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International Visitor Program


The US Forest Service facilitates the participation of international visitors, who have been invited by various US Government Agencies, in a broad variety of educational and cultural exchange programs in the United States. These exchange programs are intended to foster greater understanding, advance scientific exchanges and promote cooperation among people of many cultures and countries.

International government officials, researchers, specialists and students participate in short study tours, meetings, conferences, workshops, ongoing research projects, technical consultations with US Forest Sevice staff and hosting communities, and education programs.

Program Design
J-1 Visas
Health Insurance
Maintenance Allowance - Reimbursements
Exchange Visitor Program Orientations
Required J-1 Program Monitoring and Reporting

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.

Program Design: We are happy to assist with understanding the numerous regulations affecting international participation in programs.

Visas: International Programs screens program applications, facilitates required security name checks and issues Form DS-2019, the document necessary to apply for a J-1 visa.

Health Insurance: Health insurance is required for all J-1 visa holders. We facilitate the payment of premiums on one of our special policies which cover medical expenses, emergency evacuation and repatriation of remains in case of death.

Maintenance Allowance - Reimbursements: International Programs can provide debit cards to international visitors which allow immediate access to funds.

Exchange Visitor Program Orientations: International Programs provides in-depth program orientations covering J-1 program regulations, cultural adaptation and an introduction to US customs and culture. We also provide ongoing support and assistance with immigration, personal adjustment and administrative issues.

Required J-1 Program Monitoring and Reporting: International Programs is responsible for monitoring changes of address, program activities, arrival dates and completion dates. As an official J-1 Exchange Visitor Program sponsor, we maintain records and data in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and communicate as necessary with the US Departments of State and Homeland Security.

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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