Form DS-2019 Update – Digital Signatures & Electronic Transmission

Effective April 27, 2023, International Student Services is permitted to use digital signatures and transmit Form DS-2019 electronically. Technical functionality in SEVIS became available April 28.

  • Any DS-2019 issued by ISS before April 28, 2023 was issued as a hardcopy original and mailed to the student.
  • Any DS-2019 issued by ISS after April 28, 2023 will be issued electronically through Terra Dotta. The document will be accompanied by this regulatory information. If a student requested and paid for UEMS (expedited shipping option), instructions on how to cancel the payment are provided in the email notification. New J-1 Exchange Student Requests submitted before April 28th that are still pending with ISS will be issued electronically through Terra Dotta.

The U.S. Department of State announced the publication of an Interim Final Rule that permits designated sponsors for the Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) to digitally sign and electronically transmit the J-1 DS-2019 form, effective April 27, 2023. With this change, sponsors like UW-Madison can either

  • Print and physically sign paper forms in ink, scan and save them, and electronically transmit them (e.g., via email), OR
  • Sponsors may use digital signature software to sign Forms DS-2019 and then electronically transmit them.

After receiving the DS-2019s electronically, J-1 visitors will still need to physically print and hand-sign their own DS-2019s prior to visa interviews or travel to the United States. If you have already completed an UEMS/EShip Global request and do not require an original Form DS-2019, you may cancel your shipment request. Should you require an original Form DS-2019, please contact International Student Services with your request.

The interim final rule will be published in 22 CFR part 62 after May 30, 2023

Sponsors may transmit Forms DS–2019 electronically, including directly to exchange visitors. Sponsors without digital signature capacity may print and sign forms in ink (as they do now, except that blue ink is no longer required), scan the forms (e.g., into portable document format (PDF) files), and then transmit them electronically. The Department of State notes that these regulatory changes will have no impact on SEVIS functionality or the number of Forms DS–2019 allotted to sponsors.