UKIC / International Student & Scholar Services / International Faculty & Staff / J-1 Exchange Visitors / J-1 Visiting Student Status

J-1 Visiting Student Status

Government or Faculty Sponsored Students

Visiting students may pursue academic-credit or non-credit bearing coursework as defined by written agreement with a government entity, UK faculty sponsor, or university partner. 

In order to become a visiting student at the University of Kentucky you will need a faculty member or university department to offer you an invitation to come to UK.  The UK faculty member should contact the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) office to begin the process of obtaining the proper DS-2019 form, if applicable. 

Government sponsored students must contact their respective government representatives to gain permission to study at the University of Kentucky. Your application will generally be submitted to the University of Kentucky on your behalf.  In addition, your DS-2019 form may be issued by the University of Kentucky or another organization which your government sponsor uses for this purpose.  Below are common government partners and sponsors of visiting students: 


  • Contact Sponsored Student Advisor Christine Stephens-Bez at

Visiting Student Application Process

STEP 1: Apply and/or Obtain Permission from Sponsor

In order for a visiting student to be eligible to enroll in non-credit bearing coursework and/or participate in practicum experience the sponsor must forward a Letter of Invitation and completed Request Forms (forms linked below) to the ISSS office for review. See Sample Letter of Invitation

Visiting students who wish to enroll in credit-bearing courses leading to the issuance of a U.S. transcript must apply as a non-degree student through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions or the Graduate School.

STEP 2: Obtain a DS-2019

To come to the University of Kentucky as a J-1 visiting student you will need a Form DS-2019 in order to apply for a J-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy. 

The DS-2019 Form (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status) will be issued by the ISSS office and delivered to the faculty sponsor and or your government sponsor unless your government sponsor has already provided the DS-2019 through another means.  
The DS-2019 and other information will either come directly to you from your government sponsor and/or University of Kentucky faculty member. The faculty sponsor will need to complete the J-1 Student Non-degree Application forms in iCAT

Visiting Students may need to provide proof of funding unless there is a financial sponsor such as your government or other organization. Visiting students are not eligible to receive a DS-2109 with personal funding unless there is a written agreement between the University of Kentucky and your institution, organization or university

STEP 3: Pay the SEVIS Fee

Pay your mandatory, one-time SEVIS fee online. Please print out and retain a copy of your SEVIS fee payment receipt. You must present proof of payment of your SEVIS Fee at your J-1 Visa interview. 

Go to for instructions about paying the SEVIS fee.

STEP 4: Apply for a J-1 Visa from a U.S. Embassy/Consulate

Schedule an appointment for a visa interview at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate in your home country. For more information regarding visa application requirements and to schedule an appointment, please contact your local U.S. Embassy 

** Canadian citizens are exempt from Step 4.

STEP 5: Arrange for your Housing (On-campus or Off-campus)

The most important thing to remember is that on-campus housing is not automatically reserved for visiting students. Space is limited, but an early application can help you secure on-campus housing. 

You must apply for on-campus housing by completing an application here. 

The University of Kentucky cannot guarantee on-campus housing as it depends on availability. Housing is generally not available to non-enrolled students in the month of August and September. Students should check with their department or college sponsor to see if on-campus housing is available. Off-campus housing may be required. If required, information about off-campus housing is available at the Office of Off-Campus Student Services website.

STEP 6: Arrival to the U.S.

You may only enter the U.S. with your J-1 Visa and University of Kentucky issued DS-2019 up to (but no earlier) than 30 days* before the start date indicated on your University of Kentucky DS-2019. 

* Transfer Students are not subject to the 30-day arrival limitation.

STEP 7: Prepare for Check-In Workshop with International Students and Scholars

All new University of Kentucky J-1 visiting students are required by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to attend a check-in workshop after their arrival to the U.S.. 

Therefore, you must report to the Office of International Student and Scholar Services at 214 Bradley Hall on the University of Kentucky campus to meet your J-1 student advisor no later than 30 days AFTER the start date listed on your DS-2019 (we recommend within 2-3 days of this start date). 

If you do not attend the check-in workshop it will result in severe consequences for your visa status within the U.S..

STEP 8: Verify Health Coverage

The J-1 advisor is responsible to verify that the visiting student meets or exceeds the health insurance requirements for UK Healthcare policy and Dept. of State requirements. To review the requirements, please refer to the Health Plan page.

J-1 Student Non-Degree Application Instructions