About the Program

Who can Participate

How to Apply

The U.S. Forest Service facilitates the participation of international visitors in a broad variety of educational and cultural exchange programs in the United States.  These exchange programs foster greater understanding, advance scientific exchanges and promote cooperation among peoples of many cultures and countries.

The USFS International Visitor Program (IVP) team assists international government officials, researchers, specialists and students participating in short study tours, meetings, conferences, workshops, trainings, internships, ongoing research projects and technical consultations with U.S. Forest Service staff, USDA researchers, higher education institutions and hosting communities.

Whether you have already identified a program with a USDA colleague or are just starting to explore opportunities for individualized training, research exchanges, or group activities, we encourage you to contact the IVP team at internationalvisitorprogram@fs.fed.us. We will be happy to guide you through the process. Applicants interested in attending the International Seminars can click here to learn more.

Visitors are issued official invitations, which include guidance on what type of visa will be required for their specific program. Invitation letters also outline the funding and health insurance that will be required for the duration of the program or terms of sponsorship.


International visitor activities, living expenses, and travel costs may be funded in full or in part by the U.S. Government, foreign governments, academic institutions, or partner organizations as agreed upon and documented in the participant’s letter of invitation or training plan.


The appropriate visa for an international visitor’s activity is dependent on a number of factors: what they will do, how long they will stay, the sources of their funding, and their qualifications. Prospective participants and program hosts should contact IVP staff to discuss the most appropriate visa classification for a particular exchange program. In most cases, a J-1 exchange visitor visa is required but contact IVP to find out if a B-1 business or F-1 student visa may be appropriate. 

The U.S. Forest Service is authorized by the U.S. 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 these links for more information on J-1 visas, J status, and the authorities and agencies governing this program.