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All about J-1

J-1 Internship programs are designed to allow foreign College and University students or Exchange Professor/Research Scholars to come to the United States to gain exposure to U.S culture and to receive hands-on experience in U.S business practices in their chosen occupational field. 


The J-1 Visa provides countless opportunities for international candidates looking to travel and gain experience in the United States. The multifaceted programs enable foreign nationals to come to the U.S. to teach, study, conduct research, demonstrate special skills or receive on the job training for periods ranging from a few weeks to several years.


Form DS-2019

The Form DS-2019 or "Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status" is the basic document used in the administration of the exchange visitor program.

This form permits a prospective exchange visitor to seek an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in order to obtain a J visa to enter the United States.

The Form DS-2019 identifies the exchange visitor and their designated sponsor and provides a brief description of the exchange visitor’s program, including the start and end date, category of exchange, and an estimate of the cost of the exchange program. 

Checking Text on a Document

How can I obtain a Form DS-2019?

Designated sponsors are authorized to issue this form to prospective exchange visitors they have screened and selected for participation in the exchange visitor program. The information in this form is completed by the sponsor prior to being given to the participant, who once given the DS-2019, can apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate for the J-1 visa.
Issuance of the J-1 visa, like all non-immigrant visas, is at the discretion of Consular Officers viewing visa applications at U.S. embassies and consulates. This means that even if you are accepted to an exchange visitor program and have received your DS-2019, the Consular Officers decide if you receive the J-1 visa.


Program Sponsor

Only State Department-designated sponsors (Columbia College) are authorized to issue the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status (Form DS-2019), which is the basic document to support an application for an exchange visitor visa (J-1 Visa). Sponsors screen and select prospective exchange visitors based on the criteria set forth in the governing regulations (22 CFR Part 62).



  • Currently enrolled College/University Students

  • Trainees obtaining on-time-job training with firms, institutions, and agencies

  • Professors coming to teach or do research at institutions of higher learning 

  • Research Scholar

  • International visitors coming for the purpose of travel, observation, consultation, research, training, sharing, or demonstrating specialized knowledge or skills, or participating in organized people-to-people programs

Privileges of J-1

  • Enter the U.S and participate in exchange visitor program approved by the U.S Department of State

  • Travel in and out of the U.S or remain in the U.S continuously till the completion of your exchange visitor program

  • Apply for dependent visas for your spouse as well as unmarried dependent children under 21

  • Work legally in the U.S. if work is part of your approved program or if you receive permission to work from the official program sponsor

  • Apply for and receive work permits for accompanying relatives

Limitations of J-1

  • Restrict yourself to studying, working or other wise participating in the special exchange program for which your visa has been approved

  • First be accepted as a participant in the program approved by the DOS before you apply for J-1 visa

  • Return to your home country for at least two years before you are permitted to get a Green Card or change to another non-immigrant visa status. This is true if you are an exchange visitor participating in a certain type of program

How long can I stay in the U.S on J-1 VISA?

When you enter the U.S. on an exchange visitor visa, you will usually be admitted for the duration of your program. The final decision on how long you may stay in the U.S. is made by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Inspector at the port of entry/airport.

Can I extend my stay on

Yes, you may apply for J1 visa extension, which may be granted as long as it is necessary to complete the program. However, extensions for J-1 are not easy because the length of the stay is usually granted for the period considered reasonable for the type of program.

Can I change status while on

Exchange visitors participating in certain types of programs may be required to return to their home countries for at least two years before they are permitted to adjust status from J-1 visa to Green Card or apply for change of status. If not subject to the home residency requirement you may change status in the U.S.

J-1 category

Student Intern

  • This program is designed to allow foreign College and University students to come to the United States to gain exposure to the culture and industries

  • Focused on Internship

  • Program Length: Maximum 12 month

Student Associate

  • The program is designed to allow foreign College and University students to participate in academic programs in Colleges and Universities in the United States

  • Focused on School Works Internship is available nationwide

  • Program Length: Maximum 24 month

Research Scholar

  • This category is for a foreign national who enters the United States for the primary purpose of conducting research, observing or consulting in connection with research projects at research institutions, corporate research facilities, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited academic institutions, or similar types of institutions. A Research Scholar may also teach or lecture, unless disallowed by the sponsor

  • The Research Scholar's appointment to a position shall be temporary, even if the position itself is permanent

  • Incidental lectures or short-term consultations are permitted with the approval of the responsible officer so long as they are directly related to the objectives of the participant's program, and do not delay the exchange program's completion date

  • Spouse and dependents are eligible for J-2 VISA

  • Program Length: Maximum 5 years

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