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The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is intended for participants to visit America and connect broadly with Americans, share their culture, improve their English language abilities, and learn new skills or develop skills that will help them in their future careers. The US State Department has designated more than 1,500 for profit, non-profit, or federal, state and local government entities to conduct private exchange programs. Participants on private sector programs may teach, study, do research, share their specialized skills or receive on-the-job training.
There are 15 different categories of participants under the J-1 visa Program:
1. Professors - Promote the exchange of ideas, research and links between research and academic institutions in the US and foreign countries.
2. Research Scholars - Promote the exchange of research and links between research and academic institutions in the US and foreign countries.
3. Short-term Scholars - Professors, scholars, and other accomplished individuals travel on a short-term visit to lecture, observe, consult, train, or demonstrate special skills at U.S. research and academic institutions, museums, and libraries.
4. Trainees - Professionals with a degree, professional certiﬁcate, or relevant work experience gain exposure to U.S. culture and receive training in U.S. business practices through a structured and guided work-based program.
5. Interns - College and university students or recent graduates gain exposure to U.S. culture as they experience U.S. business practices in their chosen occupational ﬁeld.
6. College and University Students - Students study at a U.S. degree granting post-secondary accredited academic institution, participating in a degree, non-degree, or student internship program.
7. Teachers - Educators teach full-time at a U.S. accredited primary or secondary school or in an accredited pre-kindergarten program.
8. Secondary School Students - Secondary school students study at an accredited public or private high school and live with an American host family or at an accredited boarding school.
9. Specialists - Experts in a ﬁeld of specialized knowledge observe U.S. institutions and methods of practice and share their knowledge with their U.S. colleagues.
10. Alien Physicians - Foreign medical graduates pursue graduate medical education or training at a U.S. accredited school of medicine or scientiﬁc institution, or pursue programs involving observation, consultation, teaching, or research.
11. Camp Counselors - Post-secondary students, youth workers, teachers or others with specialized skills interact with and supervise American youth at U.S. camps.
12. Au Pairs - A young adult lives with a host family for 12 months and experiences U.S. culture while providing child care and taking courses at an accredited U.S. post-secondary institution.
13. Summer Work Travel Program - College and university students at foreign universities gain ﬁrst-hand experience as they work in seasonal or temporary jobs and travel in the United States during their summer.
14. Government Visitors - Distinguished international visitors develop and strengthen professional and personal relationships with their American counterparts in U.S. federal, state, or local government agencies.
15. International Visitors - Reserved for State Department-sponsored and funded exchange participants.
J-1 Program Sponsors screen and select their participants according to the eligibility criteria for each program category. Standard eligibility criteria for the Sponsor and the Participant are: