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How to Apply for a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa at a Border Post if you are a Third Country National Present in the United States

The U.S. Department of State (DOS), which operates the U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide, prefers that applicants apply for visas in their home countries. However, U.S. consulates located in Canada and Mexico will entertain an application by a "Third Country National" (TCN) applicant who makes an advance appointment. While the possibility exists that a U.S. consulate in Canada or Mexico will not grant you a visa because it believes that only the U.S. consulate in your home country is equipped to make a visa issuance decision, our students and scholars have been successful in obtaining nonimmigrant visas in Canada and Mexico.

Making a Visa appointment at a U.S. Consulate in Canada or Mexico

United States consulates participating in the advance visa appointment program are located in the following cities:

  • Canada
    Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, and Halifax.

  • Mexico
    Tijuana, Matamoros, and Ciudad Juarez.

The U.S. Consulates schedule appointments via telephone at 703-439-2319, or via the internet at


All applicants must present a valid passport. In addition, to expedite the interview process, applicants should bring evidence of their current immigration status in Canada as well as any documents related to prior visits to the United States. (For example, expired passports with old visas, I-20 Forms if you were a student, IAP-66 or DS-2019 if you were an exchange visitor, I-797 Forms, I-94 cards, Employment Authorization cards, I-688, etc.) If you have ever been arrested or convicted of a crime, you should bring copies of relevant police and court documents. If your spouse and children are applying for derivative visa status, you should bring proof of your relationship to them. (i.e. marriage certificate, birth certificate, adoption papers, etc, including translations).

Student (categories F and M)

Student (categories F and M) visa applicants must present a valid Form I-20, proof of adequate English language skills and proof of sufficient funds to cover tuition and living expenses while in the United States. You must also be able to prove that you intend to depart the United States once you have completed your studies.

Exchange Visitor (category J)

Exchange Visitor (category J) visa applicants must present a valid Form DS-2019 as well as proof of sufficient funds to cover all expenses while participating in the exchange program. You must also be able to prove that you have adequate knowledge of English and that you intend to depart the United States once you have completed the program.


The DS-160 on-line visa application is available to applicants seeking visas at all consular offices. All applicants must use the DS-160 on-line application, which is accessible at the Department of State's Consular Electronic Application Centre.

After completing the DS-160 on-line, applicants must electronically submit the application. You will be receive a confirmation page that includes only limited biographic information and a bar code. Applicants must bring a copy of this confirmation page with them to their visa interview. 

If the DS-160 on-line application is not completed fully and properly your case cannot be processed.

For persons applying at Consulate General Montreal only: The DS-160 visa application must be completed a minimum of three business days before your scheduled appointment. Failure to comply will result in a delay of your interview and your appointment will be re-scheduled for a later date.


Beginning June 4, 2010 important changes go into effect regarding payment of non-immigrant visas applications fees:

  • A new, tiered visa application fee is being introduced. For most applicants the new visa application fee is US $140. This includes applicants for visitor and business visitor visas (categories B-1 and B-2), student visas (category F) and exchange visitor visas (category J).
  • For applicants for most petition-based visas (categories H, L, O, P, Q and R) the new visa application fee is $150.

Individuals applying for U.S. visas at all Consulates in Canada must first deposit the application fee to a ScotiaBank branch located in Canada. The deposit slip for your visa application fee consists of 3 pages and is available at this web site. A separate set of deposit slips is required for each applicant. Take all three pages of the deposit slip(s) to any branch of ScotiaBank, and pay the nonrefundable U.S. visa application fee of either US $140 or US $150 depending on the category of visa. The payment must be made in either US $ cash, a US $ certified check or a US $ money order; incoming mail deposits and wired deposits are not accepted. The bank teller will stamp all three copies of your receipt and should return two copies to you. You must submit two validated deposit receipts with your visa application. To locate the nearest Scotiabank location, please use the Branch Locator found at

Applicants for Treaty Trader and Investor visas (categories E-1 and E-2) and for Fiancé(e) visas (category K) should see special fee payment information for the offices that process those applications, Consulate General Toronto and Consulate General Vancouver. The new fee for category E applicants is $390.00. The fee for category K applicants is $350.00.

For applicants for E-3 visas (Treaty Alien in a Specialty Occupation) the new visa application fee is $390.00. E-3 applicants, including spouses and children seeking E-3 visas, should pay this application fee directly to the consular office at the time of application. No deposit slip is required. Applicants should be prepared to pay this fee is US$ cash.

Applicants of certain nationalities may also be subject to a reciprocity fee, which is paid at the Consulate or Embassy only if the visa is issued.

Depending on your country of citizenship, you may also be required to pay a fee for visa issuance, known as a reciprocity fee. Operators at the 900 telephone service can give you additional information on the amount of the fee, which varies according to type of visa and country of citizenship. If your visa application is approved, you will be asked to pay this fee at the time of your interview. You may pay your reciprocity fee in either U.S. or Canadian currency.

Travel Documents in Canada

All passports must be valid for at least six months beyond their proposed date of re-entry into the United States. Applicants traveling to Canada from another country must check with the nearest Canadian Consulate regarding entry requirements to Canada. We cannot assist anyone in the procurement of their Canadian visa.


If you need to cancel your appointment please phone 1-888-611-6676. Cancellations should be made at least two full working days prior to the appointment. Canceled appointment times are made available to other callers. Please do not call the Consulate directly.