The J-1 Exchange Visitor visa allows students, scholars, trainees in business and industry, research assistants, teachers, and international visitors on cultural missions to come to the U.S. to participate in a variety of informational exchange programs sponsored by schools, businesses, and various organizations and institutions.

J1 beneficiaries may work legally in the U.S. if it is part of their authorized program (i.e., trainee in a business) or if they receive permission to work from their program sponsor. They may only participate/work for the program sponsor under which the visa was approved.

Length of programs vary according to specific programs:

Secondary School Students: one year maximum.

College and University Students: duration of degree program plus an additional 18 months of practical training (the student must apply for this training).

Foreign Medical Graduate Students: length of time necessary to complete their training program, with a maximum of seven (7) years.

Other Medically Related Programs (not foreign medical graduates): duration of their education program plus 18 months of practical training, both totaling not more than three (3) years.

Teachers, Professors, Research Scholars, and People with Specialized Skills: no more than three (3) years.

International Visitors: one year maximum.

Business and Industrial Trainees: eighteen month maximum.

Au Pairs: one year maximum, with no extensions.

Camp Counselors: four months.

Some J1 beneficiaries may be required to return to their home country for two years upon the completion of their J-1 program before they can return to the U.S. or change to another immigration status.


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