J Visa Overview

The J visa is for participants in the US Department of State’s Exchange Visitor Program.  More than 200 countries are represented and there are over 300,000 J visa’s issued by the US every year.

There are many categories of J visa programs.  These include:

College and University Students

Professors and Research scholars

Short Term Scholars





Au Pairs

Summer Work/Travel Programs

Secondary School Students


Camp Counselors

The J visa is a non-immigrant visa.  J visa holders are in the US for a defined period of time, and then return to their home country.

How do you get a J visa?

The US Department of State has approved sponsors for the J visa programs. The include the government, academic institutions and schools, research institutes, and cultural exchange programs. You will need a sponsor to qualify for a J visa. Sponsors have their own screening and selection requirements.

Once you have a sponsor, they will issue you a DS-2019.  You will need your DS-2019 to apply for your J visa.  If your spouse or child is coming with you to the US, they will need a J2 visa, while the exchange participant receives a J1 visa.


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