Nonimmigrant Visas - Exchange Visitors Program (J)
Exchange Visitors Program (J)
The Exchange Visitor Program is carried out under the provisions of the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, as amended. The purpose of the Act is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges. International educational and cultural exchanges are one of the most effective means of developing lasting and meaningful relationships. They provide an extremely valuable opportunity to experience the United States and our way of life. Foreign nationals come to the United States to participate in a wide variety of educational and cultural exchange programs.
Designated sponsoring organizations facilitate the entry of foreign nationals into the United States as exchange visitors to complete the objectives of one of the exchange visitor program categories, which are:
International Visitor (reserved for U.S. Department of State use)
In order to obtain an exchange visitors visa, you must first be accepted into an exchange visitors program. The program sponsor will issue you the required form DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status and form DS-7002 Trainee/internship Placement Plan (only applicable to trainees and interns). You must sign and present this form at your scheduled visa interview. For more detailed information, please visit travel.state.gov.
Applicants for a J visa must pay a SEVIS fee in the amount of $180 ($35 for au pairs, summer work/travel and camp counselors). This fee covers the cost of administering the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). This fee must be paid before the student applies for a visa. For further details and information on how to pay the fee click www.fmjfee.com.
Applicants sponsored by the U.S. Government (e.g. Fulbright scholarship holders) do not pay a visa processing fee or SEVIS fee.
Spouses and unmarried children under 21 of J-1 visa holders may apply for J-2 visas. To do so they should present the documents described in the visa application check list, a form DS-2019 completed and certified by the American inviting institution and signed by the applicant. Derivatives (J-2) do not have to pay a separate SEVIS fee even though they will have a unique SEVIS number. Spouses and children of exchange visitors may not accept employment at any time.
Initial Entry to the U.S.
As an exchange visitor you may be admitted to the United States up to 30 days prior to your program start date listed on your form DS-2019. You may stay in the United States as a tourist up to 30 days after your program end date which is listed on your form DS-2019.
Although visa applicants may apply at any U.S. consular office abroad, it may be more difficult to qualify for the visa outside the country of permanent residence.
Who is subject to the 2-Year Home Residency Requirement?
An exchange visitor is subject to the 2-Year Foreign Residency Requirement if:
- The program in which the exchange visitor was participating was financed in whole or in part directly or indirectly by the United States government or the government of the exchange visitor's nationality or last residence;
- The exchange visitor entered the United States to receive graduate medical education or training.
If the exchange visitor is subject to the 2-year foreign residency requirement, he/she cannot change his/her status to that of H, L, K, or immigrant lawful permanent resident (LPR) until he/she has returned to his/her home country or last permanent residence for at least two-years.
What to bring to your Interview
In addition to the items listed on the visa application check list, visitors who are going to the United States as exchange visitors must bring the following to their visa interview:
J-1 visa applicant:
- Documents detailing high school and university studies in Denmark
- SEVIS fee receipt
J-2 visa applicant (spouse and/or children):
- Marriage certificate
- Birth certificate
Per the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, all J visa applicants must read the below pamphlet, which details their rights, as well as protections and resources available to them while in the United States.
For information on how to apply for a visa, please see the "How to Apply" section.
The Consular Section will make every effort to accommodate interview appointments for exchange visitors (J visas) who need to report to a U.S. educational institution by a certain date. Applicants who cannot obtain an online appointment may send an e-mail explaining the special circumstances to CopenhagenNIV@state.gov; please write “Emergency Travel” in the subject line and include your telephone number and e-mail address.
Summer Work Programs
- The United States does not have a working holiday visa, and visitors may not work on the Visa Waiver Program or on a tourist (B-1/B-2) visa. However, the U.S. has an exchange visitor (J-1) visa, which allows some visitors to work, study, train, observe, etc. in the United States. The purpose of the program is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through educational and cultural exchanges.