Exchange Visitors

Exchange visitor (J) status is granted for a variety of activities intended to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and the people of other countries. The J program has various categories into which a visitor may fit depending upon their primary activities while in the U.S. 

We only sponsor the following categories.

College/University Students

Foreign students have the opportunity to study at American degree-granting post-secondary accredited academic institutions or participate in a student internship program that will fulfill the educational objectives of the student’s degree program in his or her home country. Learn more about how we support exchange students.

Research Scholar/Professor

This program provides foreign professors and research scholars the opportunity to engage in research, teaching and lecturing with their American colleagues for up to five years.

Short-term Scholar

Through the foreign scholars program, individuals are given the opportunity to exchange ideas with their American colleagues, participate in educational and professional programs, confer on common problems and projects, and promote professional relationships and communications for six months or less.

If you are interested in exploring the possibility of inviting a research scholar/professor or short-term scholar to engage in research, teaching, lecturing or other form of participation in educational programming, please contact Brittany Marinelli, director of international education, at to complete required paperwork and explore the possibilities.

The One-Year Bar

There is a one-year bar rule which affects the research scholar/professor categories. The one-year bar is a feature of the J research scholar category which prevents someone from using the program for an extended period of time without returning home. 

Any person who has been in the U.S. in J-1 student or J-2 status in the preceding 12-month period will not be eligible for the research scholar or professor categories of the J visa for a period of one year. 

In other words, if you have been a J student and have just completed academic training, you may not continue your employment or training by applying to become a J-1 exchange visitor in the research scholar or professor category. Likewise, J-2 dependents whose spouse has just ended their J program may not apply for their own J-1 status in the research scholar or professor category for a period of one year. 

There is no waiver available for the one-year bar rule.