Application for the SEVIS Visa Certificate (DS-2019) for J-1 Exchange Visitors

Before filling out the Request Form, please:

  • COMPILE the necessary information– use this Checklist. arrow
  • READ and follow the Application Process Steps below arrow

Application Process Steps

  1. Determine prior J visa status of Visitor
  2. Determine English Proficiency
  3. Determine if visitor is currently in the U.S. in another visa status
  4. Determine Visitor's Stanford University's classification
  5. Obtain Visitor's passport information
  6. Certify funding for Visitor
  7. If Visitor's stay is 6 months or less...

Additional Information: Fees, processing times and forms access



Check with the Visitor to see if they have recently (within the last 2 years) been in any J visa status whether at Stanford or at another institution. If they have been in J status before, request copies of their previous DS-2019s and note the following:

  • J visa status (e.g. J-1 or J-2)
  • J category type e.g. Research Scholar, Short-Term Scholar, Student, etc. (noted in section #4 of the DS-2019 - "Exchange Visitor Category")
  • Start and end dates of their prior J visa status



According to new regulations, which will go into effect on January 5, 2015, all sponsors of J Exchange Visitors must retain “evidence” of “objective measures” of a prospective Exchange Visitor’s English proficiency before a DS-2019 can be issued.

The prospective visitor will need to possess “sufficient proficiency in the English language as determined by an objective measurement of English language proficiency, successfully to participate in his or her program and to function on a day-to-day basis.”

This “objective measure” can take the following forms:                    

  1. A TOEFL score (or equivalent test) of 89 or higher
  2. Signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school
  3. A documented interview conducted by the department either in-person, by videoconferencing, or by telephoning if the videoconferencing is not a viable option. For sample questions to use in interviews of prospective J Scholars, please feel free to use the following: Questions for Interviews for Assessing English Proficiency. To document this “evidence”, we encourage you to use the English Proficiency Form for J Scholars to be completed, printed and signed and retained for three years after.

Exemption from English proficiency:
Exemptions are granted to applicants who have earned a U.S. bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a college or university accredited by a regional accrediting association in the United States, or the international equivalent degree from a university of recognized standing in a country in which all instruction is provided in English. Therefore, applicants with degrees from the U.S., Australia, Canada (except Quebec), New Zealand, Singapore, Ireland and the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales) are exempt from the English Proficiency requirement.

J Students have already submitted an objective measurement of English proficiency in the form of a recognized English test required of all those admitted to Stanford’s degree seeking programs.


3) Determine whether the visitor is currently in the U.S. in another visa status or in J status under another program sponsor.

If he/she is currently in the U.S. in another visa status, find out what visa status, the end date of that status, and how they plan to change status to J. If the visitor is currently in the U.S. in F1 status under OPT (post-completion Optional Practical Training), he/she will have an EAD (employment authorization document) card. The end date of the F1 status is the end date on the EAD. The visitor can change status by departure and re-entry or by applying for the change of status by mail, but departure and re-entry is usually the better option. Indicate whether the change of status will occur by departure and re-entry or by applying by mail. If the change of status will occur by departure and re-entry the program start date you note on the DS-2019 Request Form should correspond to the expected date of re-entry. The start date on a DS-2019 issued for a change of status by mail should not be later than the end date of the EAD and should correspond as closely as possible to the expected date of the change of status approval. Changes of status by mail currently take approximately 2 -3 months to be approved.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION CONCERNING TRANSFERS: If visitor is currently in the U.S. in J Research Scholar or J Short Term Scholar status, the record may need to be TRANSFERED to Stanford. In such cases the Initial DS-2019 Request Form should NOT be used. You should obtain copies of the visitor’s current DS-2019 and those of any dependents and use the Transfer to Stanford Request Form*, rather than the Initial Request Form when you submit the DS-2019 Request. Please FAX those DS-2019s to Bechtel’s International Scholar Services FAX number 618-0330 (dial 9 first from a Stanford FAX machine). You will need to ask the visitor for the name and email address of the international scholar advisor (the person who handles J visa transfers) at the visitor’s current institution because you’ll need to include that information on the Transfer to Stanford DS-2019 Request Form.

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Make sure you know the Stanford University classification for the visitor so that you will note it correctly on the Request Form. Where the Request will automatically be routed depends upon the classification you choose from the drop-down menu on the Request Form. Choosing the wrong classification can greatly delay processing of the Request. There is often confusion between the Visiting Scholar, Visiting Researcher, and Postdoctoral Scholar classifications. If you are unsure of the differences among them, please read these University memos for clarification:

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  • Obtain a copy of the biographic page of the visitor’s passport BEFORE completing the DS-2019 Application.  (If there are dependents, obtain copies of their biographic passport pages as well.)
  • The name on the Request Form must match the name as noted on the machine-readable strip at the bottom of the biographic page of most passports. Any discrepancies may result in an incorrect document being issued which may cause delays in issuance of the J1 visa by the U.S. Consulate and may make it necessary for a new corrected document to be issued and sent to the visitor.  Please be accurate when filling out the Request Form. 
  • For Visiting Student Researchers, please also make sure the biographic information on the Registrar’s VR Application that you submit to the Registrar’s office matches the biographic information in the passport EXACTLY.

Reading the Passport:

Determine the spelling of names and the correct dates of birth by referring to the machine-readable information on the passport of your visitor and family members.


Above (circled in red) is a graphic sample of machine-readable text. It's always located along the bottom edge of the passport picture page, regardless of country of issuance.

In the example above:

  • The passport bearer’s LAST or FAMILY name is “Traveler”;
  • His FIRST, or GIVEN name is “Happy,” and
  • His date of birth is September 16, 1956 (see second row, after USA, the number sequence 560916)

Please conform to the machine-readable version in all entries involving the visitor, so that Consular and Immigration authorities will see consistency between the passport and the visa certificate that Stanford issues. You’ll find that the machine-readable spelling is not always consistent with the way the visitor has provided name information.

Other points to remember:

  • On the machine readable strip, two “<<” separate the surname from the given name(s). One “<” separates two surnames or two given names. For example: First name: Maria Elena Surname: Garcia Rodriguez would appear on the machine readable strip as GARCIA<RODRIGUEZ<<MARIA<ELENA
  • Do NOT use hyphens when indicating the name on the DS-2019 Request Form. Use a space instead.
  • Korean names: if there are two given names, note them as two first names, not as first name and middle name.
  • If the visitor has been at Stanford under a different name (for example, if the scholar was previously single and is now married and has changed names), please note that as well as the previous name in the Comments section of the Request.

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Funding Requirements >>


  • Funding that is from Stanford sources or is disbursed by Stanford (example: a grant provided to the faculty host or P.I. from ANY source that is disbursed to the visitor) should be listed under Stanford funding. Note that only the amount needs to be listed

  • Funding that’s provided DIRECTLY from an outside organization (a non-Stanford, non-government source) to the visitor should be listed under Other Organizations. The organization must be identified along with the funding amount from that source. Funding provided to the visitor by the visitor’s home country government should be listed under government funding. Note that only the amount needs to be listed for government funding. Funding amounts from the visitor’s personal or family sources should be listed under personal funding.

DS-2019 Request Forms showing insufficient funding cannot be processed!

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  1. Read the information about the *24 Month Bar on Repeat Participation as a Research Scholar or Professor.
  2. Decide which SEVIS category should be used:
    • Short-Term Scholar:
      • Maximum length of stay is strictly limited to six months
      • Not subject to the 24 Month Bar
    • Research Scholar:
      • May extend their stay up to five years
      • Subject to the 24 Month Bar, no matter how short or long their stay in J status.
  3. Indicate this preference in the Comments section of the DS-2019 Request Form.

*Note that the '24 Month Bar' is NOT the same as the 'Two Year Home Residence Requirement'

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Additional Information:


• Billing Information for $125 fee:

  • This is a ONE-TIME fee and will only be assessed for "INITIAL" and "TRANSFER" submissions.
  • "EXTENSION" submissions are not billed.
  • Please be sure to include the appropriate PTA number. Failure to do so will result in delay of visa document processing.

• Processing Times:

  • Postdoctoral Scholars Request Forms are routed to the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs for approval, while Medical School Visiting Scholars/Faculty Request Forms are routed to the Medical School Dean’s Office for approval. Visiting Research Associate (NOT Visiting Researcher) Request Forms are routed to the Dean of Research Office for approval. All other Request Forms are routed directly to Bechtel for processing.
  • Approval times can sometimes be lengthy. The I-Center does NOT receive (or have any knowledge of) these DS-2019 Request Forms until AFTER they are approved and forwarded to us by the appropriate office.
  • Allow at least one week for issuance of the DS-2019 AFTER the completed and approved form is received by the I-Center.
  • Please factor-in approval and processing times when filling in the start date, which should not be more than 30 days prior to or more than 25 days after the visitor’s expected arrival date. This date will be used as the start date of the Visitor's stay/program in the U.S. It’s best not to use a start date earlier than 2 weeks prior to the visitor’s expected arrival date.
  • Keep in mind that the visitor can enter up to 30 days prior to the program start date you note on the DS-2019 Request Form, and the I-Center must validate the record by the 30th day after the program start date. To do this, the I-Center must receive the visitor's arrival confirmation at least a few business days before the 30th day.
  • There is also a 30-day grace period AFTER the expiration date of the DS-2019 during which the visitor may vacation, pack, settle accounts, etc, but may not continue their J program activities.

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The J Scholar Visa Request form is available via the Axess portal at

  1. Click the login button
  2. Enter your SUNet ID and password and click 'login'
  3. The J Scholar Visa Requests form is available on the Employee Information tab. If you do not automatically find yourself on this tab, you will first need to click the tab to navigate here.
  4. Then click the J Scholar Visa Request link.
  5. The main page for J Scholar Visa Requests opens, displaying a menu of available options.
  6. Select the transaction you need and click 'Continue'.

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