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Visa Basics

What is the BridgeUSA program?

The BridgeUSA Program promotes mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through educational and cultural exchanges. To participate you need a designated sponsor who supervises the application process and is your main point of contact throughout the exchange program process. All exchange visitors are expected to return to their home country upon completion of their program in order to share their exchange experiences. For more information visit the US Departement of State J-1 Visa Website 

What is a J-1 visa?

The Exchange Visitor (J) non-immigrant visa category is for individuals approved to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs in the USA.

What is a DS2019 Form?

The Form DS-2019 or "Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status" is the basic document used in the administration of the exchange visitor program. This form permits a prospective exchange visitor to seek an interview at a US Embassy or consulate in order to obtain a J-1 visa to enter the United States.

What is a SEVIS receipt?

SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. It is a nationwide, Internet-based system that the U.S. government uses to maintain accurate and current information on non-immigrant exchange visitors.  There is a charge of US$35 per exchange visitor.

What is a DS160 application?

The DS160 is the application form you must complete to apply for all U.S. non-immigrant visas including the BridgeUSA program you will be participating in.

When do I start my visa application?

To start your visa application process, head to the 'visa' section of your application for step by step instructions. This section will appear on your application when you reach the 'Ready to Hire' stage. Your visa section will cover all of the information you need to obtain your J-1 visa.

When will Camp Leaders order my visa paperwork (DS2019 form)?

Camp Leaders will order your DS2019 when you have completed the steps outlined in your online profile. Please ensure you complete everything in a timely manner so there is no delay in ordering your DS2019 form. 

How will I receive my DS2019 form? 

Forms will be shipped from the US to your local country office and then either shipped directly to you or we will arrange a location for collection (usually either at the US Embassy or our office). 

Important: For DS2019 shipping, please ensure the address is correct on your Camp Leaders profile.

Why is my visa end date when I finish camp, not 30 days after?

Your visa end date will show as the last day that you work at camp. This doesn’t mean you can’t travel, it just means can’t work from this date. Your 30 days of travel is often called a ‘grace period’. Your grace period lasts 30 days and begins from the last day of your contract.  

Is there any way to speed up my visa processing?

Unfortunately, there is no way to speed up your visa processing. We suggest giving yourself as much time as possible to get your visa back in time.

Why is it called DS-2019 if it is 2022?

The DS-2019 is the standard name for the form. This does not change with the year.

Do I need an ESTA?

As you are working and you will be entering the US on a J-1 Cultural Exchange visa, you don’t need an ESTA. Please do not apply for an ESTA prior to leaving for camp.