J-1 Educational and Cultural Exchange Visa

Home » J-1 Educational and Cultural Exchange Visa

Interested in coming to the U.S. to work and study as an au pair or physician or professor? The Alcorn Immigration Law team can help.

Foreign nationals who participate in an approved program for teaching or lecturing, studying, conducting research, consulting, receiving training, or graduate medical education or training are eligible for a J-1 visa.

Administered by the U.S. Department of State, the J-1 exchange visitor program promotes knowledge and cultural exchanges between the U.S. and other countries through work and education. The State Department designates public and private sponsor organizations to supervise the exchange programs and application process. Many sponsors can place participants anywhere in the U.S.

Most J-1 visa holders must return to their home country to live for at least two years when their visas expire. Those who are unable or do not wish to return to their home country for two years may file for a waiver from the Department of Homeland Security before the J-1 visa expires or before applying for another visa to travel to the U.S.


Eligibility Requirements

J-1 exchange visitor candidates include:

• Au Pairs or Nannies

• Camp Counselors

• Government Workers

• Physicians

• Professors or Scholars

• Research Assistants

• Specialists

• Students

• Teachers

• Trainees


Application Process

To apply for the U-1 exchange visitor program, a candidate must:

  • Contact a designated sponsor.
  • Obtain Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status) from a sponsoring agency by providing the documents requested from the agency.
  • Submit the Form DS-2019 to the U.S. Department of State at a U.S. embassy or consulate and schedule an interview appointment.


Family of J-1 Visa Holders

The spouse and unmarried children 20 years old or younger, regardless of nationality, are entitled to a J-2 visa. J-2 visa holders are entitled to work authorization. However, their income may not be used to support the J-1 visa holder. To apply for work authorization as a J-2 visa holder, the spouse or child would file Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization).

Subscribe to Our Newsletter!

Services for Students and Their Families

At Alcorn Immigration Law, we help prospective international students and their families obtain visas. We also help visitors to the U.S. and foreign nationals currently in the U.S. under another visa to change to a J-1 visa. If you have any question, do not hesitate to contact us.


  • Fees
    • Varies depending on the exchange visitor program.
  • Related Forms
    • Form DS-2019, which must be obtained from a sponsoring agency.
  • Steps
    • Contact a designated J-1 exchange visitor program sponsor.
    • Obtain Form DS-2019.
    • Submit Form DS-2019 to a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
    • Schedule and attend a J-1 visa interview appointment.
  • Immigrant Intent
    • None. You must plan to return to your home country. At the airport, border, or other port of entry, you will need to satisfy the U.S. government officer that you have a residence in your home country and do not intend to abandon it. You must demonstrate that your visit to the U.S. will end after a specific amount of time.
  • Who Qualifies
    • Foreign nationals who participate in an approved teaching, lecturing, studying, research, consulting, training or graduate medical education program.
  • Period of Stay
    • Ranges from a few weeks to several years depending on the exchange program.