J-1 Exchange Visitor Program Visa
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Visas For Au Pairs And Other Exchange Visitors

Criteria for Eligibility

The US Exchange Visitor Program (J-1 visa program) was created to promote international cooperation by allowing foreigners to come to the US to exchange culture, language, ideas, skills, and much more. The program focuses on 14 categories of participants, including 12 categories that are privately funded and 2 categories that are publicly funded for the government’s exchange visitors. The 14 categories are:

Professors/Research Scholars:

Promote research and idea between academic institutions in the US and abroad

Teachers:

Educators come to teach full-time at an accredited US kindergarten, elementary, or secondary school

Au Pairs:

Young adult who lives with host family for 1 year and provides childcare and takes classes at an accredited US school of higher learning

Short-term Scholars:

Professors, scholars, or other experts coming to the US to lecture, consult, train, etc. on a short-term basis at US schools, museums, or libraries

Teachers:

Educators come to teach full-time at an accredited US kindergarten, elementary, or secondary school

Summer Work Travel Program:

University students work in seasonal/temporary jobs in the US during the summer

Short-term Scholars:

Professors, scholars, or other experts coming to the US to lecture, consult, train, etc. on a short-term basis at US schools, museums, or libraries

Specialists:

Experts in a specialized field come to learn and share knowledge with US colleagues

Government Visitors:

Distinguished foreigners come to foster relationships with US counterparts in federal, state, or local government

Interns:

University students and recent graduates seeking to learn US culture and business practices in their chosen field

Alien Physicians:

Foreign medical graduates seeking learning, research, or training in the US

International Visitors:

Reserved for State Department-sponsored and funded exchange participants

College/University Students:

Students seeking to study at a US institution of higher learning

Alien Physicians:

Foreign medical graduates seeking learning, research, or training in the US

Camp Counselors:

Individuals who interact with and supervise American youth at US camps

Application Process

  • Choose the right Exchange Program for you.
  • Contact the program sponsor, complete the sponsor’s application process, and be selected to the sponsor’s program. It is important to understand and plan to pay the sponsor program’s fees.
  • Obtain Form DS-2019 from the sponsoring program.
  • Pay the SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) fee.
  • Complete and submit Form DS-160 along with the required fee.
  • Schedule and complete your visa interview. Be sure to bring all required documents and photograph. The visa interviewer will tell you if your application is approved or denied.
  • If approved, continue to work with your program sponsor to coordinate and prepare to come to the US.

Validity Period

The J-1 visa is valid for the duration of the sponsor’s exchange program. The J-1 participant has 30 days to leave the US after the program ends.

It is important to note that certain categories have a 2-year residency requirement where the J-1 participant must return to their home country for at least 2 years.

Family of Visa Holder

The J-1 visa holder’s spouse and minor unmarried children may apply for and obtain J-2 visas. J-2 spouses can study and work in the US after obtaining an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

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