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J-1 Visa - Visiting Students & Scholars

We are excited that you have chosen Morehead State University to engage in our Exchange Visitor Program. We are here to assist you with the process of obtaining your visitor’s visa and to help you to have a positive experience in the United States and at Morehead State University during your temporary stay at MSU.

  • Step 1: Please check your DS-2019 document to make sure there are no errors on your form. If you find any errors, do not make corrections to the form, but notify the Office of International Student Services (ISS)  immediately. 
  • Step 2: You will need to pay the SEVIS fees of $220. Please go to for general information & FAQ’s about the SEVIS Fee. You can pay the fee online at After you have paid your fees and have secured an appointment time with the nearest American embassy or consulate office, you will need to take the following documents with you for your interview for the J-1 visa: Your DS-2019 form, your passport, financial documentation, offer letter and form 1-901 receipt (payment for SEVIS fees) You may need to take other supporting documents to your interview, so make sure you obtain the most current information on the materials you need to take to your interview. 
  • Step 3: You should not attempt to enter the United States on your new J-1 visa more than 30 days before the start date listed on your DS-2019 form. Upon arrival in the United States, you will be required to show your passport (with visa) and the original signed DS-2019 form at the port of entry to the immigration officer. You may also be asked to show proof of financial support. Upon arrival at MSU, you must check in with the Office of ISS to validate your arrival on MSU’s campus.

All accompanying family members from abroad must apply for a J-2 visa at the American consulate or embassy. Family members are eligible for J-2 visa status if they are a spouse or a child under 21 years of age. Proof of marriage or birth certificate along with verification of proof of finances (but no SEVIS fee) may be required when applying for the J-2 visa.

If you are unable to obtain a visa or for any other reason are unable to participate in the Exchange Visitor Program at MSU, please return the DS-2019 to the Office of ISS. If your plans have changed and your arrival date is later than the start date listed on your DS-2019 form, please notify the Office of ISS so that an amendment may be made to your SEVIS record and a new form may be sent to you. Under no circumstances should you try to enter the US after your DS-2019 has expired even if you have a valid J-1 visa in your passport.

Your purpose for being in the United States is to carry out specific functions as indicated in your DS-2019 form. You are not eligible to change the purpose of your visit or the category once you have entered the US on your current DS-2019 form.

The purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program is to provide foreign nationals the ability to take part in educational and cultural exchange programs in the United States. Exchange Visitors are granted a J Visa, which is a non-immigrant visa. As such, the intent of the Exchange Visitor program is that participants return home after participation to share their experiences and broaden cultural exchange. In accordance with this purpose, certain exchange visitors are subject to the home country's physical presence requirement. The purpose of this requirement is so that the home country may benefit from the exchange visitor’s experience in the United States. This requirement makes sure that the exchange visitor spends at least two years in his/her home country before returning to the US for another engagement. 

A J-1 exchange visitor and their dependents who are subject to the home residency requirement (HRR) rule may not change their status to any other visa status in the U.S. unless they have been approved for a waiver of the two-year home residency requirement rule. Morehead State University cannot assist in obtaining this waiver. 

If you need to have your DS-2019 form amended or if you need an extension to your original J-1 status, please see the ISS director at least one week before the end date on the current DS-2019.

Federal regulations require all J-1 exchange visitors to carry health insurance for themselves and any family members for the entire period of their stay in the US. The government has specified that the minimum coverage must include:

  • $50,000 per accident or illness.
  • $7,500 for repatriation of remains
  • $10,000 for medical evacuation to home country.
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness
  • Co-insurance is not to exceed 24% payable by the exchange visitor or sponsor.

Exchange visitors who have not already purchased their own insurance before arriving at Morehead State University should have the funds available to purchase it for themselves and their dependents no later than the day they arrive on campus.

The Exchange visitor or their dependent who willfully fails to maintain the required level of insurance coverage outlined in the J-1 regulations will be in violation of the regulations and will be subject to termination as a participant in the exchange program at MSU.

In the U.S., certain kinds of elective medical care, such as glasses or dentistry are not ordinarily covered by insurance and are very expensive. It is best to take care of these needs before leaving your country.

Upon your arrival on campus, please report to the Office of International Student Services (located at Suite 239, Adron Doran University Center, Morehead, KY 40351). At this time you will be registered in SEVIS and be presented with an arrival packet containing maps and other general information about Morehead State University and the Morehead community. Please check in at the front desk upon arrival and present him/her with your entire immigration documents (passport, DS-2019, I-94 card and a copy of your health insurance card if you have one). Your original documents will be returned to you. Our office hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Please make travel arrangements to arrive at Bluegrass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky. If you desire to be picked up at the airport, please let the Office of International Student Services know at least one week before your arrival.

Morehead’s climate can be severe in the winter and quite warm in the summer. There could be many winter days with temperatures below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit/0 degrees Celsius) and many summer days with temperatures above 90 degrees (Fahrenheit).

If you plan on briefly traveling outside of the US after your arrival and returning to the US in J-1 status, your DS-2019 must be signed by the responsible officer or the alternate responsible officer, in the Office of ISS. You must also make sure that you have an unexpired J-1 visa in your passport. If these two conditions are not met, you may not be allowed to re-enter the US. If your visa has expired and you will be re-entering the US, please contact the Office of ISS so that a new DS-2019 may be issued. You will need to apply for a new J-1 visa at the US consulate, usually in your home country, with the DS-2019 and updated financial and other documents.

J-1 scholars are allowed a 30-day grace period to remain in the US after the end date indicated on the DS-2019. You may use this time to get ready to depart from the US and may also travel within the US during this time. 

Best wishes in securing your J-1 visa. We look forward to meeting you and helping you have a fantastic experience at Morehead State University. Please email or call us anytime if you have any questions or difficulties. Our office number is 606-783-2096.