How to Apply

Before you can apply for a J-1 visa, you must first apply for and be accepted into an exchange visitor program through a designated sponsoring organization. Visit the Department of State J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program website to learn about program requirements, regulations, and more.

When you are accepted into the exchange visitor program you plan to participate in, you will be enrolled in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).  Most J-1 Exchange Visitors must pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee.  After your program sponsor enters your information in the SEVIS system, a SEVIS-generated Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status (Form DS-2019) is provided to you.

All exchange visitors, including their spouses and minor children, must be registered in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Each person receives a separate Form DS-2019.

Visit the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) website to learn more about SEVIS and the SEVIS I-901 Fee.

In addition to the Form DS 2019, participants in the J-1 Trainee and Intern categories require Form DS-7002 (based on Box 7 on Form DS-2019). Learn more about the Trainee and Intern programs.

Before you can apply for student visa, first apply to a SEVP approved school. Visit the Department of Homeland Security Study in the States school search page to search for SEVP-certified schools.

When you are accepted by the U.S. school you plan to attend, you will be enrolled in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The U.S. school will provide you with a Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1/M-1) Student Status-For Academic and Language Students (Form I-20) to present to the consular officer when you attend your visa interview. You must pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee.

If your spouse and/or children intend to reside with you in the United States while you study, they must obtain individual Form I-20s, but they do not pay the SEVIS fee.

Visit the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) website to learn more about SEVIS and the SEVIS I-901 Fee. 

Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the period of your stay in the United States.

  • Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application DS-160. You will be required to upload   a 2 x 2 inches color photo (no glasses, on a white background, not retouched/filtered/airbrushed, and taken within the last 6 months). Your signature is not required on the DS-160. IMPORTANT! After submitting the DS-160 online, please print out the confirmation sheet. Please see our instructional link in Burmese (PDF 166 KB) or English (PDF 94 KB) before filling out the DS-160. If you applied for a NIV before, you cannot reuse that DS-160 application.
  • Additional Questionnaire You must answer EVERY question. Incomplete/incorrect forms will be returned and you will be required to schedule a new interview appointment. If the answer to a question is “none,” please write “none.” Do not leave it blank! If you are a third country national (not a citizen of Burma) applying for a nonimmigrant or immigrant visa, the Additional Form listing family members and occupations is not required.
  • Form I-20 and SEVIS Fee Receipt (Student Only)
  • Form DS-2019 (Exchange Visitor only)
  • Form DS-7002 (J-1 Trainee and Intern only)

Additional documents may be requested  at the time of your interview to establish if you are qualified. For example, additional requested documents may include evidence of your academic preparation, such as:

Student Visa Applicants:

  • Transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates from schools you attended; and
  • Standardized test scores required by your U.S. school;
  • Your intent to depart the United States upon completion of the course of study;
  • How you will pay all educational, living and travel costs (i.e.: bank statements);
  • Your ability to read, write, speak English.

Exchange Visitor Visa Applicants:

  • Form DS-7002 (if participating in J-1 Trainee and Intern categories) or DS-2019 (for other categories of exchanges);
  • The purpose of your trip;
  • Your intent to depart the United States after your trip;
  • Your ability to pay all costs of the trip (i.e.: bank statements);
  • Your ability to read, write, speak English.

To schedule an appointment for a nonimmigrant visa (NIV) interview, please consult the Embassy’s online NIV Appointment System. You will need the barcode number located on your DS-160 Online Non-Immigrant Visa Application. You must bring your appointment confirmation sheet to your appointment. If you do not bring the confirmation sheet, you may not be allowed into the Embassy.

IMPORTANT! If you make changes or edits to your visa application (DS-160) you are required to cancel your appointment and make a new visa appointment using your new DS-160.  The barcode number (upper right-hand corner) from your DS-160 confirmation sheet that you use to make your appointment must match the barcode number that you bring to your visa interview at the Embassy. You cannot reuse the DS-160 that you used to apply for a U.S. visa previously.

If you attempt to show up to your interview with a DS-160 that doesn’t match the one used to make your appointment, you will be turned away and asked to reschedule your appointment.

Please see our instructional link in Burmese (PDF 50 KB) before making an appointment. 

Please note: Your appointment will be canceled if you are more than 30 minutes late without prior notice. Please ensure that you arrive on time. Late arrivals will be asked to reschedule their appointments for another day.

Applicants should not arrive more than 15 minutes prior to their appointment time. Cars are not allowed to enter the Embassy gate area. You will not be allowed to bring large bags, weapons electronics into the waiting room.

All minor applicants aged 17 and younger must be accompanied by a parent/guardian to the interview. The parent/guardian must have a government-issued ID to enter the embassy compound.

Policy for Personal Electronic Device Access to Embassy

Consular section visa applicants are not permitted to bring personal electronic devices (PEDs) or liquids onto the Embassy compound.

PEDs include computers, laptops, radios, cell phones, smart phones, MP3 players, iPads and other tablet devices, handheld gaming devices, smart watches, and wearable electronic fitness devices.

Water fountains are available in the consular section waiting room.

Do you have a valid visa? Are you applying for the same visa?  You may qualify for the Interview Waiver Program. Click here for more information.

Applicants with questions about their interview appointments or applicants with pressing travel needs should direct their inquiries to NIVInquiryRangoon@state.gov.

New Students – F-1 and M-1 student visas can be issued up to 365 days in advance of your course of study start date. However, you will not be allowed to enter the United States on F-1 or M-1 status earlier than 30 days before your start date.

Continuing Students – May renew their visas at any time, as long as they have maintained student status and their SEVIS records are current. Continuing students may enter the United States at any time before their classes start.

Exchange Visitors – Exchange visitors beginning new programs may not enter the United States more than 30 days before their program start date.

On the day of your interview, please present ONLY the following items to Consular staff.:

  • DS-160 confirmation sheet
  • Additional Questionnaire
  • Form I-20 and SEVIS Fee Receipt (students only)
  • Form DS-2019 (exchange only)
  • Form DS-7002 (J-1 Trainee and Intern only)
  • One unfiltered passport photo (2 x 2 inch color photo, no glasses, on a white background, taken within the last 6 months)
  • Valid passport

Applicants with questions about their interview appointments or applicants with pressing travel needs, particularly students, should direct their inquiries to NIVInquiryRangoon@state.gov.

The Consular Office accepts U.S. dollars cash only. Credit cards, personal checks and other currencies are not accepted. 

On the day of your interview appointment, applicants are required to pay the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee). Please see the Department of State website for information on all visa fees.

What to expect during your non-immigrant visa interview:

  1. Show your appointment confirmation sheet and four documents (DS-160 confirmation page, Additional form, One photo, and Passport) to the staff member at the consular entrance gate.
  2. Go through security screening.
  3. Proceed to the consular waiting room and pay the application fee at the cashier counter.
  4. Go to one of the intake counters for document submission.
  5. Proceed to the available interview counter for an interview with a consular officer.

During your visa interview, a consular officer will determine whether you are qualified to receive a visa, and if so, which visa category is appropriate based on your purpose of travel. You will need to establish that you meet the requirements under U.S. law to receive the category of visa for which you are applying.

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.

What is administrative processing?

Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a consular officer. Applicants are advised of this requirement when they apply. Most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of the visa interview. When administrative processing is required, the timing will vary based on the individual circumstances of each case.

My visa was denied.

If your visa has been denied, you may find useful information on Ineligibilities and Waivers.  To learn more about visa denial please see the Department of State website.

The Consular Office accepts U.S. dollars cash only. Credit cards, personal checks and other currencies are not accepted.

If your visa is approved, you may also pay a visa issuance fee also known as the reciprocity fee.  Please see the Myanmar Reciprocity Schedule for any additional fees and validity period.  You will need to select your visa type from the drop down menu.

If your visa is approved, it approximately takes up to one week to process the visa. The status of your case can be monitored online at https://ceac.state.gov/CEAC/. You will need your DS-160 confirmation ID to check your status.