The J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa program allows foreign nationals to come to the U.S. for a temporary period for a wide variety of educational and cultural exchange programs. Exchange programs sponsor students, job trainees, faculty, professors and research scholars, specialists, government visitors and several other types of visitors. Detailed information about J-1 visas can be found on the U.S. Department of State website.

Other facts about the J-1 Exchange Visitor visa:

  • You must be sponsored by a public or private entity that has been designated an exchange program sponsor. For example, the American Immigration Council’s International Exchange Center.
  • You must obtain a visa stamp from a U.S. Embassy or Consulate prior to entry in J-1 status.
  • You must show evidence of funds to cover your expenses in the U.S.
  • You must show evidence that you have ties to your home country and intend to return upon completion of the exchange program.
  • Spouses and children are eligible for J-2 dependent visas. J-2 visa holders are eligible to apply for a work authorization document using Form I-765.
  • Some J-1 Exchange Visitors are subject to the 212(e) two-year home residence requirement, which means that they must return home for two years before being eligible for a different temporary visa status or permanent residence in the U.S.
  • In some cases, waivers of the two-year home residence requirement are possible.

If you are currently on or have been on a J-1 visa, and you are not sure whether you are subject to the INA 212(e) two-year foreign residence requirement, you may send a written request for an advisory opinion. The Waiver Review Division will advise whether the INA 212(e) home residency requirement applies to you. The advisory opinion request should include all copies of DS-2019/IAP-66 documents issued to you, along with a self-addressed envelope, and should be sent to:

INA 212(e) Advisory Opinion Request
The Waiver Review Division, CA/VO/L/W
SA-1, L-603
U.S. State Department
2401 E Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20522-0106