J-1

J-1 Exchange Visitor

The J-1 nonimmigrant visa is used by foreign students, scholars, experts, medical interns and residents, “international visitors,” and industrial and business trainees to enter the U.S. as “exchange visitors,” in U.S. government approved Exchange-Visitor Programs, for the purpose of gaining experience, studying, or doing research in their respective fields. To obtain a J-1 visa, your sponsor must be accredited through the Exchange Visitor Program designated by the U.S. State Department.

Individuals who qualify for J-1 status if sponsored through an accredited Exchange-Visitor Program include:

  • Students
  • Short-term scholars
  • Trainee/ interns
  • Teachers
  • College and university professors and research scholars
  • Specialists
  • Foreign medical graduates
  • Summer student work/ travel programs
  • Au pairs
  • International visitors
  • Government visitors
  • Camp counselors

Application Process

The U.S. sponsor must proceed through an Exchange-Visitor Program designated by the State Department. Sponsors may:

  • Proceed through already-established programs within their own organizations
  • Bring J visa holders to the U.S. through another organization’s program, provided the eligibility requirements of that organization are met;
  • Establish their own exchange-visitor program by applying to the DOS

The sponsor of an Exchange-Visitor Program is empowered by the DOS to issue a Certificate of Eligibility for each exchange visitor. DOS approval for each exchange visitor is not required. Once the Certificate of Eligibility is issued, the exchange visitor must take the certificate to a U.S. consulate to apply for issuance of a J-1 visa. The consulate will use an electronic system (SEVIS) to verify the data on the Certificate of Eligibility and to inform DHS that a J-1 visa was issued.

 

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