Documents needed to enter the U.S. include the following:

Valid Passport

Your passport must be valid on entry into the U.S. Your passport must have at least one blank page and it should be valid for six months beyond the period of intended stay in the U.S. Some countries are exempt from this six month rule.

If you are currently living/ studying in a country in which you need an entry clearance visa, study permit, leave to remain or a residency permit to re-enter that country (e.g., Chinese citizen studying in the UK), you must ensure that the document will allow multiple entries and be valid upon return to that country.

DS-2019 Form

(Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status)

This personalized form is created in SEVIS based on your application information and issued by GEC. The DS-2019 Form is required for you to apply for the J-1 Visa. The DS-2019 Form contains information that identifies your program sponsor, describes the program purpose and states the exact start and end dates that you are allowed to work in the U.S. The DS-2019 Form dates are the only valid dates of your U.S. program regardless of any date on your U.S. J-1 visa stamp.

Please note that you are only allowed to work during your official summer vacation dates as determined by your university and in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State’s Program Dates by Country list. You are not allowed to miss any classes or exams either before or after your summer vacation begins or ends.

The DS-2019 Form lists your individual DS-2019 or SEVIS number (N001…) which you will need when validating your program once you arrive in the U.S.

You must report to and are only authorized to work with the vetted and approved Host Company listed on the DS-2019 Form.

Please verify that all of your information is correct on the DS-2019.

Confirmation Receipt of SEVIS fee payment (I-901 Receipt)

GEC will complete the required SEVIS fee form on your behalf as part of your paperwork process and will pay the fee to DHS from your paid program fees. While the U.S. Embassy or Consulate should be able to electronically verify your payment, it is recommended that applicants bring a receipt showing proof of payment of the SEVIS fee to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate when applying for the J-1 visa.

The receipt can be obtained according to the following instructions:

  • Go to
  • Choose ‘Check I-901 Status/Print Payment Confirmation’
  • Enter your SEVIS Id number, found on your DS-2019 Form (N001…)
  • Enter your last name as printed on your DS-2019 Form
  • Enter your Date of Birth as printed on your DS-2019 Form (MM/DD/YYYY)
  • Click ‘Check I-901 Status/Print Payment Confirmation’
  • Your record will be displayed. Click ‘View’ and then ‘Print Payment Confirmation’

Having the receipt on hand proves the payment was processed correctly and speeds up the verification process at the Embassy/Consulate. The SEVIS fee (currently $35 for a J-1 Summer Work Travel program) is nonrefundable even if your visa is refused or you cancel from the program. The SEVIS fee amount is subject to change per the U.S. State Department’s decision.

GEC Work Agreement

This document is an agreement between you, your Host Company, and your visa sponsor. It states information specific to your work opportunity and is signed by your Host Company representative, your J-1 visa sponsor, and you. You will take this document with you to your Embassy appointment to show proof that you have been offered a valid work opportunity.

Carefully review the Work Agreement to ensure that you agree with the number of work hours, the pay rate, the job description, and the pre-arranged housing/ transportation (if applicable). By signing this agreement, you agree to complete the terms and conditions of your program. You are not entering the U.S. on a tourist visa (B2.) You are expected to work and to comply with the terms of your program and Work Agreement.

Please note: You are required to report to the work opportunity listed on the GEC Work Agreement form by the start date listed on your DS-2019 Form. This work opportunity has been carefully screened and vetted based on the regulations of the U.S. Department of State. You CANNOT accept any other work opportunity during the period of your sponsorship without prior written approval from GEC. Additional work opportunities (including second jobs) require a vetting process from GEC with a newly executed Work Agreement(s) and an updated DS-2019 Form.

You are required to return home upon the completion of your program, and you are not allowed to stay in the U.S. to obtain work after the end date on your DS-2019 Form. Your Work Agreement dates cannot be extended for any reason once you have arrived in the U.S. to begin your program.

Evidence of Personal Funds

As stated above in the Transparency of Program Fees, it is your responsibility to bring enough personal funds with you to the U.S. in order to pay for your housing deposits, rent, food and other expenses.

You are required to bring at least $1000 USD (as printed on your DS-2019 Form) with you to the U.S. to provide necessary funds for you to establish your housing arrangements, transportation, etc. as it may take a few weeks before you receive any income. You are required to complete a Financial Support Confirmation form, and GEC reserves the right to request evidence of sufficient personal funds before processing your application. You may also be asked to show proof of available funds to an Embassy/Consulate official and Customs and Border Patrol Officer if asked.