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Pre-Entry and Arrival

International Visitor Program


The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program and “J” immigration status are unique.  There are many special regulations associated with this program that are specific to J-1 educational and cultural exchange programs.  Please click on the following links to learn more.

ARROW J-1 Exchange Visitor Program & J-1 Visas: Authorities

Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status: Form DS-2019: The US Forest Service International Visitors Program (IVP) Specialists are designated as Alternate Responsible Officers and issue the  Form DS2019 to prospective participants. This form is required to apply for a J-1 visa.

ARROW Maintaining Lawful Immigration Status

Program Start & End Dates: The proposed and approved program dates define the period of time during which the approved program activities can occur. Extensions are only possible within the maximum duration of the particular program category and if they are mutually agreed upon by the host and visitor.

arrow Required Check In and Validation: Exchange Visitors must be notify their Program Specialist of their arrival and provide the required documents so their record and program can be “validated” in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

arrow 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.

arro 12-Month Bar: Individuals who have been present in the United States in any “J” classification other than as a short-term scholar and who have participated in a program of more than 6 months are not eligible to start a new program as a Professor of 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 depending on their particular program. 

arrow 24-Month Bar: Individuals who have been present in the US as a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar are not eligible for repeat participation as a Professor or Research Scholar until 24 months after completing the previous program. Professors and Research scholars can transfer from one program sponsor to another during the 5-year maximum program duration, but if at any point the program is ended, the 2-year waiting period begins. This bar does not apply to “Short-Term Scholars,” whose programs are for a maximum of 6 months.

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.

Mandatory Health Insurance: Health insurance meeting US 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 immigration status.

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

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

 a Changes in Program Site or Activities: Any new sites of activity must be reported to an IVP Program Specialist before the activity begins. Any activities not covered by original program description must be reviewed and approved to ensure compliance with regulations.

 a Program Extensions

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

Program Completion and Departure Reports: Participants must report their final departure dates to an IVP Program Specialist. Failure to leave within 30 days after the program end date is considered ‘overstaying a visa’ and 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 21 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.  International Visitors are responsible for complying with US tax law and reporting earnings as appropriate for their situation.

For more information on J-1 Program or other immigration regulations, please visit the following websites:

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,
  • 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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