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J1 Visa Cultural Exchange Program

Updated on February 28, 2013

J1 Training Visitor Exchange Program

Thousands of foreign national each year come to the United States for training purposes. Their dreams are to travel to the United States, be able to experience the culture and receive valuable training and knowledge in various skills at the same time.

The J-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that those foreign nationals receive in order to enter the United States. To receive the visa, applicants must first apply to and be accepted into the J-1 visa internship Visitor Exchange program.

The cultural exchange program serves as an important resource for citizens of foreign countries who wish to receive valuable education and experience in the United States. Participants are matched with sponsors or hosts, who provide work, education or training.

Additionally, sponsors and hosts have the privilege of learning from program participants. For example, American businesses can learn about business practices in other countries. Families who are hosting a participant under the childcare or even summer camp programs gain knowledge of the participant's home culture and language. It is a win-win situation for both sponsor/host and J-1 visa participant.

This lens features information regarding the visa, its requirements and the application process. There are also links to a website that has a lot more information regarding the J-1 visa and how to successfully apply for and get accepted to the cultural exchange program.

J1 Training Visitor Exchange Program

J1 Training Visitor Exchange Program
J1 Training Visitor Exchange Program
J1 Training Visitor Exchange Program
J1 Training Visitor Exchange Program

J1 Training - Visitor Exchange Program

How does the program work?

The J-1 non-immigrant visa is very popular among people who wish to come to the United States for job-related training or education. There are over 170,000 participants of the J-1 cultural and educational exchange program in the United States. Each participant is allowed a minimum and maximum length of stay in the United States, depending on the J visa category. More will be discussed about the various categories later in this lens. When the participant's program ends and the visa expires, he or she is usually given a grace period of 30 days to leave the country. The grace period is allowed in order to permit the participant time to make travel arrangements.

J-1 traineeship visa holders working in the United States are required to pay taxes, depending on the category the holder is participating in. Participants are also required to secure health insurance within 30 days of arriving in the United States and starting their training program.

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa Program was started in 1961 and was meant to foster cultural awareness and understanding between the United States and other countries. The program was originally used to allow teachers and other educators to come to the United States to learn education methodology. However, over the years the program has been expanded to allow participants in various other fields.

There are fourteen different categories under which a participant can receive a J-1 visa. They include:

  • Au Par and EduCare (Childcare for families)

  • Camp Counselor

  • College and University Student

  • Government Visitor

  • Intern

  • International Visitor

  • Physician

  • Professor and Research Scholar

  • Secondary School Student

  • Short-term Scholar

  • Specialist

  • Summer Work Travel

  • Teacher

  • Trainee

When applying for the J-1 apprenticeship visa, applicants will need to know which program or category they plan on applying for.

For help with the J-1 Cultural Visa Exchange application process, check out the J1 Training website.

J1 Visa Cultural Exchange Program
J1 Visa Cultural Exchange Program

J1 Visa Cultural Exchange Program

Qualifications, Requirements and the Application Process

In order to qualify for a J-1 Visa, applicants must first be accepted into an government approved and designated exchange program, such as the one offered by J1 Training. Applicants must between the ages of 18 and 36 and be proficient in English. They must also have an offer for training from a US company. Participants are not allowed to change sponsor or "employment".

Applicants will apply to the program at the local United States embassy. Additional documentation needed for the application include the applicant's passport, photo, the two forms mentioned above and the training/internship placement plan (form DS-7002) and J visa application form DS-2019 form. Applicants will also need to pay application fees. For the most up-to-date information about what fees must be paid applicants should check with the exchange program company.

The embassy may sometimes require additional documentation so it is best to be prepared with that documentation, even if they have not yet asked for it. This documentation includes:

  • The purpose of your travel;

  • A statement of your intent to leave the United States after your program ends; and/or

  • Your ability to pay all travel-related costs

The application process for the J-1 visa is a very important, and serious process. Applicants should be sure to be truthful, complete and forthcoming with all required information for the application. If the embassy catches an applicant perpetrating fraud, for example, he or she may be permanently denied visa entry into the United States. Additionally, the J-1 visa is not guaranteed to applicants. However, most applicants who have a letter from a sponsoring company or host family are issued the visa.

While J-1 visa holders are participating in their programs within the United States, they are allowed to travel freely within the country. As a precaution their visa, DS-2019 and passport should be carried with them at all times.

Some participants also want to travel outside the United States and then return during their program. Travel to Canada and Mexico is relatively common and not an issue, so long as participants do the necessary research and meet the requirements to enter either of the countries. Special permission may be required to travel to any other third country. In order to be granted reentrance into the United States it is important for participants to contact the appropriate immigration and/or State Department authorities to find out additional regulations and requirements. The sponsoring cultural exchange program company can also be an invaluable asset that participants should take advantage of in order to receive the maximum enjoyment out of their stay in the United States.

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