J-1 Visa

The J-1 Visa or Exchange Visitor Program was first implemented in 1961 as part of the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961. The motivation behind this act was to promote the understanding of other cultures by the people of the United States and likewise the understanding of the American culture by people of other countries through educational and cultural exchanges.

A J-1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa available to aliens that fall under the designation of “Exchange Visitor”. To obtain a J-1 Visa, your sponsor must be accredited through the Exchange Visitor Program designated by the U.S. State Department.

Certain classes of J-1 “Exchange Visitor” require that the alien return to his/her home country or country of last permanent residence for a period of two (2) years after the completion of the J-1 status if:

  • the J-1 program is financed by the U.S. government or the government of the alien’s home country;
  • the home country of the alien has a shortage of people with skills that the alien has; or
  • the alien receives medical training as interns or residents.


Individuals who qualify for J-1 status if sponsored through an accredited Exchange Visitor Program include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Secondary School and college students, including students working towards a graduate degree;
  • Business trainees;
  • Trainees in flight aviation programs;
  • Primary and secondary school teachers;
  • College professors;
  • Research scholars;
  • Medical residents or interns receiving medical training within the U.S; and
  • Specialists.

For more information for obtaining a J-1 visa home requirement waiver, please click here.