Every month, some 170,000 foreigners obtain the J-1 visa in the United States.

  1. What Is the J-1 Visa for?

For facilitating foreigners entering the United States to participate in various educational programs or cultural exchanges.

  1. J-1 Visa Programs

They are very different, although they have common conditions, but they are also unique to each program.

  • Au pair or nanny.
  • College student, within a program to complete university studies carried out in their country of origin.
  • Summer camp monitor.
  • Visitor invited by the federal government, one of the states or municipalities or one of its agencies.
  • Training programs for professionals (NGOs).
  • Physicians who carry out studies or practices.
  • University professors or researchers in the medium term.
  • University professors or researchers for a short period of time, e.g. a lecture, a demonstration, etc.
  • High school students to pursue their studies in a public or private institution.
  • University students who work and travel in summer.
  • Teachers (teachers can also obtain an H-1B visa).


  1. Steps to Obtain a J-1 Visa

The main thing is to have a sponsor. The J-1 visa can only be sponsored by a public or private institution which has been specifically designated by the U.S. government.

The sponsor must send the foreigner a document known as DS-2019. It is not possible to apply for this visa without this document.

  1. Visa Application

You must complete the DS-160 document online, pay an appropriate fee, and submit specific documents for each program depending on the place where the application is made (follow instructions on the DS-160). Finally, you may go to the consulate with all the papers and the receipts of the fees paid.

  1. Can I Bring Family During the Exchange Program?

In most cases, spouses and dependent underage children may apply for a J-2 visa. Nevertheless, there are programs that do not accept this possibility: babysitting, monitor summer camp, high school studies, and work or travel programs in summer.

  1. Obligation to Leave the Country at the End of the J-1 Program, and not Return for two Years.

Some programs are subject to this mandate when participation in the program is funded by the government of the sponsored country or the United States, or when it comes to doctors. This also applies when the participant has knowledge or skills that are required by his country.