When you or your adviser are filling out the forms and arranging the paperwork for your visit, be careful about the Fulbright J-1 visa. My DS-2019 lists “student non-degree” under the “Exchange Visitor Category”, which caused some trouble at my host University. This fact led to quite a confusion, since for me to stay in USA with this status, my host institution had to enlist me as a student.
Some universities (Harvard, MIT) have a special category for Fulbright research visitors, but mine didn’t. This meant that I had to be at Northeastern as an official enlisted student, which is ok. The difficulty is that the IIE usually doesn’t cover the tuition (for visiting researchers) or at least it didn’t for mine. If the tuition is not waived by the institution, or somebody (your adviser) voluntarily pays it, it comes out of your pocket. It’s never less than a couple grand … When this is arranged, you will experience almost two semesters of what it means to be enlisted in your chosen institution! You most likely won’t experience this but just in case – be aware. Check it with your hosting institution.
Fulbright J-1 visa
One thing everybody should be aware of before applying for the Fulbright Scholarship is that most probably you won’t be allowed to apply for US permanent residence before two years after the end of your Fulbright Scholarship. These are official words that describe this requirement: “As stated on the second page of your DS-2019, upon the expiration of your Exchange Visitor (J-visa) status, you are required to reside in your home country for two years before you may apply for an immigrant visa or for permanent residence in the U.S. The Fulbright Program requires you to return to your home country at the conclusion of your authorized activities in the U.S.”
Fulbright Visa Forms
I am not sure if the following information applies to all countries, so check with your U.S. Embassy just to be sure. The forms are listed (with download links) here:
The forms I had to fill in were: 156, 157, 158 (downloadable) and DS-2019 (which you should already have received through snail mail). The required data is only basic (you had listed all of this before in your application). Additionally, an undamaged passport and a photo of the size 5x5cm is required. Return the forms with photo and picture to your U.S. Embassy consul and he will do the rest. J-1 visa usually costs approx. €100, but as a Fulbrighter, you get it for free. The visa is ready in a couple of days and you should pick up your passport together with the DS-2019 at the U.S. Embassy. From now on, hold on to both, since they’re your most important belongings during the Fulbright stay (passport and DS-2019).
Fulbright Stolen or lost passport or DS-2019
If stolen or lost (passport, DS-2019, Form I-94) there is a procedure you have to follow: Instructions on how to act in case of a stolen passport or DS-2019.