The J-1 Visa is a special nonimmigrant visa type which enables foreign nationals the opportunity to participate in the U.S Department of State’s Exchange Visitor Program (“EVP”). The EVP provides opportunities for around 300,000 foreign visitors per year to experience United States (U.S.) society and culture and engage with Americans. There are fifteen different categories under the J-1 visa program. Exchange visitors may study, teach, do research, share their specialized skills, or receive on-the- job training for periods ranging from a few weeks to several years. EVP participants are young leaders and entrepreneurs, students, fledgling and more seasoned professionals eager to hone their skills, strengthen their English language abilities, connect with Americans, and learn more about the U.S.
Most individuals choosing to come to the U.S. on a J-1 visa exchange program are funded privately. J-1 visa exchanges include a cultural component that gives participants the opportunity to engage more broadly with Americans and share their own cultures with their U.S. host communities. They return home eager to stay connected, to expand their networks, and to explore future exchange opportunities as “citizen ambassadors.”