What is the Form DS-2019 and the J-1 Visa?
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 U.S. embassy or consulate in order to obtain a J-1 visa to enter the United States.
The Exchange Visitor (J-1) non-immigrant visa category is for individuals approved to participate in work and study based exchange visitor programs, which enable foreign nationals to visit the United States in order to experience life in the U.S.
This means that before you can apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate for a J-1 visa, you must first apply, meet the requirements and be accepted to an exchange visitor program through a designated sponsor organization. If you are accepted as a participant in an exchange program, the sponsor will provide you with information and documents necessary to apply for the J-1 visa to enter the U.S.
(from the U.S. Department of State website, visit http://exchanges.state.gov/ for most up to date information and to learn more)