Exchange-Program Visa

J Visa & Q Visa

J and Q visas allow foreign nationals to enter the U.S. to exchange artistic, academic and scientific knowledge and skills and share the history and culture of their native country.

The J visa is for:

  • secondary school, college or university students
  • teachers or professors
  • research or short-term scholars
  • nonacademic specialists
  • physicians
  • camp counselors
  • au pairs
  • summer students in travel or work programs
  • visitors whose purpose is traveling, observing, consulting, researching, training, sharing or demonstrating specialized knowledge or skills or participating in organized people-to-people programs

The Q visa is for noncitizens coming to the U.S. to provide practical training, employment and information about the history, culture and traditions of the person’s home country in the U.S., such as traditional dance troupes and musicians performing traditional music from their home country.

J Visa Requirements

People seeking a J visa must demonstrate sufficient financial means to support themselves during the entire length of their stay in the U.S. They must have the academic training and English-language skills necessary to support their participation in their particular program. English skills are not required if the exchange program is designed to accommodate non-English speakers.

Q Visa Requirements

Q visa exchange visitors do not need to show financial support because they are paid by their employing sponsor at the rate equal to similarly employed local domestic workers. They must be at least 18 years old and able to effectively communicate information about the culture, history and traditions of their country.

J Visa for Medical Education and Training

Noncitizens seeking a J visa to obtain graduate medical education or training must pass the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination in Medical Sciences and possess competent English-language skills. They are subject to time limits on the duration of their education or training and may be required to return to their home country for two years after the end of the program. Physicians coming to the U.S. to observe, consult, teach or conduct research and who will have little or no patient care are not subject to these requirements.

Last update: Sept. 24, 2008

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