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International Visitor Program

PROGRAM REGULATIONS

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program and “J” immigration status are unique. There are many special regulations associated with this program. Please click on the following links to learn more. For more detailed information, please read the Program Handbook.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Failure to abide by any of these rules can result in program termination and deportation from the United States .

Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-2) Status: Form DS-2019: The Responsible Officer of the US Forest Service International Visitor Program issues Form DS2019 to prospective participants. This form is required to apply for a J-1 visa.

Program Start & End Dates: The proposed and approved program activities may only take place during the official program period. Extensions are only possible within the maximum duration of the particular program category.

30-Day Grace Period : A J-1 visa holder may enter the US up to 30 days before or after the program start date. They MUST exit the US no later than 30 days after the end date listed on the DS-2019. No program activities may take place outside the official program dates. The grace period is to allow for personal travel and cultural exchange.

Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-2) Status: Form DS-2019
Program Start and End Dates
30-Day Grace Period
Financial Support - Sufficient Funds
2-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement
24-Month Bar
Mandatory Health Insurance
Required Check In and Validation
10-Day Notice of Any Move
Notification of Changes in Program Sites or Activities
Travel Outside the US During Program
Program Progress Reports
Notification of Departure
Dependents (J-2 Visa Holders)
Employment and Taxes

Financial Support - Sufficient Funds: All participants must have sufficient funds or financial support to cover living expenses and insurance for their entire programs. The minimum is $1150/month. If dependents are approved, this minimum is increased by $500/month for a spouse and $333/month for each child.

2-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement: J-1 visa holders who are on a special skills list or sponsored by the US Government or their home governments are subject to Section 212(e) of the Immigration Act, which states they are not eligible for an H or L visa, or legal permanent resident status until they have spent 2 years in their countries of residence. They may still be eligible for other visa classifications during that period

12-Month Bar: Individuals who have been present in the United States in any “J” classification other than short-term scholar and who have participated in a program of more than six months are not eligible to start a new program as a Professor or Research Scholar until 12 months after the completion of their last program. However, they may be eligible to transfer from one program sponsor to another.

24-Month Bar: Individuals who have been present in the United States as a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar are not eligible to repeat participation as a Professor or Research Scholar until 24 months after the completion of the previous program. There are no exceptions for participation in a program of less than 6 months. Professors and Research scholars can transfer from one program sponsor to another during the 5-year period, but once the continuity of the 5-year period is broken, the 2-year waiting period begins.

Mandatory Health Insurance: Health insurance meeting U.S. State Department minimum requirements is mandatory for all J-1 visa holders. Failure to have this insurance during any period of the program is a violation of status

Required Check In and Validation: The Responsible Officer must be notified of an exchange visitor’s arrival so their record and program can be “validated” in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

10-Day Notice of Any Move: International visitors must report within 10 days any move to a new residence or location. The Responsible Officer must enter this into the SEVIS system within 10 days. Visitors who do not report moves are considered in violation of their immigrations status and their programs will be terminated.

Notification of Changes in Program Sites or Activities: Any new sites of activity must be reported to the Responsible Officer before the activity begins. Any activities not covered by original program description must also be reviewed and approved by International Programs to ensure compliance with regulations.

Travel Outside the US During Program: J-1 Visa holders must have their DS-2019 form endorsed by the Responsible Officer before traveling outside the US if they intend to return in J-1 status.

Program Progress Reports: Long-term visitors must complete progress reports and final evaluations. Short-term visitors must complete final evaluations.

Notification of Departure: Participants must report their final departure dates to the Responsible Officer. Failure to leave within 30 days after the program end date can result in future denials of applications for any classification of visa to enter the USA.

Dependents (J-2 Visa Holders): If approved by the program host, a spouse or children under age 18 can accompany the J-1 program participant as long as sufficient funding has been demonstrated. Dependents are subject to all J-1 regulations, including the 2-year home country presence requirement .

Employment and Taxes: Employment outside official program activities is strictly prohibited. However, some program participants do receive maintenance allowances or reimbursements. International Visitors are responsible for complying with US tax law and reporting earnings as appropriate for their situation.

MPORTANT NOTE: Failure to abide by any of these rules can result in program termination and deportation from the United States .


If you have any questions, please contact:

  • Brenda Dean , International Visitor Program Coordinator, Responsible Officer, (202) 644-4640, bdean@fs.fed.us
  • Rima Eid, International Visitor Program Specialist, Alternate Responsible Officer, (202)644-4642, rimaeid@fs.fed.us
  • Kristin Corcoran, International Visitor Program Specialist, (202) 644-4643, kacorcoran@fs.fed.us
  • Misty Sidhu, International Visitor Program Specialist, (202) 644-4645, mksidhu@fs.fed.us
  • Ashlee Jackson, International Visitor Program Specialist, (202) 644-4644, ashleejackson@fs.fed.us
  • Lee Blaser, International Visitor Program Specialist, (202) 644-4631, leeablaser@fs.fed.us


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