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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, volunteering 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, security clearance,  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 J-1 exchange visitor categories:

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

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-1visa (temporary visitor for business) may be appropriate for short-term activities.  This might be appropriate when an international visitor will attend a short meeting.  It is important to distinguish between the B-1 visa issued for business purposes and the B-2 visa issued to internationals entering the US for travel or pleasure. When in compliance with immigration and other government 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 an International Visitor Program Specialist to discuss your proposed program activities and immigration classifications.

F-1 Visas

Students already in the United States on an F-1 Student Visa may be eligible for periods of Optional Practical Training or Curricular Practical Training with the US Forest Service or another USDA agency.  Please contact an International Visitor Program Specialist to discuss these programs.

Exchange Visitor Program Categories
Click here to view a larger version.

Participation Chart

> 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,
  • Lee Blaser, International Visitor Program Specialist, (202) 644-4631,
> Click here and read about latest activities and news of the International Visitor Program.


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