Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Exchange visitor (J) visas are nonimmigrant visas for individuals approved to participate in exchange visitor programs in the United States.
Exchange Visitor Categories Include:
- Au pair and EduCare
- Camp Counselor
- Government Visitor
- International Visitor (Dept. of State use)
- Professor and Research Scholar
- Short-term Scholar
- Student, college/university
- Student, secondary
- Summer Work Travel
Exchange Visitors cannot travel on the Visa Waiver Program or with Visitor Visas - An exchange visitor visa (J) is required to participate in an exchange visitor program in the United States. Foreign nationals may not study after entering on a visitor (B) visa or through the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) For more information on the VWP, see Visa Waiver Program.
Acceptance in Exchange Visitor Program - The first step is to apply for and be accepted into an exchange visitor program through a designated sponsoring organization in the United States. Visit the Department of State J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program website to learn about program requirements, regulations, and more.
After the exchange visitor program accepts your participation, you will be registered for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee (except in certain cases – consult your exchange visitor program sponsor). Visit the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) website to learn more about SEVIS and the SEVIS I-901 Fee.
There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary by U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Please consult the instructions on the embassy or consulate website.
- Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 – Learn more about completing the DS-160. You must: 1) complete the online visa application and 2) print the application form confirmation page to bring to your interview.
- Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. Your photo must be in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements.
For more information visit this link: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/study/exchange.html
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