If possible, maintain communication with embassy officials via personal meetings, phone, email or fax. At the very least, stay updated on the embassy website. If an InterExchange Camp USA representative visits your country, we may attempt to set up an appointment with the embassy while we’re there. Ideally, you should ask the embassy for the following information:
- Documents and paperwork necessary for embassy interviews.
- All fees associated with J-1 Visa processing.
- Timeline for submitting applications and DS-2019 Forms.
- Specific requirements for J-1 Visa acceptance. For example, if an applicant shows documentation of good financial standing or reasons for returning home (strong family ties, university dates, job), his or her visa approval chances are often greatly improved. In some countries, first and last year students will not be granted a visa, even if they are applying as counselors.
- Does the embassy prefer group appointments or individual appointments?
- Is there a cut-off date that applicants must send their applications in by? Is there a set date that applicants must apply for their visas by?
- Does the embassy permit you to submit applicants’ paperwork as a group or only one at a time?
- Provide this information to the applicants in a standard checklist form before they schedule their embassy appointments. Good preparation will help the participants avoid visa denials or repeat visits due to missing paperwork.