When you are admitted as an exchange student, UW-Madison will create an acceptance letter and a DS-2019 “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status” for you. You’ll use these documents to apply for your visa. We will send you instructions on how to apply for the DS-2019 document.
Our university will send your DS-2019, once it’s ready, via University Express Mail Service (eShipGlobal). You will be responsible for the cost of the shipping, but will be able to specify exactly where you want your documents sent.
Check with your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate for more information on how to apply. Additional or different documents might be required depending on where you plan to apply for your J-1 visa.
Approximate visa appointment wait times and processing times can be found online at the U.S. Department of State website. Avoid traveling abroad around the time you expect to be applying for your visa in order to keep the process as simple as possible!
UW-Madison will serve as the sponsor for your J-1 exchange visa. Your UW-Madison study abroad office works with International Student Services (ISS) to help you obtain the necessary visa documents for exchange students. ISS provides some visa application tips on their Pre-Arrival page. Most exchange students apply for and receive their J-1 visa without complications. However, keep in mind that visas are granted at the discretion of individual consular officers, and UW-Madison, your UW-Madison study abroad office, and ISS cannot guarantee you will receive your visa, or assist you in the case of delayed or rejected visa applications. Questions regarding visa processing time or status should be directed back to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you applied.
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What is my SEVIS ID?
Your SEVIS ID begins with the letter “N” and is printed above the bar code on your DS-2019 form.
What is UW-Madison’s J-1 program number?
This number is printed in block 2 of your DS-2019 form.
What should I list as my address?
If you are not sure of your home address in the United States, you can list UW-Madison’s address. This is listed in the “Primary Site of Activity” block on your DS-2019 form. Once you are in Madison, you will need to update your address when you check in with ISS.
Who is the contact person from UW-Madison that I can list on my visa application?
This person is listed in block 7 of your DS-2019 form.
I’m a US citizen. Can I come to UW-Madison on exchange?
Yes. We have a number of US citizens here as exchange students each year. Be sure to provide us with proof of your citizenship (passport ID page scan) when you apply for exchange. The United States government requires US citizens (including dual nationals) to enter the United States on a US passport.
Together, your online and on-site orientation will set you up for success at UW-Madison. We recommend that you watch our online orientation video modules a few weeks prior to your arrival on campus.