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The J-1 Cultural Exchange Visa

The J-1 visa is a temporary nonimmigrant visa type that allows foreign nationals to come to the united states to gain some skills or training in the fields of education, arts, and science. The J-1 visa allows the foreign national to live and work in the United States for 18 months, to develop their skills.

You may apply for the J-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy in your home country if:

  • you are between the ages of 20 to 36
  • you hold a bachelor’s degree or post-secondary diploma and
  • you can demonstrate English proficiency by taking the TOEFL exam
  • you find a sponsor through the U.S. Department of State that is willing to employ you to provide the training you will need for the position you are seeking
  • you have a training plan provided to you by your designated company outlining what you will be doing while working for the company

A J-1 visa applicant must be sponsored by a designated public or private entity in an exchange program approved by the U.S. Department of State. The J-1 visa applicant can only work for the U.S. company and/or organization listed on Form DS-2019.

Professors or scholars, research assistants, students, trainees, teachers, au pairs, camp counselors etc. are example of exchange visitors who may qualify for the J-1.

Employment is authorized for J-1 nonimmigrants only under the terms of the exchange program. Once the duration of stay has expired, the J-1 applicant must return to their home country.

For more information about the J-1 visa please click here.

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