Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How to apply for your J1 Visa

In order to work legally at a summer camp in the USA, you will need to apply for a J1-Camp Counsellor Visa. Below are the steps you need to follow to apply for this visa.

Visa Interviews are by appointment only. Appointments are available most weekdays.  All U.S. Consulates in South Africa are closed on South African and US holidays.  The Consulates General in Cape Town and Durban are in closed to the public every Friday.  The Consulate General in Johannesburg is closed the last Friday of every month to the public. Detailed instructions on making an appointment are on the website: http://southafrica.usvisa-info.com.

Step 1:  Complete the online application form - DS-160 
Complete this form in online at https://ceac.state.gov/GENNIV/

Take your time and fill this in carefully, it takes about 90 minutes.  You MUST save your application after every page as it “times out” quickly, to do this click the ‘save’ button.  Identify a place on your computer where you would like to save the application file.   

You can only open your application by going through the US embassy website and doing the following:
1.       Click on the link  https://ceac.state.gov/GENNIV/common/Import.aspx
2.       Go to the home page and select START APPLICATION
3.       Select  YOUR CITY under location
5.       Go to File path and browse for you file.
6.       Answer 2 security questions
7.       Select UPLOAD DATA.
8.       Your application will then be opened.
9.       Once you have completed a FULL application you will have to enter your passport number again and print a confirmation page.
Also take note of your application ID, as you can use this to retrieve your application

Upon completion you need to print out the bar-code confirmation page for your DS 160 on-line application. You will need this barcode number to schedule the appointment and this page must be produced at the Consulate on the day of your interview.

Step 2:- Pay the non-refundable visa fee in CASH
After completing the DS-160 application form, you will need to contact the call centre on toll-free at 080-098-0444 (Johannesburg 010-500-8800 /Durban 021-100-3000) or internet http://southafrica.usvisa-info.com to obtain a deposit slip for cash payment for an ABSA bank, which you will receive by email for you to print out. 
1.       Log onto http://southafrica.usvisa-info.com and create an log in account for yourself
2.       You will need the following information: passport number, DS160 confirmation number, SEVIS number
3.       Click on “Schedule an Appointment”
4.       You are applying for a Non-Immigrant visa (Exchange visa J1)
5.       Selected your consulate you will be applying at i.e. Johannesburg
6.       Select your DHL office closes to you
7.       Download the PDF deposit slip
             a.       This is a unique MRV Fee Receipt Number
                      b.       They expire if not used in the allocated time frame

8.       Complete the ABSA deposit slip, make the cash payment of R1008, for month of April. 

 Step 3:- Making your appointment at the US consulate
Wait up to four hours after making the deposit to ensure the payment has been posted, and then re-contact the call centre/website with the deposit receipt number, which is necessary to schedule an appointment.
1.       Log onto http://southafrica.usvisa-info.com and log into your account
2.       Enter your MRV fee receipt number
3.       Schedule your appointment date

You will then receive an appointment confirmation letter by e-mail.

Step 4:- Have your photo taken
1.       The size of the photo, including background, must be 2 inches square (roughly 51 mm square)
2.       The photo, full face and, taken within the last 6 months.
3.       The applicant must be facing the camera, looking straight on, with the face covering approximately 50% of the area of the photo.
4.       The entire Face of the applicant must be shown. From the crown of the head to the tip of the chin, and from hairline side to side, with the ears exposed.
5.       Photos should be in colour.

Step 5:- Take the required documents to your interview
1.       Valid Passport
2.       Any Previous Passports (take with you to your appointment)and supporting documentation on prior visas
3.       Your confirmation page from the DS-160 on-line application.
4.       Your appointment confirmation letter from the Visa Information Service Centre
5.       A recent front-facing, 50 mm x 50 mm photograph of each applicant. 
6.       DS2019 form (Official paperwork from CCUSA)
7.       Exchange visitors must pay a SEVIS fee of $35. CCUSA and your camp pay this fee. The confirmation sheet will be put with the documents you drop off.

Step 6:- Recommended supporting documents (very NB!)
1.       Proof of intent to return- letter/proof of registration from the university or college you are planning on studying at, a letter of employment, proof of bank account, investments, ownership of car, house etc.
Applicants should be prepared to demonstrate their strong social, economic and/or family ties to South Africa as well as their purpose and duration of travel.
2.       Camp Placement Letter or Social Security Letter (printed from Footprints)
3.       Tentative travel Itinerary                                   

Step 7:- Courier: Passport delivery after a successful visa interview
Successful applicants may choose from the following three options:
1.       Free delivery to the DHL office that you have pre-selected, where you will pick it up after 3-5 business days.
2.       Pay $12 (in Rand equivalent) for standard home/office delivery, which usually takes 3-5 business days.
3.       Pay $40 (in Rand equivalent) for expedited delivery to the Maitland DHL location, where you will pick it up.  In general, applicants who opt for the expedited delivery option are able to pick up the passport the next business day after the interview, but this cannot be guaranteed.
The fees for options 2 or 3 must be paid at the Consulate DHL in-House counter on the day of your interview.  If you are applying in Durban, you must go to the Berea Road DHL office to make payment.

Step 8:- Drop off all paperwork at CCUSA
Participants applying in Cape Town must drop off or courier their passport, application and all other documents to  the CCUSA- Cape Town office at least 1 week before your visa interview
Checklist:- Take all of the bellow with you to your appointment (NB!)

DS2019 provided by CCUSA

Sevis Fee Payment(done by CCUSA)

Passport and previous passports

DS160 confirmation page (completed online) 

Visa Fee- $140 (Proof of Payment from ABSA)

Appointment confirmation letter (received via email)

1 x Photo 

Camp placement Letter (if received)

Travel Itinerary

Proof of intent to return (Very NB)

After your interview the U.S. Consulate will hand you all your documents back.  Keep your DS2019 form and SEVIS fee in a safe place.  You will need to put these forms into your passport and take them with you to the USA.  You will not be allowed to enter the USA without your DS2019 form

Address of the US Consulates in South Africa
Johannesburg                                  1 Sandton Drive, Sandhurst (opp Sandton City Mall)
Durban                                              Old Mutual Centre, 31th Floor, 303 West Street
Cape Town                                       Consulate 2 Reddam Ave, Westlake (Tokai)

Please Note:
  •   Plane Tickets:  Applicants should obtain a visa BEFORE purchasing tickets or making irrevocable travel plans.
  • Cell phones and other portable electronics are not allowed in the Consulate.  Arriving at the Consulate with these items will delay your entry.
  • Paid Parking is available in the vicinity of the Consulate. There is no public parking at the Consulate.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact CCUSA.


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