Visa and Immigration Process

Most incoming exchange students will need to apply for a J-1 exchange visa in order to study at NC State. In order to apply for a J-1 visa, students will need a DS-2019. DS-2019s will be included in acceptance packets sent out by the Study Abroad Office. It is then the student’s responsibility to apply to a U.S. Consulate or Embassy for a visa.

At NC State, DS-2019s are issued by the Office of International Services. This office handles all immigration matters.

See Instructions for J-1 Visa Applications 

Students may find more information regarding J-1 requirements from the Office of International Services. However, some general information about the visa and immigration process is below:

  • Students must have a visa prior to arriving in the U.S.
  • Students should pay close attention to the start and end dates on their DS-2019, as these are the program dates. Students may arrive 30 days before and remain 30 days after these dates. Special care should be taken to  enter the United States by the program start date as immigration officials may deny entry  to the U.S. after this date. Note: The start date is the first day of classes and the end date is the day of graduation. See the university’s academic calendar for the appropriate semester’s dates. 
  • After students receive their DS-2019, they will have to pay the SEVIS fee ($180) before they can obtain their visa.
  • Students may need to provide a U.S. address when applying for a visa. In this case, students can use the address for the Study Abroad Office:North Carolina State University
    Study Abroad Office
    2751 Cates Avenue
    315 University College Commons
    Raleigh, NC 27695

When you are traveling to the United States, you must also bring the following documents (Important for Customs):

  • Valid passport (valid for at least six months after your return date) with a valid J-1 visa stamp
  • J-1 Visa DS-2019
  • SEVIS payment receipt
  • Copies of funding documentation
  • NC State Acceptance letter

Once students arrive in the United States, they will need to print their I-94 card. Students should make sure to print out several copies, as they will need to provide a copy to the Office of International Services during orientation.

For any problems encountered at Customs, please call the Office of International Services at 919-515-2961. They are open Monday through Friday between 8 AM and 5 PM.

If emergency assistance is needed, students can call Campus Police at 919-513-3000 and should identify themselves as an international student. Students will then be put in touch with an OIS advisor. This number should only be used in case of emergency.

During orientation, an important meeting will be scheduled with the Office of International Services. All students must attend this check-in to maintain their visa status.

Upon arrival, students  must be sure to take measures to maintain their visa status. If students have any questions in regard to their visa status, they should contact the Office of International Services or visit their office in 320 Daniels Hall.

To Maintain Visa Status:

  1. Ensure DS-2019 and passport are valid and unexpired.
  2. Report address changes (local and permanent) in MyPack Portal. For local address updates, students should be sure to select “SEVIS Local” address.
  3. Be a full-time student except during eligible vacation period.
  4. Make good academic progress by maintaining a full-time course load (9 hours for graduate students; 12 hours for undergraduate students).
  5. Refrain from working off-campus unless first authorized by the Office of International Services.
  6. Work less than 20 hours a week on campus while school is in session. J-1 students require written authorization from the Office of International Services for on-campus employment.
  7. If students plan to leave or re-enter the United States during their semester or year at NC State, they must have DS-2019 signed by an advisor in the Office of International Services (not the Study Abroad Office) before leaving the country.
  8. Review the Office of International Services website for important updates AND read all messages sent to you by their office and by the Study Abroad Office.

Have a question about visas or immigration?

Visit the Office of International Services