The ABC's of Immigration: J-1 Visas


The J-1 visa is given to those who will be entering the US to participate in an approved educational or cultural program. It is one of the more complex types of visas, so we will be breaking our coverage of it into three articles. In this first article, we deal with the visas themselves, while later articles will address J-1 program designations and waivers of the two-year home residency requirement.

The J-1 non-immigrant visa category was created to promote educational and cultural exchange activities between the United States and other countries. First begun in 1948, the J-1 exchange visitor program is presently overseen by the State Department. The program went through a major overhaul in 2003 with the implementation of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). The program requires the J sponsors to track their exchange visitors and report certain changes in their program or personal information, as well as other activities, electronically. Also, the SEVP has implemented a new exchange visitor fee of $100 for each J visitor, effective September 1, 2004. The exchange visitor program is credited with exposing millions of foreign visitors to the United States , its peoples, cultures, business techniques and educational institutions.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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