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J-1 Exchange Visitor

The aim of the J-1 visa is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries and to develop lasting and meaningful relationships through these exchanges.

The J-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that enables the foreign national to participate in an exchange visitor program in the U.S, designated by the Department of State. The foreign visitor exchange programs designated by the Department of State include: au pair, camp counselor, student, government or international visitor, foreign physician, professor, research or short-term scholar, specialist, summer student in travel / work program, teacher, and trainee.

The exchange visitor must apply for approval by the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The period of time for a J-1 visa is temporary, limited, and specific. The J-1 visitor must be fluent in the English language and be able to maintain sufficient funds and medical insurance. The visitor must also be able to demonstrate strong social and economic ties abroad or other relevant ties sufficient to show intention of returning to their home country after the end of the program.

Certain J-1 visitors are restricted from returning to the U.S. for two years. In these cases, the visitor must return to his/her home country after the program is completed and is not permitted to return to the U.S. for a period of two years.

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Statutory authorization for this type of non-immigrant visa can be found in Section 101(a)(15)(J)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act at the following link:
The requirements are further detailed in 8 CFR § 214.2(j), and available at: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2008/janqtr/pdf/8cfr214.2.pdf.

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