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J-1 Exchange Visitor's Visa : US Visas
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US Visas

J-1 Exchange Visitor's Visa

The J-1 exchange visitor’s visa is for individuals who wish to come to the United States to take part in exchange programs such as school and business programs, research assistance, industrial training, cultural enlightenment, summer employment, internship, teaching exchange, and au-pair programs. The idea behind the J-1 visa is to help promote activities which encourage cultural exchange. Some of the specific roles covered include:
  • Au-pair and nannies
  • Summer camp staff
  • Post-graduate students
  • Short-term scholars
  • Medical residents and interns
  • Government and international visitors
  • Scholars and teachers serving as temporary faculty
  • Business trainees
  • Some secondary and university students

The US Exchange Visitor's Program

The US Exchange Visitor’s Program is part of the Mutual Education and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961. The purpose is to encourage mutual understanding between the US and foreign countries with the hope of developing strong and lasting relationships with those countries. Individuals visiting the US under J class status are seen as an active part of the Exchange Visitor Program and, as such, must be
1) part of a recognized exchange program and
2) performing tasks and participating in activities which promote cultural exchange.

Applying for a J-1 Visa

Before applying for a J-1 exchange visa, you must first be accepted into a recognized exchange visitor program through a US State Department-approved sponsoring organization. Once accepted, the sponsoring organization will help guide you through the application process.

In general, all J-1 applicants must show that they meet certain requirements. This includes:
  • Intent to remain in the US for a specific and limited (temporary) amount of time.
  • Evidence of financial capability. Applicants must be able to provide proof of access to sufficient funds to cover expenses for the duration of their stay. J class visa holders are not eligible for receipt of public funds.
  • Intent to return home. All applicants must show cultural and social ties to their homeland sufficient to ensure willingness to leave the US at the end of their stay.

In order to apply for a J class visa, you must also have a SEVIS-generated DS-2019. This requirement is applicable to all persons seeking a J class visa, including dependents. The DS-2019 is a multi-purpose document issued by a government-approved organization or institution that certifies that you are a member of a qualifying program and have demonstrated sufficient financial resources to fund your stay. In addition to the DS-2019, trainees or interns must also submit a Training/Internship Placement Plan (Form DS-7002). Your sponsoring organization will assist you with the completion of these forms as well as discuss what supporting documentation you will need to provide for successful application.

Additional Information
  • An interview with a US Embassy Consular officer is required for most visa applicants between the ages of 14 and 79. Because waiting times can vary, early application is encouraged.
  • There are no travel restrictions for J-1 visa holders; the individual(s) may enter and leave the US as many times as they like.
  • J-2 visa holders are allowed to enter full- or part-study and those of legal working age can apply with the USCIS for approval to seek temporary employment. Please note, any employment held by a J-2 visa holder must be incidental and not necessary for the financial support of the J-1 visa holder.
  • Students traveling under J-1 status must maintain full-time study. Other individuals—such as short-term scholars, professors, researcher, specialists etc. — may engage in study, but only as incidental to their primary activity.
  • The length of stay is dependent upon purpose of visit, with extensions available as required.


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J-1 Exchange Visitor's Visa : US Visas