The activities of international visitors and maintenance allowances to cover living expenses may be funded in full or part by the US Government, foreign governments or partner organizations depending on the agreement spelled out in the participant's letter of invitation.
To facilitate these exchanges, the US Forest Service is authorized by the US Department of State to serve as an official sponsor of International Exchange Visitor (J-1) Programs. The objective of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is “to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges.” [Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act (Fulbright-Hayes Act of 1961)].
The Exchange Visitor program is often referred to as a “J-1 Program” because the “J-1” class of visa is issued to international professionals and students invited to the United States to participate in educational and cultural exchange activities. Please click on this link for more information on J-1 status and the authorities and agencies governing this program.
In some cases, it may be appropriate for international visitors to enter the US on a B-1 visa, which might be the case for meeting attendees who will not receive any US government support for their stay from the US Government or foreign governments. Regardless of the visa classification, the host unit must submit an International Visitor Activity Proposal to International Programs to record the visit and verify if a B-1 visa is appropriate.
The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is very unique and has many special rules which regulate participation. Hosting units and international visitors should thoroughly review and understand the Program Regulations. Please review all information provided on this website and in the program Handbook.
To learn more about the program, please click on any of these links to the right above or below.