J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa
The J-1 Visa or Exchange Visitor Program was first implemented in 1961 as part of the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961. The motivation behind this act was to promote the understanding of other cultures by the people of the United States and likewise the understanding of the America culture by people of other countries through educational and cultural exchanges. The UNITED STATES Department of State plays the primary role in administering the J-1 exchange visitor program.
A J-1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa available to foreign nationals that fall under the designation of "Exchange Visitor". J-1 visa holders travel to the United States through a Department of State approved sponsor program to teach, study, receive training or demonstrate special skills. To obtain a J-1 Visa, his/her sponsor must be accredited through the Exchange Visitor Program designated by the US State Department.
Individuals who qualify for J-1 status if sponsored through an accredited Exchange Visitor Program include: Au Pair, Camp Counselor, College or University Student, Government Visitor, Intern, International Visitor, Physician, Professor and Research Scholar, Secondary School Student, Short-Term Scholar, Specialist, Summer Work Travel, Teacher, Trainee.
Certain types of J-1 exchange visitors require that the foreign national return to his/her home country or country of last permanent residence for a period of two (2) years after the completion of the J-1 status. However, there are certain circumstances where this requirement can be waived.
Certain family members of exchange visitors may also accompany the J-1 visa holder as dependents. A J-1 visa holder may be accompanied or followed by spouses and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age. Spouses of J-1 visa holders can apply for work authorization.