Whether you are a student, a visiting researcher, or a faculty member, this page provides J-1 Exchange Visitors with valuable information about your rights and responsibilities, how to maintain your non-immigration status, and resources to help you get settled in our campus and San Antonio.
On this page:
J-1 Pre-Arrival Checklist
Before arriving in the United States, you must:
- Verify that all the information on your DS-2019 is correct. Note the program’s begin date and notify ISSS immediately if your travel plans change.
- Pay the SEVIS FEE online at least three business days before your visa interview and print out the receipt.
- Apply for a J-1 Visa at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy nearest to your home residence by submitting the DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form.
- Schedule your mandatory J-1 Scholar Orientation with ISSS within ten days from the start date on the Form DS-2019.
- Arrange for transportation from the San Antonio airport to your hotel or apartment.
- Purchase or make plans for required medical insurance coverage. The U.S. Department of State requires all individuals who enter the United States in J-1 status to have medical insurance for themselves and any accompanying J-2 dependents.
Trinity University partners with the Texas International Education Consortium (TIEC) to manage the J-1 program. TIEC will provide you with the DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, needed to apply for the J-1 visa.
A prospective J exchange visitor should present the following to the U.S. consulate to apply for a J visa:
- Form DS-2019
- Proof of having paid the SEVIS fee
- Trinity appointment letter
- Documentation evidencing financial ability to meet expenses
- Evidence of English ability sufficient for exchange program
- Evidence of residence abroad and intent to depart the U.S. after completion of the program
- Form DS-160, online nonimmigrant visa application confirmation page
- Proof of having paid the Machine Readable Visa (MRV) fee
- Visa reciprocity fee (if applicable)
Travel to the U.S.
Once your visa is granted, you may enter the United States up to 30 days prior to the start date on your Form DS 2019. At the U.S. port of entry, you will be asked to present:
- your DS 2019, passport, and J-1 Visa
- SEVIS I-901 Fee payment receipt
- J-2 passport(s) and DS-2019(s), if applicable
In addition to your immigration related documents, we recommend you have available the following documentation:
- Financial documentation
- Appointment letter
- Birth certificates for yourself and each J-2 dependent
- Marriage certificate, if you are married
J-1 exchange visitors and their J-2 dependents are admitted to the United States by the Department of Homeland Security for "duration of status" (D/S). Your passport should be stamped with the date of entry and “J-1 D/S”. After arrival, you should also print out your I-94 Record. This is the proof of your J-1 status in the United States.
J-1 Orientation and Arrival Checklist
You are required to attend orientation within 10 days of the start date on the Form DS 2019. TIEC must register your arrival in SEVIS within 30 days of the start date of your DS-2019 in order for you to remain legally in the United States. You must attend a J-1 orientation to be registered.
Topics covered in orientation:
- Regulations governing J-1 visa status
- Medical and evacuation/repatriation insurance, and University Health Services
- The U.S. Social Security Number and obtaining a driver license
- Intercultural programs, Trinity and the San Antonio Community
- Services provided by ISSS
- TIEC Arrival Verification Form
Resources and Information
Exchange Visitor Program Welcome Brochure
The U.S. Department of State has developed a welcome brochure to introduce you to the Exchange Visitor Program.
(Rights and Protections for Temporary Workers)
If you will be working in the United States during your exchange visitor program, please take time to read the pamphlet for temporary workers.
You can find a pamphlet that outlines your rights in detail as well as versions in several languages on the U.S. Department of State website.
Mandatory Health Insurance
The Department of State requires all participants of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program to have and maintain health insurance which covers the exchange visitor and all accompanying family members for the entire duration of their DS-2019, even if the dependents (J-2) are arriving in the U.S. at a later date of the principal (J1).
Please note that this requirement holds even if you or your family members are temporarily abroad. Proof of health insurance for J-1 andJ-2s must be provided at the ISSS check-in appointment. The health insurance plan must cover all participants for accidents, sickness, medical evacuation, and repatriation.
If you decide to obtain the Trinity’s health insurance plan, it is important to verify that it meets the coverage stipulated above. If you decide to obtain a health insurance plan outside Trinity, you may review the list of member providers of the National Association of International Educators. The ISSS doesn’t not endorse the providers in the list. You should carefully examine these services.
Note: ISSS does not have the expertise to evaluate individual insurance policies. The Exchange Visitor must check with their insurance provider to verify that the policy meets the minimum insurance requirements set by the U.S. Department of State. Proof of insurance must be presented at orientation in order to comply with J-1 immigration regulations.
Regulations currently require the following:
- Major Medical Coverage: $100,000
- Medical Evacuation: $50,000
- Repatriation of Remains: $25,000
- Max Deductible per Accident/Illness: $500
Generally, Visiting Professors are eligible to come to Trinity University in J-1 status. To be admitted in J-1 status, the individual must obtain a Form DS-2019 from Trinity and use it to apply for a J-1 Visa at a U.S. Consulate in their home country. To request a DS-2019, the Department should complete the J-1 Scholar Request Form (PDF) and submit it to ISSS with the required attachments listed on the form.