Common Questions for Participants
Where do I apply for an exchange visitor J-1 Visa?
What is the purpose of the exchange visitor program (J-1 Visa program)?
How long does it take to obtain a J-1 Visa?
Can I apply for an extension?
More information is available on the adjustments and extensions page.
Exiting the Program
How long before my J-1 program starts can I arrive in the United States? How long can I remain after my program ends?
What will happen to my J-1 Visa status if my exchange visitor program sponsor terminates my exchange visitor program?
If your sponsor terminates your participation in their exchange program for just cause, the sponsor will enter this information into SEVIS and you will be expected to depart the United States immediately. You will not be entitled to the post-completion 30-day period because you did not successfully complete your program.
What will happen to my J-1 Visa status if I withdraw from my exchange visitor program?
My visa has expired during the program. What do I do?
If your visa has expired and you do not plan to travel outside of the U.S., you do not need to renew the visa.
Please be aware that if you travel outside of the United States during your current exchange visitor program and after your J-1 visa has expired, you must apply for a new J-1 visa in your home country in order to re-enter the United States to continue your program.
Your sponsor is responsible for assisting and advising you on all matters relating to your J-1 program, including authorizing travel outside of the U.S. and ensuring that your J-1 non-immigrant documents are valid at all times.
Can I participate in another J1 program after finishing my current program?
Your current J-1 visa is ONLY applicable for your current J-1 exchange program and under your current program sponsor. Upon completion of your current J-1 program, you are expected to depart the United States.
If you intend to pursue a 2nd J-1 exchange program (in a different category and with a different J-1 sponsor), you will need to apply for a new J-1 visa for your new exchange program and new J-1 sponsor – in order to reenter the U.S. for the 2nd program.
Who should I contact regarding problems obtaining a Social Security card?
Who should I contact if I have a question or concern about my exchange visitor program?
Who should I contact regarding my SEVIS registration?
Who should I contact about changing my visa status while I am in the United States?
Where do I obtain a DS-2019?
Are there regulations, which govern the Exchange Visitor Program (J-1 Visa program)?
What is Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility)?
What documents are needed to apply for an Exchange Visitor J-1 Visa?
- Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility) issued by your program sponsor
- Other supporting documents – check the specific embassy or consulate website
- Passport valid for travel to the United States
- Completed Online Form DS-160, nonimmigrant visa application
- Fee receipt showing payment of the $140 visa application fee
- 2x2 photograph, meeting format requirements
For more information about J visas, please see the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ exchange visitor visa website. For detailed information about how to make a visa interview appointment at an embassy or consulate, how to pay the application processing fee and more, go to the visa information on the U.S. embassy or consulate website where you will apply for your visa.
How can I work for an employer other than the program sponsor?
Do I need a sponsor?
The program sponsors are responsible for screening and selecting eligible foreign nationals for participation in their designated exchange visitor program, as well as supporting and monitoring exchange visitors during their stay in the United States.
Refer to the list of designated sponsors and their programs.
As a J-1 Visa holder, am I allowed to work?
A J-1 holder is only allowed to perform the activity listed on his/her Form DS-2019 and as stated in the regulations for that category of exchange.
Do designated sponsors only work in one state?
The addresses listed in the Designated Sponsors List are the official locations of the designated sponsor organizations. Many sponsors can place participants anywhere in the United States, regardless of their official location. Please consult with the individual sponsor for details.
Tax & Immigration Requirements
How can I apply for a waiver of the two-year home-country physical presence requirement?
How do I know if I am subject to the two-year home-country foreign residency requirement?
Will I have to pay taxes on my salary if I am working and receiving wages while on a J-1 Visa?
Check with your sponsor for detailed information about taxes.