The DS-2019 Form (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status) is mandatory in order to apply for a J-1 visa, and it can only be issued in cooperation with an exchange organization (J-1 visa sponsor). These organizations have been certified by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) to review internship proposals in accordance with U.S. guidelines, and thus they are extremely responsible for the interns and the U.S. host companies.
The DS-2019 form must be presented at the interview appointment at the U.S. consulate in the original, and it must also be presented again later to extend the internship or to reenter the United States. Please note that in no way is it possible to circumvent the requirement to work with an exchange organization.
A list of designated organizations can be found on the J-1 Exchange Visitor website of the U.S. authorities.
The DS-2019 Form is a numbered and limited form, which cannot be downloaded from the Internet or filled out electronically. It will only be issued after a time-consuming and complex review process of the trainee and the U.S. host company.
The DS-2019 Form is issued using the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). This web-based database allows both the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of State to directly see information about trainees who are in the United States. SEVIS includes, among other things, information about the visa holder’s location, the U.S. host company, and the legal status of the intern. Once the data has been entered into SEVIS, it becomes the responsibility of the exchange organization to keep this information up to date and to change it, if necessary, during the visa holder’s entire stay in the U.S. Information may need to be updated, for example, in the event of an extension of stay or the U.S. host company is changed.