Applying for a Visa (Scholars)

Complete the following steps to apply for a visa at a U.S. consulate

Application Process

On this page:

Before You Begin 

You do not need to apply for a visa if you:

Orange Divider

How to Apply

Steps to apply for a Visa for scholars
Step 1.

Complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-160)

Complete the State Department's  Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-160) which is the first step in making your visa appointment. Read more about the DS-160 application here.

How to apply for a visa online
Step 2.

Make your visa appointment

Go to the link for the embassy or consulate where you will apply for a visa to learn about scheduling a visa appointment, procedures and requirements specific to its location.

Step 3.

Prepare and complete your required documents

Prepare your documents and pay any required fees.

Additional documents if your spouse or children will be applying for a J-2 dependent visa

Additional documents if your spouse or children will be applying for an H-4 / O-3 dependent visa

Additional documents if your spouse or children will be applying for an E-3 dependent visa

Step 4.

Learn what to expect at the visa appointment

Interviews are very short, so it’s important to use the limited time to clearly explain your purpose for going to the United States.

Most nonimmigrant visas (except H-1B and O-1) require you to establish that you are going to the U.S. only for a temporary purpose, and do not intend to stay permanently.

You need to show:

Ink-free, digital fingerprint scans will be taken as part of your application process. They are usually taken during your interview, but this varies based on location.

After your visa interview, the consular officer will let you know if further processing is necessary for your application.

Review the Department of State's (DOS) web information on further administrative processing. If your visa processing is delayed, it is important to notify both your academic department and our office.

Step 5.

Receive and review your entry visa

Interviews are very short, so it’s important to use the limited time to clearly explain your purpose for going to the United States for a temporary time and your plans after you complete your program.

J Scholars and Student Interns: Your original DS-2019 should be returned to you. You will need to have it with you to show when you arrive at a U.S. port of entry.