The State Department has an educational and cultural exchange website that contains a wealth of information on the types of programs that are available and on finding an accredited organization to sponsor your exchange.
“J” visa applicants should immediately identify themselves as such to the call center in order to get a timely appointment. Please visit our site How to Apply for more information on scheduling an appointment.
To obtain an exchange visitor visa, an exchange program in the US must first accept you. You must be issued form DS-2019, which is generated in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and supplied by the accepting institution, to confirm that you are enrolled. Applications cannot be processed without the appropriate SEVIS form. In addition, every applicant, including spouses and children planning to accompany, must be properly registered with SEVIS. For long-term training programs, US Embassy Paris requires “J” visa applicants to submit evidence of academic credentials and information on the training program.
The State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs maintains a comprehensive website dedicated to “J” exchange programs to the US, including Au Pair and English language programs. Please visit http://j1visa.state.gov/programs where you will find a list of designated sponsoring organizations that will be able to issue you the required DS-2019 and SEVIS form for over 3900 different programs. Contact the organization directly from more information on their programs. You may also try this list of J1 agents (PDF 22KB).
To qualify for a “J” visa, you need to overcome the presumption in Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) that all visa applicants are intending immigrants. You can overcome this presumption by providing evidence that you have strong, binding ties to your home country and that you have no intention of abandoning your residence abroad. Please see our page Supporting Documents. Applicants must also demonstrate sufficient funds or adequate arrangements to cover their expenses while on exchange in the US.
Spouses and children under the age of 21 of J visa holders are eligible to accompany the principal applicant to the US as long as he/she demonstrates the means to support his/her family while in the US. Couples must be legally married to qualify for such derivative visas, as the status of "concubinage" is not recognized by US immigration law. The pacte civil de solidarité, commonly known as a PACS, is not recognized by US immigration law. In addition to the basic documentation (separate DS-160 confirmation pages and DS2019s, etc.), the spouses and children of J visa holders must submit marriage and birth certificates demonstrating their relationship to the principal applicant.
What to Bring to your Visa Interview
Please bring the following documents to your visa interview:
- A valid passport
- DS-160 online application confirmation page
- One photograph taken within the last 6 months
- Original DS-2019 issued by a sponsoring organization
- Proof of payment of SEVIS Fee
- Documentation supporting your visa application
- Interns, trainees and student interns are also required to provide a DS-7002 - Training/Internship Placement Plan.
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