online and you should pay a SEVIS fee before doing this. Go to https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/index.jsp, where you can find the information you may need and then pay the SEVIS fee. Fill out the I-901 form.
3. Go to the visa interview. You should bring all the documents from Forte and other evidence that will prove you are a qualified participant of the exchange program.