J-1 Visa: Exchange Visitor Program

The J-1 Visa or Exchange Visitor Program was first implemented in 1961 as part of the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961. The motivation behind this act was to promote the understanding of other cultures by the people of the United States and likewise the understanding of the American culture by people of other countries, through educational and cultural exchanges. The U.S. Department of State plays the primary role in administering the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program

A J-1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa available to aliens that fall under the designation of "Exchange Visitor." J-1 exchange visitors travel to the United States through a Department of State approved sponsor program to teach, study, receive training, or demonstrate special skills. 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:

  1. Au Pair
  2. Camp Counselor
  3. College or University Student
  4. Government Visitor
  5. Intern
  6. International Visitor
  7. Physician
  8. Professor and Research Scholar
  9. Secondary School Student
  10. Short-Term Scholar
  11. Specialist
  12. Summer Work Travel
  13. Teacher
  14. Trainee

Certain types of J-1 exchange visas require that the alien return to his/her home country or country of last permanent residence for a period of two (2) years after the completion of the J-1 status. However, there are certain circumstances where this requirement can be waived.

Recently the State Department launched an extremely informative and user friendly J-1 visa website for participants and sponsoring organizations. To visit the J-1 website, please click here. The Department of State also maintains a complete and updated list of all sponsoring J-1 organizations on their J-1 website.

Please do not hesitate to contact Immigration Solutions LLC to discuss J-1 Visitor Exchange Program visas.