J-1 Sponsorship Process

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 a J-1 applicant to participate in a J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, the sponsoring MUSC department will submit a new sponsorship request to the Center for Global Health. The Center for Global Health will then collect certain information from the J-1 applicant and the sponsoring MUSC department as part of the MUSC J-1 sponsorship application.

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 original Form DS-2019 will be shipped directly to the J-1 applicant along with a packet of instructions about J-1 status and the next steps in the process.

After the Form DS-2019 has been issued, applicants outside of the US must apply for a J-1 visa at a US embassy or consulate abroad. If the visa application is approved, the Exchange Visitor will receive a visa foil stamp in his/her passport. The Exchange Visitor can then travel to the United States and request entry in J-1 status at a port-of-entry.

Applicants who are currently inside of the US in another nonimmigrant status may be able to apply for a change of status to J-1 once the initial Form DS-2019 has been issued. However, the change of status to J-1 process typically takes an extremely long time (8-10 months) and can come with other complications. Therefore, this method of obtaining J-1 status is typically not recommended. J-1 applicants who are currently in the US are typically advised to travel abroad and apply for a J-1 visa, and then request re-entry into the US in J-1 status.