Exchange Visitor

Exchange visitors, or a J-1 classification, may be approved for individuals intending to participate in programs that have been approved and are for the purpose of receiving training, receiving graduate medical education, demonstrating special skills, consulting, conducting research, observing, studying, lecturing, instructing, or teaching.

Private and public entities are designated by the Department of State in the carrying out of the Exchange Visitor Program responsibilities. These private and public entities act as exchange sponsors. An exchange program sponsors J-1 immigrants which is United States Department of State designated. These programs were initially meant to encourage the interchange of science, arts, fields of education, skills, knowledge, and/or persons.

Exchange visitor examples can include but would not be limited to the following individuals:

  • Camp counselors
  • Nannies
  • Specialists
  • Teachers
  • Trainees
  • Students
  • Research assistants
  • Scholars or professors

In the administering of the J-1 exchange visitor program, a primary role is played by the United States Department of State. Step one in the application process is the submission of a Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status Form DS-2019. Your sponsoring agency can provide this form and should work closely with you by assisting you in the completion of the required process. The person that will issue this form is called an ARO or Alternate Responsible Officer or RO, Responsible Officer. In order to be issued a DS-2019, the ARO or RO will explain what documents are required.

J-1 visa holder family members such as under 21 unmarried children or spouses are entitled to J-2 classification regardless of nationality. Special, additional considerations apply here.

Though not applicable in all situations, some individuals considered J-1 immigrants enter the United States for work only. Again, special considerations do apply.