The University of Virginia issues the Certificate of Eligibility for J-1 Status (Form DS-2019) to all international students that will be enrolled as exchange students. The DS-2019 form will be mailed directly to your home institutution to distribute to you. The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program allows you to study as a non-degree student at the University of Virginia. The DS-2019 is required in order to apply for the J-1 visa. All nonimmigrants require a valid visa stamp in their passports before coming to the U.S. under any nonimmigrant status. An exception to this rule exists for citizens of Canada (and Bermuda under limited circumstances), who are visa exempt. All students must make sure that their passports are correctly stamped upon entry with their intended status.
The visa stamp placed in your passport by the US Embassy is used only upon entry into the U.S. Once you have entered the US with the appropriate visa status the visa stamp can expire without consequence to your legal status in the US. The document that determines the length of time that you can stay in the US is the DS-2019 form. Do not mistake the validity of your visa for the duration of approved stay in the U.S.
Visit this link for a list of embassies, consulates and diplomatic missions. Each website will have specific visa application procedures for your area. This State Department website gives information about visa wait times in your area. Note that visa application procedures, appointment times and visa issuance times are subject to change without notice.
Visa application appointments must be scheduled in advance. Allow at least one month to schedule your visa application appointment. In some instances, applications must be scheduled many months in advance. Once you have received your DS-2019 form you can make your visa appointment with the nearest US Embassy or Consulate.
J-1 visa applicants must also demonstrate to the US Embassy or Consulate that they do not plan to reside in the US permanently. Applicants should be prepared to provide any requested documentation that they plan to return to their home country.