J1 Visa - Application Process
Step by Step to your J-1 Visa for an internship in the US!
In case you are already in contact with a GACC Career Services representative and you have received our confirmation email, please skip Step 1 and continue with Step 2.
Step 1: Registration
Please register for our J1-Visa Program by filling out our registration form and uploading your resume in English.
After 3-5 business days you and your host company should receive a registration confirmation via email, which contains all the necessary information for each party.
Please note that steps 1 and 2 are two individual steps, and we do not accept complete application documents (step 2) if you have not first registered yourself and received a confirmation.
Step 2: Complete and send application forms
Various forms are required from you. Please make sure to know by now which J-1 visa category you have to apply for.
In order to simplify the process, we have created a checklist. Please note that the complete application must be submitted in one to three PDF documents at most.
Your contact person at the GACC will notify you if your application is acceptable, complete and correct. Please note that corrected or missing documents should be submitted as soon as possible so as not to delay the application process.
Important advice for completing the J-1 visa application form can be found here.
Step 3: Complete a short telephone interview and pay GACC fees
Each applicant must complete a short telephone interview. After you sent in your application documents, you will receive an email from your case manager with details for your mandatory telephone interview.
Your English language skills will be evaluated as part of the telephone interview.
Step 4: Confirmation of completed application
Once we have received all completed documents from you and your host company, the mandatory telephone interview has been conducted, and we have received proof of payment for your J-1 visa application fees, your application will be considered complete, and we will begin processing your application. As of this point you should estimate a processing time of up to 6 weeks or 2-5 business days (express service).
Step 5: We will send out the DS-2019 and provide you with your SEVIS Number
After your completed application has been approved, your data has been entered into the SEVIS database, and your SEVIS number has been generated, we will issue your DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility and send it to you via Fedex to the address you provided us. At the same time you will also receive your SEVIS number immediately via email.
Step 6: Complete the application forms for the U.S. Consulate
Please stay informed here regarding what documents you need to complete and submit for your appointment at the U.S. Consulate (in Germany). Please check your home country's U.S. Consulate website.
Step 7: Fill out the form DS-160 for the U.S. Consulate
Please fill out the form DS-160 for your appointment at the U.S. Consulate and print out the confirmation page at the end.
On the following you will find a video from the US Consulate in London on how to fill in the DS-160. Please note the location specific instructions and apply it to your location!
Step 8: Pay the U.S. Consulate and SEVIS fees
In addition to the GACC fees, you will need to pay some additional fees for your J-1 visa.
Please pay the following fees:
Step 9: Make an appointment at the U.S. Consulate
After you have paid the SEVIS and the U.S. Consulate fees you will be able to schedule an appointment at a U.S. Consulate located in your home country.
Step 10: Submit your application on your appointment day
On the day of your appointment, the documents needed for your visa application at the U.S. Consulate include:
- DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility
- Form DS-7002 (training plan)
- Confirmation page of the online application form DS-160
- Proof of payment of the U.S. Consulate fee
- Proof of payment of the SEVIS fee
- passport photo
Step 11: Receive your passport and visa by mail
After your visa appointment at the U.S. Consulate, it should take about 5-7 business days to receive your passport back with your J-1 visa, the DS-2019 and the DS-7002.
Please check the information on your J-1 visa, whether everything is correct. The end date of your J-1 visa is the same as the end of your exchange program (same end date as on the DS-2019). After the end date of your exchange program, you are allowed to travel in the US for 30 days (Grace Period), but you will no longer be in J-1 visa status. See here for more information: https://j1visa.state.gov/participants/current/adjustments-and-extensions/
Step 12: Entry into the USA
After your arrival in the U.S., you should send us your check-in form with your U.S. address and scans of your J-1 visa, DS-2019 form and an online printout of your I-94 number via email.
You may enter the United States no earlier than 30 days before the start your internship/training. Your visa will be activated upon entry into the United States. As a visa-holder, you do not need ESTA registration. Please show your DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility and your passport with the J-1 visa to the immigration officer. The officer will ask you briefly about your internship/training, will record your fingerprints, and will take a photograph of you. Important: The officer will neither keep your passport including your J-1 visa nor the DS-2019. Please take these documents with you when you leave the port-of-entry. As stated, after your arrival, you should send us your check-in form as soon as possible with your address and scans of your J-1 visa, your DS-2019 and an online printout of your I-94 number via email. You can print out your I-94 Number here. You will find the check-in form in the Candidate Letter as well as in our download section.
IMPORTANT: Your current U.S. home address must be kept up-to-date, so please inform us if you are moving during the course of your stay in the U.S.
Welcome to the USA!
Step 13: Evaluation of the J-1 Program
J-1 visa participants and their immediate supervisors must evaluate their J-1 program.
If the duration of your program is less than 4 months, you and your supervisor only need to fill out a final evaluation form at the end of your program. If the duration of your program is more than 4 months, you and your supervisor will need to fill out a midterm evaluation form at the mid point of your program and a final evaluation form at the completion of your program.
Please forward the supervisor evaluation forms to your immediate supervisor and send both forms back to the GACC via e-Mail. Please do not fax your evaluation forms.
The evaluation forms are important feedback for us, and they are required by the U.S. Department of State. Failure to submit the forms will result in an uncompleted J-1 visa program.
Step 14: Tax Return
All J-1 exchange visitors are required to file certain information with the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by April 15 of the following year.
The necessary forms depend on the specific circumstances of your work in the U.S.
- If you worked in the U.S. during a tax year but were not paid from a U.S. source (i.e. you were paid from the company in your home country or not paid at all), you will not have to file a tax return.
- However, you should still file form 8843 to exclude your days of presence in the U.S. during your program.
- All tax forms for current tax filing are available online at http://www.irs.gov.
Failure to file could restrict your entry to the U.S. in the future, and you may miss out on claiming any refund that may be owed to you.
Because tax documents can be complicated, we recommend that you consult a professional tax preparer.
While the GACC cannot offer such professional services, we are happy to announce that we have recently partnered with Taxback.com, a European-based company offering global tax return filing and refund services. Taxback.com will be able to provide assistance with identifying and completing the necessary forms you will have to file. For more information, please contact Jessica von Tresckow (jvtresckow(at)gaccny.com). When filing your taxes, be sure to have your W-2 earnings statement ready. If you have not yet received your W-2 statement from your U.S. host company, please contact them immediately to ensure that they have current address information for you.