Cordell Hull Foundation J-1 VISA RENEWAL PROCESS

If your continued participation in our J-1 exchange teacher visitor program for the next school year has been approved, you must obtain an updated DS-2019 form after your school has provided the information requested by CHF.

Read the back side of your renewal DS-2019 form, then sign and date where required in the bottom portion on the front side. If you do not leave the U.S., you do not have to renew the J-1 visa in your passport.  The renewal DS-2019 form will keep you in J-1 status.  After completing the bottom line, fold and staple it inside your passport. Keep all previous DS-2019 forms folded and stapled in your passport, in such a way that the U.S. Immigration Officer may read them without unstapling from your passport. If the officer tells you to unstaple them, be sure to re-staple them back inside later.

If you are planning to leave the United States, first check the valid dates of the J-1 visa stamp in your passport. If the J-1 visa is expiring, you must return to an American Embassy in the country you visit to update your J-1 visa stamp.

  • You need an updated J-1 visa stamp to RE-ENTER the United States.
  • You do not need an updated visa stamp to REMAIN IN J-1 VISA STATUS if you do not leave the U.S.
  • If you are staying in the U.S. and will not be trying to re-enter the US, all you need to remain in status is:

  • A renewal DS-2019 form with travel validation signature good for the upcoming year.
  • CHF’s validation of your program in the online SEVIS database for one additional year, at minimum.
  • The Exchange Visitor Program was designed to give foreign nationals an opportunity to discover American culture. Living and working in a country is the best way to learn about and adapt to a foreign culture and hone your language skills if you are not a native speaker of English. Traveling in the country is the second-best way. During the summer, we advise you to travel around the US, which has a wealth of interesting cities and places to visit. Rather than return to your home country, where you have lived all your life and can easily visit again after spending 1-3 years in the United States. After you return to your home country, travel to the U.S. will be more difficult, expensive and time-consuming.

    If you do decide to plan international travel before or during J-1 passport visa expiration, begin the process of J-1 visa renewal by reading the instructions in the non-immigrant visa section of the American Embassy website in the target country: http://usembassy.state.gov/ Be sure to double-check the website again just prior to gathering your paperwork. Visa application rules change frequently and without notice.

    You will have to pay an entrance fee to a bank in advance of approximately $131. Check the website for instructions as to cost and method of payment. In order to gain entrance to the Embassy, you must show the original receipt for having paid this fee. You do NOT pay the SEVIS fee again. It is only a one-time fee.

    The following additional U.S. Embassy documents must be completed for your application: DS-156 (including one passport photo), DS-158, plus DS-157 for men between the ages of 16-45. Be sure to include all required documents and answer every question on the application forms. List a home address and telephone no. in your home country on these forms. One requirement of a J-1 non-immigrant visa is to have a residence abroad. Make sure your application is complete. If not, your visa may be denied.

    To obtain a J-1 visa stamp in your passport, most embassies require you to present in person:

    (1) this letter, (2) the renewal DS-2019 form that you have signed and dated,

    (3) two passport photos meeting the strict requirements described on the website, for the visa and DS-2019 form,

    (4) your passport, valid for 6 months beyond the expiration date in Section 3 on your DS-2019 form,

    (5) completed and signed Forms DS-156 and DS-158, and

    (6) Original bank receipt for having paid the visa application fee.

    Male applicants between the ages of 16 and 45 must also complete Form DS-157.

    DS-160 (NEW): Coming Soon. The new DS-160 Online, Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, will eventually replace current nonimmigrant application forms DS-156, 157, 158. The roll-out of the new DS-160 will be gradual. Therefore, not all U.S. Embassies and Consulates will be required to use the form at the same time.

    When you re-enter the US, you must have the DS-2019 form. If not, you may be denied entry. You will receive a small white I-94 card on the airplane. Before leaving the immigration inspector, check to make sure the I-94 card is marked "D/S" next to "UNTIL" (no expiration date) and that J-1 is your visa classification. Staple the white I-94 card inside your passport and also the DS-2019 form after presenting it to the inspector. If you are photographed and fingerprinted upon entry to the U.S., do not be alarmed. It is a routine procedure.