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Reserved for individuals who are participating in approved exchange visitor programs in the United States, the J-1 visa category is a great option for individuals who have a temporary purpose in a predefined category.  The specific categories for which a J-1 Visa may be obtained are:

-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

The Department of State has primary responsibility for approving exchange programs and sponsors of these programs, which are aimed at facilitating cultural and educational exchange.  A first step in obtaining a J-1 visa is finding the right sponsor of the program and ensuring that the applicant meets all of the program sponsor's requirements.  Some categories have many program sponsors, so choosing an appropriate sponsor becomes important.  On the other hand, for physicians, the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) is the only Designated Sponsor Organization.  In all cases, a J-1 visa applicant must obtain the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (DS-2019), which may be issued only by State Department-designated sponsors.

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Most J-1 applications can be obtained by working with sponsor organizations. However, all J-1 visa applicants must demonstrate nonimmigrant intent before they are issued the visa.  Nonimmigrant intent requires the applicant to demonstrate to the consular visa officer that he or she intends to visit the United States for a temporary period of stay and that he/she has residence abroad that is not abandoned.

J-2 visas, which are issued to dependent family members are eligible to receive work authorization incident to status.

Please contact our office should you have questions regarding J-1 visas.