Published on: January 23rd, 2022
By: المستشار ماهر الديري

EXCHANGE VISITOR VISA TO THE USA

EXCHANGE VISITOR VISA TO THE USA

Exchange visitor categories include:

Au pair and EduCareShort-term Scholar
Camp CounselorSpecialist
Government VisitorStudent, college/university
InternStudent, secondary
International Visitor (Dept. of State use)Summer Work Travel
PhysicianTeacher
Professor and Research ScholarTrainee

Exchange Visitor Pilot Programs:

Summer Work Travel Pilot Program: Australians
Summer Work Travel Pilot Program: New Zealanders
Intern Work Travel Pilot Program: Irish
WEST (Work, English Study, and Travel) Program: South Koreans

Exchange Visitors cannot travel on the Visa Waiver Program or with Visitor Visas – Exchange visitors who are citizens of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) participating countries are not permitted to travel without a visa on the VWP if their purpose of travel is to participate in an exchange visitor program, as explained below. For more information on the VWP, see Visa Waiver Program. Exchange visitors are not permitted to travel on business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas if their purpose is to participate in an exchange visitor program. All exchange visitors must travel to the United States with exchange visitor (J-1) visas.

Acceptance in Exchange Visitor Program – Before you can apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a J-1 visa, you must first apply for and be accepted into an exchange visitor program through a designated sponsoring organization. Visit the Department of State J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program website to learn about program requirements, regulations, and more.

When you are accepted into the exchange visitor program you plan to participate in, you will be enrolled in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Most J-1 Exchange Visitors must pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee. 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.

Application Fee $160

Required Documentation

Gather and prepare the following required documents before your visa interview:

  • Passport valid for travel to the United States – Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States (unless exempt by country-specific agreements). If more than one person is included in your passport, each person who needs a visa must submit a separate application.
  • Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page
  • Application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before your interview
  • Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. If the photo upload fails, you must bring one printed photo in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements.
  • Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status, Form DS-2019 – A SEVIS-generated Form DS-2019 is provided to you by your program sponsor after the sponsor enters your information in the SEVIS system. All exchange visitors, including their spouses and minor children, must be registered in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Each person receives a separate Form DS-2019.
  • Training/Internship Placement Plan, Form DS-7002 – In addition to the Form DS 2019, participants in the J-1 Trainee and Intern categories require Form DS-7002 (based on Box 7 on Form DS-2019). Learn more about the Trainee and Intern programs.

Legal Rights and Protections

You must read the Legal Rights and Protections pamphlet to learn about your rights in the United States and the protection available to you. Review this important pamphlet before applying for your visa.

Additional Documentation May Be Required

Review the instructions for how to apply for a visa on the website of the embassy or consulate where you will apply. Additional documents may be requested to establish if you are qualified. For example, additional requested documents may include evidence of:

  • The purpose of your travel;
  • Your intent to depart the United States after your travel;
  • Your ability to pay all travel costs; and/or
  • Other documents the consular officer may request.

Evidence of your employment and/or your family ties may be sufficient to show the purpose of your travel and your intent to return to your home country. If you cannot cover all the costs for your travel, you may show evidence that another person will cover some or all costs for your travel.

Additional Information

  • There is no guarantee that you will be issued a visa. Do not make final travel plans or buy tickets until you have a visa.
  • For information about employment, review Exchange Visitors and Employment Authorization on the USCIS website.
  • Spouse and children
  1. Your spouse and unmarried, minor children may be able to apply for J-2 visas to accompany or join you at a later date to reside with you during your J program, if permitted on your exchange program category. While SEVIS fee payment is not required, your sponsor must issue them separate DS-2019 Forms, which are required when they apply for their visas, along with a copy of the primary visa holder’s J-1 visa and proof of relationship.
  2. Your minor children are permitted to attend school while in the United States on J-2 visas and are not required to obtain student (F) visas.
  •  Unless canceled or revoked, a visa is valid until its expiration date. Therefore, a valid U.S. visa in an expired passport is still valid. If you have a valid visa in your expired passport, do not remove it from your expired passport. You may use your valid visa in your expired passport along with a new valid passport for travel and admission to the United States.