J-Visas are for Exchange Visitors or Scholars, and are granted for the purpose of enhancing understanding between the people of the United States and people of other countries through educational and cultural exchange. J-Visas may be used for persons coming to teach, to conduct research, to study or to participate in a training program.

Most students studying at Simmons University will want to enter under an F-1 Visa. For the F-1 Visa process please see F-Visa

1) Check to see if you qualify for J-Visa student status.

The main requirements for a J-visa for a Student Exchange Visitor are:

a) a minimum of a two-year physical presence in your home country. If you have lived abroad, you may be required to move back to your home country for two years before being eligible to apply for a J-visa.

b) that your program of study must be financed directly or indirectly by government sources or by a recognized international organization of which the United States is a member or that you are supported by a source of funding other than family or personal funds.
Other requirements are that your stay in the United states must be temporary and for a specific limited time period, that you are able to provide evidence of compelling social and economic ties to your home country, and be able to provide evidence of sufficient funds to cover your expenses while in the United States.

2) Inform the admissions office of the School/Department that accepted you that you wish to come in under a J-1 Visa.

3) SEVIS Registration and receiving a DS-2019 Form

Once the International Student Advisor has received information from the School/Department that has accepted you as an international student that you will be attending Simmons University as a J-1 status student exchange visitor, she will work with the staff in the Colleges of the Fenway Global Education Center (GEO Center) to initiate your registration in Studio Abroad. You will then receive an email with Studio Abroad log-in instructions and information about the necessary questionnaires to complete.

After receiving all of the necessary information in Studio Abroad, the GEO Center staff will register you in SEVIS (The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) as an international student in "initial status" and send you a DS-2019 Document which you will need to apply for a J-1 Visa.

The DS-2019 document verifies that you have been accepted into a specific degree or non-degree program for the expected length of your program, and that you have documented a certain amount of funds available for your education and living expenses. Non-degree students in J-1 Status programs of study may last up to 24 months. Degree programs may last until the degree is attained. (Please note: Canadian Nationals, landed immigrants or British subjects residing in Canada or Bermuda are not required to obtain a visa, unless they are entering the U.S. from outside the Western Hemisphere. However, the appropriate immigration document (DS 2019 for J-1) must be presented at the U.S. port of entry.

3) Read the instructions on Page 2 of the DS-2019 and sign your DS-2019 form

4) You will need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee

See http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/index.htm for more information . You can pay the fee online at https://www.fmjfee.com/index.html and will need a receipt when you apply for the Visa at your local U.S. Embassy.

5) Apply for a Visa at your local U.S. Embassy

  • You will need to fill out a Visa Application form DS-156 and DS-158
  • You will need to provide a photo
  • You will need to have your signed DS-2019 form and the receipt for the I-901 SEVIS fee.
  • You will need your passport, valid at least six months passed the intended end of your stay in the United States
  • You will need to make an appointment at your local U.S. Embassy for an interview