Exchange Programs Visa

J1 Summer Work Travel (SWT)

College and University students enrolled full time and pursuing studies at post-secondary accredited academic institutions located outside the United States come to the United States to share their culture and ideas with people of the United States through temporary work and travel opportunities. Ask at your University about the Program.

J1 Summer Work and Travel (SWT): Click here for 2016/2017 season news. (PDF 407 KB)

J Visas

This visa category is designed for applicants planning to participate in programs approved by the US Department of State to teach, study, research, demonstrate special skills or receive training, or to participate in a program to receive graduate medical education.

The category also includes programs approved by the US Department of State to place people into firms, institutions and other agencies for on-the-job practical training in specialized fields for periods not exceeding 18 months. Attendance at English language programs and seminars, workshops or short courses directly related to the practical training may be allowed.

The J visa also enables visitors to travel for observations appropriate to practical training, to train in US techniques and methodology, to contact American counterparts, and to promote cross-cultural contacts between workers, professionals, researchers and students in the general interest of international exchange. This may include camp counselor, seasonal work such as at ski resorts and summer camps or as au pairs.

Before applying for a visa, you must have been accepted into an approved program. Evidence of your acceptance is the form DS-2019, sent directly to you by the US sponsor and registration in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

You may make this payment:

  • Through the Internet at http://www.fmjfee.com/ using a credit card and filling in the form I-901;
  • Through mail sending the completed form I-901 and a check or a payment order to a bank in the US (payable in American dollars and sent to DHS’ address published in the form I-901);
  • Through third parties such as a school or a sponsor.
  • Through selected sponsors of an exchange program that send group payments;

Residency Rules

Many programs under the J-category are supported partially or wholly by government agencies. If they are, or if the applicants are to receive graduate medical education or training regardless of source of finances, a condition for accepting a J-visa prohibits J-visa beneficiaries from applying for immigration to the US and for certain work visas (H and L-visas) until the applicants have resided and been physically present in their own country of nationality or last residence for at least two years. This condition may also apply if the area of study or research is included in a skills list agreed to by the US Department of State and the applicant’s government. Before accepting a J-visa, you should inquire if this condition applies.

For persons wishing to participate in medical programs, there may be additional requirements. You can ask about these requirements by writing to

Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG)
3624 Market Street, Level 4,
Philadelphia, PA 19104-2685
Phone: 1-215-386-5900

Directions for J-1 Applicants with Program Numbers starting with G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-7

If you are going on a J1 visa as part of a U.S. government sponsored program and your program number on your DS-2019 begins with G-1, G-2,  G-3, or G-7, you should follow a different procedure since you do not need to pay the SEVIS fee or MRV Visa Application fees.

  • Once you have your DS-2019 and verified that your program number begins with G-1, G-2,  G-3, or G-7, fill out the DS-160 electronic application at https://ceac.state.gov/genniv. After completing the application, print the barcode page.
  • Once you have completed your DS-160, go to window 1 at the Embassy (located at Avenida Colombia 4300) any business day between 9 and 11 a.m. (except for holidays and administrative days).  You do NOT need to register or schedule an appointment in our Visa Information Service.  Please bring with you a valid passport, your DS-160 barcode confirmation page, and a 5X5 cm (2X2 inches) passport style photo taken against a white background.
  • If your visa is approved, the officer will let you know the way to pick up your passport.