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Pre-Entry and Arrival

International Visitor Program


International government officials, researchers, specialists and students interact with US Forest Service staff, our partners and their hosting communities in a number of programs. International visitor activities include short study tours, meetings, conferences, workshops, ongoing research projects, observation activities and technical consultations.

Only those who have been issued an official invitation for a specific program will be considered for participation. Additionally, participants must have the appropriate visa type for the specific program and sufficient funding for living expenses and insurance for the duration of the program.

J-1 Visas Chart
J-1 Visas at a Glance
Program Categories
Program Requirements
Time Limitation
Program Authorities
B-1 Visas

Key factors in determining the appropriate visa classification for the international visitor includes the nature of a visitor’s activities (research, observation, seminar or meeting participation, etc.), the visitor’s professional profile, the source of funding (foreign government, US government, grants, other), the types of reimbursements or payments to be made to the visitor and the proposed length of stay. Having the appropriate visa and a record of this on file in International Programs is important for both the visitor and the US Forest Service. Even minor and inadvertent violations of Immigration, Labor and US Forest Service regulations can have serious and irreversible consequences.

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program

In many cases, it is only appropriate for official visitors to enter the USA with a J-1 visa as a part of the Exchange Visitor program. The US Forest Service has been designated by the US Department of State as a program sponsor for the following categories of J-1 exchange visitors:

  • Government Visitor
  • Research Scholar
  • Short-Term Scholar
  • Specialist

Programs in each of these categories have different requirements for participation and maximum lengths. There are also special rules about prior and future program participation and stays in the US . Please click on the following links for additional information:

B-1 Visas

In limited cases, a B-1 visa (temporary visitor for business) may be appropriate for short-term activities. This might be the case when an international visitor will attend a short meeting and no US government funding will be used for the visit. It is important to distinguish between the B-1 visa is issued for business purposes and the B-2 visa issued to internationals entering the US for travel or pleasure. In some cases, when in compliance with immigration and international revenue service regulations, certain reimbursements may be made to B-1 holders, but similar reimbursements are strictly prohibited for B-2 visa holders. Please click on the following chart for more information:

As regulations are complex, it is best to contact the International Visitor Program Coordinator to discuss your proposed program activities and immigration classifications.

If you have any questions, please contact:

  • Brenda Dean , International Visitor Program Coordinator, Responsible Officer, (202) 644-4640,
  • Rima Eid, International Visitor Program Specialist, Alternate Responsible Officer, (202)644-4642,
  • Kristin Corcoran, International Visitor Program Specialist, (202) 644-4643,
  • Misty Sidhu, International Visitor Program Specialist, (202) 644-4645,
  • Ashlee Jackson, International Visitor Program Specialist, (202) 644-4644,
  • Lee Blaser, International Visitor Program Specialist, (202) 644-4631,


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