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What is a DS-2019?

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The form DS-2019 is the main document used by the State Department and USCIS in processing the exchange visitor program.  The form allows a prospective exchange student to seek an interview at a U.S. consulate in order to obtain a J visa to enter the United States.

The information included in the DS-2019 includes identifying information regarding the exchange visitor and their designated sponsor. It also includes a brief description of the appropriate exchange program.  The DS-2019 lists the start and end date of the exchange, the type of exchange, and the estimated cost of the exchange program.

Read on to learn more about:

  • How the DS-2019 is created
  • Using the DS-2019 Form inside and outside the U.S.
  • The DS-2019 end date and grace period

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How is the DS-2019 Form created?


The DS-2019 can only be produced through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System ("SEVIS").  SEVIS is a database maintained by the Department of Homeland Security to collect background and tracking information on F, M, and J visa holders.

The DS-2019 is issued by the designated sponsor after the sponsor screens and selects the exchange visitor.  Once the visitor receives the executed DS-2019 from the sponsor, they are free to apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate for the actual visa stamp.  The ultimate decision as to whether the visitor receives the J-1 visa rests with the consulate.  So obtaining a DS-2019 is not enough, the consulate has to sign off on the visa itself.

How the DS-2019 is used inside and outside the U.S.

The DS-2019 form is used for identification purposes once the visitor arrives in the U.S. and passes through the inspection process. It can also be used as proof of legal status.

J visitors who are eligible for employment may use this form as part of the hiring process by showing it to their employer.

Outside the U.S., the DS-2019 form is used by potential visitors to apply for a J-1 visa at the consulate or U.S. embassy. It is presented along with the visa upon arrival at the U.S. port of entry. 

Transfer of Programs

To transfer to a new J-1 program, you will need a new DS-2019 form from the new program sponsor. This form must be issued before your current DS-2019 expires. To learn more about the transfer process, contact the Responsible Officer at your current program.

Traveling with the DS-2019 Form

As an exchange visitor, you may have the opportunity to travel outside the United States during your program. It is essential to understand the requirements and considerations for traveling with the DS-2019 Form.

Travel Validation on the DS-2019 Form

Before traveling outside the United States, you must ensure that your DS-2019 Form is valid for travel. This requires obtaining a travel validation signature from your designated sponsor. The travel validation signature confirms your continued participation in the exchange visitor program and is usually valid for multiple entries within a certain period.

Reentry to the U.S. with the DS-2019 Form

When reentering the United States, you will need to present your valid DS-2019 Form along with your passport and visa. The immigration officer will determine your eligibility for entry. It is essential to keep your DS-2019 Form safe and readily accessible during your travel.

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The DS-2019 End Date

The end date on the DS-2019 Form signifies the completion of your exchange visitor program. It is important to adhere to this end date and not overstay your authorized period. Failure to comply with program regulations may have serious consequences, including future visa denials or difficulties in reentering the United States.

Extension of stay

If you wish to extend your stay beyond the end date mentioned on your DS-2019 Form, you will need to work with your designated sponsor to apply for an extension. The extension process involves obtaining a new DS-2019 Form reflecting the revised end date of your program. It is crucial to initiate the extension process in advance to allow enough time for processing.

The 30-Day Grace Period

After completing your exchange visitor program, you may be eligible for a 30-day grace period. This grace period allows you to wrap up your affairs in the United States and make necessary travel arrangements.

During this period, you are allowed to remain in the United States, but you cannot continue your program activities. The grace period provides flexibility for post-program travel or transitioning to another legal status.

Wrap Up

Remember, the DS-2019 Form represents an opportunity for growth, learning, and cultural exchange. Embrace the journey and make the most of the incredible experience that awaits you!

For more information and assistance with your DS-2019 Form and exchange visitor program, feel free to contact Hacking Immigration Law, LLC now.

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