Prospective Exchange Visitors currently in the U.S. on another visa type (e.g. F-1) may apply for a change of status to J-1. The first step would be to request a DS-2019 from the DGSOM Visa and Licensing Office.

Once the Exchange Visitor receives the DS-2019 form, they will need to complete one of the options below to change their visa status to J-1:

  • Leave the U.S., apply for the J-1 visa stamp at the U.S. embassy, and re-enter the U.S. to begin the Exchange Visitor (J-1) Program (recommended).
  • If Exchange Visitor is unable to leave the U.S., they can apply for a change of status by submitting an I-539 Application to U.S. Customs & Immigration Services (USCIS). It could take several months to receive the approval of the change of status to J-1 from USCIS. Applicants have experienced wait times of up to 6 months. The approval notice does not come with a J-1 visa stamp. The Exchange Visitor will need to apply for the J-1 visa stamp at a U.S. Embassy if they make plans to travel outside the U.S. after receiving the approval notice from USCIS. Please note, the DGSOM Visa and Licensing Office does not assist with the I-539 application. Consultation with an immigration attorney is recommended if assistance is needed.