Temporary Exchange Visitor Visas Are Available to Qualified Immigrants

The exchange visitor program is available to some immigrants who meet the qualifications. These temporary exchange visitor visas are also known as J-1 visas. Immigrants must be part of a qualifying work-study exchange program in order to apply for this type of visa. The J-1 exchange visitor program, sometimes referred to as the EVP program, is managed through the Department of State (DOS).

Types of Exchange Options

There are opportunities for exchange visas in a number of different areas of interest. Designated sponsors include federal, state, and local government as well as both non-profit and for profit entities. Exchange students are the most common type of applicants, but there are many other available choices as well. Some of the most popular exchange alternatives include:

  • University Interns
  • Professional Trainees
  • Au Pairs
  • Students
  • Specialists
  • Research Scholars
  • Doctors
  • Summer Camp Counselors
  • Teachers

The exchange program is designed for a temporary stay in the United States and is generally considered to be some type of learning experience.

Requirements for the J-1 Visa

The requirements may vary based on the type of program that you wish to participate in. You must obtain a Form DS-2019 from your sponsor. Then, the applicant must apply through the embassy or consulate office in his home country. Some programs allow the spouse or children of the applicant to travel with him or her, while others do not. Consult with your sponsor to determine whether this is permitted. It is important to note that an exchange visitor may not enter the United States more than 30 days prior to the start of the program.


In some cases, a person may need to extend their J-1 visa. Extensions or adjustments are possible sometimes, for example, if there is an unusual or exceptional circumstance.  First, you must obtain a new DS-2019 form from your sponsor. Then, an approval must be obtained by the program officer. Extensions are granted on an individual basis, and not all extensions are approved.

Program Completion

After the end of the exchange program, the immigrant is required to return to his home country. Waivers may be possible, but speak with a qualified immigration attorney or the sponsor. The USCIS, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, allows a grace period of 30 days for travel. This grace period lets program participants prepare to return to their country. During this period, they may not work. The temporary exchange visitor program can be complex. If you have any questions or need guidance, speak with a qualified immigration attorney before you begin the process.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Temporary Exchange Visitor Visas, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at  480.461.5330, log on to udallshumway.com,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.