J-1 Sponsorship Process

The J-1 sponsorship process is complex and involves several stages, systems and government agencies. Advanced planning is critical with all new J-1 Exchange Visitor Programs. 

In general, there are three main phases of the J-1 sponsorship process for new Exchange Visitor Programs:

  1. MUSC J-1 sponsorship application
  2. J-1 visa application at US embassy/consulate abroad
  3. Travel to the US

After an MUSC department invites an applicant to participate in a J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, the sponsoring MUSC department will submit a new J-1 sponsorship request to the MUSC Center for Global Health. All new J-1 sponsorship requests must be submitted at least 3 months in advance of the target program start date. However, if the applicant is from a country where visa appointment wait times or visa processing times are long, the new sponsorship request may need to be submitted several months in advance.

During the MUSC J-1 sponsorship application, the Center for Global Health (CGH) will collect documents and information from the J-1 applicant and the sponsoring MUSC department. If the J-1 sponsorship application is approved, CGH will issue Form DS-2019, the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status. The Form DS-2019 will be sent directly to the J-1 applicant along with a packet of information about J-1 status and instructions on the next steps in the process.

After the Form DS-2019 has been issued, exchange visitor applicants outside of the United States must apply for a J-1 visa at a US embassy or consulate. If the visa application is approved, the exchange visitor will receive a J-1 visa foil stamp in his/her passport. Once the exchange visitor has received his/her passport with the J-1 visa, the exchange visitor can then make arrangements to travel to the United States. New exchange visitors with valid J-1 passport visas can travel to the US up to 30 days in advance of the J-1 program start date on Form DS-2019.

Please note that MUSC cannot guarantee that an exchange visitor applicant will be approved for a J-1 visa or will be admitted into the United States in J-1 status. Visa issuance is at the sole discretion of the US Department of State. Admission into the United States is at the sole discretion of the US Department of Homeland Security.

Refer to the sub-pages in the side bar for more information on the phases of the new J-1 sponsorship process.