Congratulations on your acceptance to the China Optometry and Ophthalmology Resource Development (COORD) Scholars Program!

In order to enter the United States for the Scholars Program, you will be a non-immigrant exchange visitor visa, or J1-Visa. This page offers you a step-by-step guide on how to successfully secure your visa.

Step 1. Apply for the DS-2019

To secure the J1-Visa, a DS-2019 Form, also known as the “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchanger Visitor (J-1) Status”, must be issued by the host institution in the USA. This form is the official document used by the US Department of State that will permit you to get an interview with the U.S. embassy or consulate in China.

SUNY Optometry is the host institution for scholars placed at the Illinois College of Optometry, SUNY Optometry, and the New England College of Optometry. Pacific University College of Optometry will issue its own DS-2019 form.

Please submit the following documents to our admissions email ( at your earliest convenience to ensure the expedited issuance of your DS-2019 form:

  • For All Dependents:
    • J-2 Dependent Request Form (Click to Download)
    • Copy of Dependent’s Biographical Page of Passport
    • For Child Dependents Only:
      • Copy of Birth Certificate (translated to English)
    • For Spouses Only:
      • Copy of Marriage Certificate (translated to English)

Time frame: it may take up to 30 days for the issuance of the DS-2019.

*Funding: In issuing this invitation, it is our understanding that your home institution in China, will be responsible for your financial support while in the program. Funding from your home institution will cover all expenses incurred by COORD Scholars, including tuition, cost of living, transportation and insurance, to a total amount of USD 26,000 per semester.

Breakdown of costs:

  • Educational cost: US $10,000 for the first scholar for the 4-6 month period, and $7,500 for each additional scholar
  • Living expenses, including housing, transportation, personal expenses, food, health insurance, books and supplies: $16,000 (These figures are estimates only and do not reflect actual final costs.)

J-2 Dependents: If you will bring a spouse or child with you to the United States, you need to show additional proof of funding for the entire duration. Dependent expenses for 6-months are estimated at $4,500 for the first dependent and then $2,000 for each additional dependent (health insurance for each dependent is mandatory and not included in the costs above).

Step 2. Pay SEVIS and Visa fee

You will be required to pay a SEVIS I-901 fee to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as part of your J-1 visa application.

Another fee you will be required to pay is the Nonimmigrant Visa Application Processing Fee, which is $160 and can be paid by visiting the Department of State’s Fee for Visa Services.

Step 3. Interview with a U.S. Embassy or Consulate

In order to have your J-1 visa application accepted, you will need to have final approval by a consular officer at a US embassy or consulate. Depending on where you are located, waiting times to get an appointment can vary so it’s important to schedule early to ensure that you have sufficient time before your program begins.

If you will be traveling with a spouse and/or child, you can schedule an appointment for those family members who will be accompanying you. At the interview, you will be asked about the program, your intentions after the program, how you plan to cover your expenses, etc. It is important to stress that your intention is to complete the program and return to your home country upon termination. Be prepared to show your binding ties to your home country and bring any documentation that can further show your ties back home.

Step 4. Travel plans and housing

After securing your visa, you should make travel and housing plans. It is recommended that you arrive at least one week before the start of the program.

It is your responsibility to find housing for yourself (and your family, if applicable) for the duration of your stay. Off-campus housing resources can provide on request.

Step 5. Arrival

Upon your arrival, you are required to meet with the International Student or COORD coordinator at your host institution and provide the following documents:

  • Complete Arrival form (Note: Form must be downloaded to work properly)
  • Bring your DS-2019, passport, I-94 for you and any dependents (if applicable) to your scheduled check-in with your International Student coordinator or COORD coordinator.
    • Special Note: The I-94 can now be downloaded online. Visit for more information.
  • Participate in required Department, Exchange Visitor Advisor, and International Office orientations.
  • Familiarize yourself with campus and community resources.
  • Obtain any required identifications (e.g. Campus Identification Card, etc.).
  • Familiarize yourself with local transportation options (e.g. car, bus, etc.).
  • During your stay, be sure to engage with your local community. Remember, the Exchange Visitor Program is about experiencing both educational and cultural opportunities during your program. Each campus community can assist you with experiencing the local culture.
  • Complete Change of address form with your new local address