Apply for your J-1 Visa

1. Verify ALL information on your DS-2019 (J-1 students and scholars)

  • Your name and date of birth should match the information in your passport. If you find any errors on your DS-2019, contact OIPS immediately.

2. Pay the SEVIS fee of $220 for J-1 students and scholars

  • We strongly recommend that you pay the SEVIS fee online. If you are unable to do so, you may also pay by mailing an I-901 form to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). J dependents are not required to pay the SEVIS fee. For more information go to:

3. Schedule your visa interview

  • Please consult with your local U.S. Consulate to schedule a visa appointment. For a list of U.S. Consulates abroad and visa wait times, visit:

4. Prepare your visa application

5. Visa interview

Bring the following items to your visa appointment:

  • DS-2019
  • Admission letter
  • Proof of financial support
  • Your passport
  • A completed visa application and the payment receipt for both your visa application and SEVIS fees
  • You should also be prepared to provide scores from standardized tests such as TOEFL, SAT, GRE and GMAT
  • Any consulate specific visa application requirements or fee.

Dependents must provide proof of relationship to the primary visa applicant (spouse or child). We recommend that primary visa applicants and their dependents apply for the visa at the same time.

Most visa interviews last approximately 5 minutes. During the visa interview, it is important for you to demonstrate to the officer your plans of study, your “non-immigrant intent,” ties to your home country and your plans to return home after the completion of your program. They may ask you questions such as:

  • Why did you choose George Mason University?
  • What interests you about your program of study?
  • What do you plan to do after you obtain your degree or certificate?
  • What kind of work will you do when you return home?

Remember to be honest and be yourself. First impressions are important!

Most of the time a decision on whether the visa is granted or denied is made during the interview. For some students, a security clearance may be required. Processing times for clearances vary.

Please contact an OIPS advisor if you are subject to a security clearance or if your visa has been denied under 214b (non-immigrant intent).