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J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa


This type of visa is used for employment, training or research in the United States under an officially approved program sponsored by an educational or other nonprofit institution. Examples include Post graduate students, medical graduates seeking to pursue graduate medical education or training, scholars sponsored by universities as temporary faculty, and some business trainees. In addition, there are several exchange visitor programs for young people, including summer employment programs, intern programs for university students, and au-pair programs.

Types of Exchange Visitors

  • Doctors (Medicine): In order to perform services as a member of the medical profession or to receive graduate medical education in the United States, certain alien physicians are required to pass the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) Parts I and II, or an examination determined to be equivalent. More information is available from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates:
  • Professors, Lecturers and Speakers who do not meet the B-1 visa requirements.
  • Researchers: If you will receive payment from a U.S. source and/or the U.S. institution will benefit from the results of the research, you will require J-1 or temporary work (H-1) visa.

Two Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement 

A former exchange visitor may not be issued an immigrant, fiancé(e)temporary worker or intra-company transferee visa until he/she has resided and been physically present in the country of his/her nationality or last residence for at least two years following the termination of exchange visitor status if certain conditions apply.

Entry and Length of Stay 

The holder of a J-1 visa may enter the United States up to 30 days before the designated registration date on the DS-2019. The 30 day limitation does not apply to exchange visitors returning to resume their program; they may enter the U.S. at any time. The holder of a J-1 visa may remain in the United States for up to 30 days following the completion of the program.


Eligibility for a J-2 Visa depends on the specific exchange program being offered to the J-1 non-immigrant by a sponsor organization. The exchange categories of au pair, camp counselor, secondary school student and summer work travel do not permit J-2 Visas. A J-2 Visa holder is eligible to seek employment or study. To work, a J-2 Visa holder must obtain an Employment Authorization Document.


If you wish to pursue practical training through an internship with a U.S. based employer you will require either an exchange visitor (J-1) or trainee (H-3) visa. Such activities cannot be conducted on a B-2 visa or under the Visa Waiver Program. Eligibility:

  • The prospective employer is a designated exchange visitor program sponsor. Training opportunities exist in variety of occupational categories including the arts and culture, information media and communications, education, management, business, commerce and finance; or
  • You may be eligible to obtain the requisite sponsorship for the J-1 visa through an approved work exchange program. There are a number of work exchange programs between the United Kingdom and the United States which allow participants to perform any employment which is available to them.

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