Once you have reviewed the information on your DS-2019, follow the steps to obtain the J-1 Visa stamp as soon as possible.
Pay the SEVIS Fee
Visit https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/ to pay the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Fee. You must pay the fee and obtain a receipt before you can apply for the visa. As of June 24th 2019, the fee will increase to $220 for J-1 Exchange Visitors. The fee can be paid online by credit card at the website above. Additional payment options (check and Western Union) may be available. More information about these options is available at http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/.
About the SEVIS fee: The SEVIS fee is required to be paid by all J-1 Scholars. It is only paid once per program (any program extensions or transfers do not require the fee to be repaid). If you have dependents coming with you on J-2 status, they do not need to pay this fee.
Make a Visa Appointment
You should make an appointment to attend a visa interview at the nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy. It is recommended that you try to apply within your country of citizenship or permanent residence, but is not required. Please check with the specific embassy or consulate that you will apply at for their procedures and policies. You can find a list of U.S. Consulate and Embassy locations here: http://www.usembassy.gov/. You can also see the current visa appointment wait times and processing times here: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/wait/wait_4638.html.
Attend a Visa Appointment
After scheduling your appointment, follow all instructions given by the embassy/consulate and bring any requested documents with you to the appointment. Included in your pre-arrival packet is a list of points to remember while applying for the visa, read over these to help you prepare for your appointment.
After your appointment, the processing time for your visa may vary. Contact your host school at UC Merced if you are concerned about receiving your visa in time to travel.