Understanding Your DS-2019
The DS-2019 is the “Certificate of Eligibility” for J-1 Status indicating an Exchange Visitor (EV) has been accepted into a program and has demonstrated the resources and education for a specific research or teaching program in the U.S. for the length of time listed on the DS-2019. The DS-2019 is officially titled the "Certificate of Eligibility" because with it, you are "eligible" to apply for a J-1 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. A dependent will also each need their own DS-2019 to obtain J-2 dependent status, if desired.
A DS-2019 itself does not grant legal J-1 status. It is used along with the J-1 visa and passport to request legal status at the U.S. port of entry, or for a change of status from another type of non-immigrant visa status.
Once an application is submitted, your name and other biographic information are entered into a U.S. government database called the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System or SEVIS. After the DS-2019 is created, a school official will sign the DS-2019, and then email to the host department for pick-up. If an update or edit is necessary, a school official will make the edit through SEVIS, and a new DS-2019 is produced.
A DS-2019 is used by an Exchange Visitor to apply for a J-1 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. The DS-2019 must be presented along with your J-1 visa to Customs and Border Protection upon arrival at a U.S. port-of-entry to request admission to the U.S. in J-1 status..
Some immigration regulations governing the J-1 status are listed on page 2 of the DS-2019 document. It is important that Exchange Visitors read this page to understand the rules that apply to their stay in the U.S.