Before you arrive

Get your DS-2019 form

Your academic department will request the DS-2019 form from ISSS. Once that document has been issued, ISSS will email an electronic copy to you and your department. When you receive your DS-2019, you should print it and sign it in ink at the bottom of page 1. 

Pay the SEVIS fee

Once you receive your DS-2019, you must pay the $220 SEVIS I-901 fee online at You should print a copy of your receipt for this payment and bring it to your visa interview. 

Apply for the J-1 visa

Complete the DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application and schedule an appointment at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, preferably in the country where you live. ISSS recommends that you apply for a visa as early as possible. You can view wait times for visa appointments online. You will need to bring the following documents to your visa appointment:

  • Passport (valid at least 6 months into the future)
  • Two recent passport photos that meet the photograph requirements
  • Visa application form and fees
  • SEVIS fee payment receipt
  • Your printed DS-2019 form
  • Invitation or offer letter from your academic department
  • Proof of financial support
  • Proof of English proficiency
  • Evidence of ties to your home country
  • For J-1 Student Interns: your DS-7002, signed by an ISSS advisor and your supervisor
  • Any other documents required by the Embassy or Consulate; see their website for details

If you will be bringing dependents in J-2 status, they will need to apply for a J-2 visa. In addition to the documents above, they should provide proof of their relationship to the J-1 Exchange Visitor. 

Plan your travel to the U.S.

You should plan to arrive in the U.S. on or before your program start date on your DS-2019. You cannot arrive more than 30 days before that date. Be sure to carry your passport with your J-1 visa and your printed DS-2019 in your carry-on luggage. You will need to show these documents to enter the U.S.

If your arrival date will be delayed more than two weeks after the start date on your DS-2019, you must contact your academic department and the International Student and Scholar Services office. We will advise you and your department on how to proceed. 

Plan for housing and transportation

The Binghamton University Off Campus College provides resources for finding an apartment in the Binghamton area. The ISSS office is not able to offer assistance in finding housing. Your host department at Binghamton University may be able to provide tips or assistance; you would need to contact them directly.

Most scholars arrive at airports in the New York City area. Binghamton University is approximately 185 miles northeast of NYC. You may want to contact your academic department for tips on traveling to Binghamton University. You can also review our Transportation to Binghamton page for bus information.