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USCIS application procedures: Exchange Visitors (J-1) Trainees & Nanny/Au Pair
Exchange Visitors (J-1) Trainees & Nanny/Au Pair
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The "J" exchange visitor program is designed to promote the interchange of persons, knowledge, and skills in the fields of education, arts, and sciences.

The State Department must designated the organization as a sponsor, the organization may participate in the program through an intermediary which acts as the sponsoring agency.




Who Can Apply?

  • Participants include students at all academic levels; trainees obtaining on-the-job training with firms, institutions, and agencies; teachers, professors coming to teach or do research, research scholars; professional trainees, and international visitors coming for the purpose of traveling, observing, consulting, conducting research, training, sharing, or demonstrating specialized knowledge or skills, or participating in organized people-to-people programs.
  • You must have been accepted in to a U.S. Department of State approved exchange visitor program.
  • You must prove that you have the financial resources to cover your expenses while in the United States. This may include a scholarship or stipend from the participating organization.
  • Must have a reasonable knowledge of English unless the program was specifically designed for non-English speakers. In some cases you may be required to take an English Proficiency test.
NOTE ON NANNIES: U.S. visa law prohibits anyone admitted into the United States as a visitor from working as an au pair, nanny or mother's helper. Anyone seeking employment as a child care provider is required to obtain an exchange visitor (J-1) visa through the sponsorship of an approved exchange visitor program overseen by the Public Affairs Division of the Department of State.

Accompanying spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of J-1 visa holders can get J-2 visas which allow them to stay in the United States, but not work here.

The holder of an exchange visitor J-1 visa, may enter the United States up to 90 days before the designated start date on the DS-2019 along with form DS-157 and DS-158 and DS-156. He or she may remain for up to 30 days following the completion of the program.

How do I Apply?
    There are 2 general steps in the application process for an J-1 Visa.

  • Your sponsor organization must complete a Certificate of Eligibility (form IAP-66 or DS-2019). The organization will then send this form to you and you will submit it with your visa application.
  • You will complete your application for a J-1 visa. The application procedures may be carried out either within the U.S. at a USCIS office, or abroad at the U.S. consulate of your country of residence.

What do I do Now?
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