Exchange visitor (J-1) visas are nonimmigrant visas for individuals approved to participate in exchange visitor programs in the United States. The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, allows foreign nationals to visit the United States temporarily to study, observe, and train in a specific field or industry. Applicants must possess either a Bachelor’s degree or five years of work experience, provided such training is not available in their home country. Before you can apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a J-1 visa, you must first apply for and be accepted into an exchange visitor program through a designated sponsoring organization. Such training cannot exceed a period of 18 months.
Examples of exchange visitors include, but are not limited to:
- Professors or scholars
- Research assistants
- Au Pairs
- Camp counselors
Some J-1 visas are subject to a two-year residency requirement which mandates that the J-1 visa holder return to their home country for a minimum of two years after the J-1 status expires before they may return to the U.S. on any other visa.
Additionally, J-1 beneficiaries may also bring certain family members (spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age) with them to the U.S. states under J-2 status, and the J-2 spouse and children are entitled to apply for work authorizations to USCIS.