The limits of a personís stay in
each type of program, as well as the activities allowed in each program, are
Academic and Government
visitor category is for the exclusive use of U.S. federal, state, or local
government agencies. Government visitors shall be authorized to participate in
the Exchange Visitor Program for the length of time necessary to complete the
program, which shall not exceed 18 months.
this category include editors, business and professional persons, government
officials and labor leaders. The objective of this category is to develop and
strengthen professional and personal ties between key foreign nationals and Americans
and American institutions. Selected foreign nationals, recognized as
influential or distinguished persons and who are selected by US federal, state,
or local government agencies, participate in observation tours, discussions,
consultations, professional meetings, conferences, workshops, and travel. These
people-to-people programs enable government visitors to better understand
American culture and society, and to contribute to American knowledge of
Visitor category is for the exclusive use of the Department of State. The
international visitor shall be authorized to participate in the Exchange
Visitor Program for the length of time necessary to complete the program, which
shall not exceed one year.
foreign nationals who are recognized as potential leaders participate in
observation, tours, discussions, consultation, professional meetings,
conferences, workshops, and travel. The objective of these programs is to
develop and strengthen professional and personal ties between key foreign
nationals and Americans and American institutions. These people-to-people
programs enable international visitors to better understand American culture
and society, and to contribute to American knowledge of foreign cultures.
and Research Scholars
in these program categories, foreign professors and research scholars engage in
research, teaching, and lecturing with their American colleagues. Alien
physicians in graduate medical education or training and short-term scholars
are not included in this category.
participant shall not be a candidate for a tenure track position. Also,
professor and research scholar participants may not be in the United States in
J-visa status for any part of the 12-month period preceding the start date of
their programs, indicated on their Form DS-2019. The 12-month bar is waived if
the participant is 1) present in the United States no more than six months; or
2) participating in the Short-Term Scholar category.
discretion of the responsible officer, professors may freely engage in research
and research scholars may freely engage in teaching and lecturing; this will
not be considered a change of category. Incidental lectures or short-term
consultations are permitted with the approval of the responsible officer so
long as they are directly related to the objectives of the participant's
program, and do not delay its completion date. Please consult the regulations
duration for both categories is five years. The responsible officer may extend
a participant's program for up to six months to allow the research scholar or
professor to complete a specific project or research activity. Extensions for a
period longer than six months must be approved in writing by the Department of
State. The responsible officer should submit a written request to the
Department on behalf of the participant, no less than 60 days prior to the
expiration of the participant's permitted three-year period. The fee for
extension requests, payable to the Department of State at the time of
application, is $198.
scholar is a professor, research scholar, or person with similar education or
accomplishments who visits the United States to lecture, observe, consult,
train, or demonstrate special skills at research institutions, museums,
libraries, post-secondary accredited educational institutions, or similar types
The duration of
the program is the time needed to complete the objective, up to a maximum of
six months. The minimum program duration of 3 weeks for any Exchange Visitor
Program category is waived for participants in this category. Extensions are
scholars may participate in the Exchange Visitor Program at conferences,
workshops, seminars, or other events listed their Forms DS-2019. Participants
may also lecture or consult at institutions not listed on the Form DS-2019 if
the responsible officer issues a written authorization for such activity. The
authorization must be attached to the participant's Form DS-2019.
experts in a field of specialized knowledge or skill, who come to the United
States to observe, consult, or demonstrate special skills. (Professors,
research scholars, short term scholars, and alien physicians are excluded from
this category.) Some examples of fields represented include mass media
communication, environmental science, youth leadership, international
educational exchange, museum exhibitions, labor law, public administration, and
The purpose of
the specialist category is to facilitate exchange among experts at scientific
institutions, government agencies, museums, corporations, libraries, and
similar types of institutions. The maximum duration of this category is one
provides foreign students the opportunity to study at a degree-granting
post-secondary accredited educational institution. Students may participate in
degree and non-degree programs.
students are eligible to participate in this category if at any time during
their college studies in the United States they or their program are financed
directly or indirectly by the United States Government, the government of their
home country, or an international organization of which the United States is a
member by treaty or statute, or if they are supported substantially by funding
from any source other than personal or family funds. Students are also eligible
if their program is carried out pursuant to an agreement between the United
States Government and a foreign government, or pursuant to written agreement
between American and foreign educational institutions, an American educational
institution and a foreign government, or a state or local government in the
United States and a foreign government.
are in degree programs shall be authorized to participate in this category as
long as they either study at the post-secondary accredited educational
institution listed on their Form DS-2019 or participate in an authorized
academic training program, as permitted in [22 CFR 62.23(f)].
Students admitted to non-degree programs shall be authorized to participate in
the Exchange Visitor Program for up to 24 months if they are studying at the
post-secondary accredited educational institution listed on their Form DS-2019
or participating in an authorized academic training program, as permitted in [22
CFR 62.23(f)]. Students in either degree and non-degree programs must
pursue a full-time course of study, as defined in [22 CFR 62.23(e)],
and maintain satisfactory advancement toward the completion of their academic
program. Before issuing the Form DS-2019 sponsors determine that their
participants have the academic credentials required for their program, and
ensure that they have been admitted to the post-secondary accredited
educational institution listed on the Form DS-2019.
this category are required to maintain a full course of study as defined in [22
CFR 62.2], except (1) during official school breaks and summer
vacations if the student is eligible and intends to register for the next term;
or because (2) of an illness or medical condition; (3) for a bona fide academic
reason; (4) they are engaged full time in a prescribed non-degree program for
up to 24 months; (5) they are engaged in authorized academic training; or (6)
they require less than a full course of study to complete their academic
requirements during the final term. To justify a reduction or interruption in
studies for medical or academic reasons, students must present the responsible
officer a written statement from a physician or from the academic dean or
advisor, respectively, recommending such a course of action.
participate in academic training with or without wages or other remuneration
during their studies with the approval of the academic dean or advisor and the
in academic training programs for wages or other remuneration must be
authorized in writing and in advance by the responsible officer for the
duration and type of academic training. It may take place during the student's
studies or may commence no later than 30 days following the completion of the
student's studies if the (1) student is in the United States primarily to study
rather than engage in academic training; (2) academic training is directly
related to the student's major field of study at the post-secondary accredited
educational institution listed on the Form DS-2019; and (3) student is in good
The duration of
the academic training is the length of time necessary to complete the goals and
objectives of the training, provided that the amount of time for academic
training is approved by the academic dean or advisor and the responsible
officer. Academic training for undergraduate or pre-doctoral students may not
exceed 18 months, inclusive of any prior academic training in the United
States, or the period of full course of study, whichever is less. However,
academic training for a longer period is allowed to the extent necessary for
students to satisfy the mandatory requirements for their degree programs.
Academic training for postdoctoral students does not exceed 36 months,
inclusive of any prior academic training in the United States, or the duration
of the student's full course of study in the United States, whichever is less.
A new Form DS-2019 is issued for every 18-month period of academic training for
requesting academic training are explained in the category regulations, at [22
CFR 62.23(f)(5)]. Please refer to this citation for details.
this category may engage in part-time employment under certain conditions,
including good academic standing at the post-secondary accredited institution
indicated on the Form DS-2019. The employment must be pursuant to the terms of
a scholarship, fellowship or assistantship, and must occur on the premises of
the institution at which the student is authorized to attend. Employment may be
off-campus only if the student is in serious, urgent, and unforeseen economic
circumstances that have arisen since acquiring exchange visitor status. The
employment cannot total more than 20 hours per week except during official
school breaks and during the student's annual vacation, and students must
continue a full course of study except for official school breaks and the
student's annual vacation. The responsible officer must approve the employment
in advance and in writing. Approval may be valid for up to 12 months, but is
automatically withdrawn if the student's program is terminated.
pertaining specifically to the College/University Student category are found at
[22 CFR 62.23].
Please refer to the category regulations for details on the screening and
selection of the students and the sponsor's administrative obligations and
category, foreign medical graduates may pursue graduate medical education or
training at accredited schools of medicine or scientific institutions. Program
participants in this category are sponsored solely by the Educational
Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).
To be eligible,
foreign medical graduates must meet several criteria including, but not limited
to, the following. They must have adequate prior education and training, and
pass any of several qualifying exams, identified in the regulations. Competency
in oral and written English is required. Program participants must provide a
statement of need from the government of the country of their nationality or
last legal permanent residence, and an agreement or contract from a U.S.
accredited medical school, an affiliated hospital, or a scientific institution
to provide the accredited medical education.
pertaining specifically to the Alien Physician category are found at [22 CFR
Please refer to the regulations for details.
the Au Pair program foreign nationals between 18 and 26 years of age
participate directly in the home life of a host family by providing limited
childcare services for up to 12 months. Childcare is limited to no more than 10
hours per day, and to a maximum of 45 hours per week.
pairs are compensated for their work according to the Fair Labor Standards Act
as interpreted and implemented by the US Department of Labor. Participants in
the Au Pair program must be proficient in spoken English, and are required to
complete at least six hours of academic credit or its equivalent at an
accredited US post-secondary educational institution. Host families are
required to pay up to $500 toward the cost of the au pair's required academic
pair participants may not be placed with a family having an infant aged less
than three months unless a parent or other responsible adult is at home.
Neither may au pairs be placed in homes with children under two years of age
unless the au pair has at least 200 hours of documented infant childcare
experience. Au pairs are not to be placed in families with a special needs
child, so identified by the family, unless the au pair has specifically
identified prior experience, skill, or training in caring for special needs
children and the host family has reviewed and acknowledged the stated prior
experience, skills, or training in writing. Regulations pertaining specifically to the Au
Pair category are found at [22 CFR 62.31]. Please
refer to the regulations for details.
are required to screen and select both host families and au pairs as program
participants according to selection criteria stated in the regulations.
Interested parties should contact the sponsoring organizations directly to
obtain additional information regarding their program. All au pairs are to
receive specific orientation and program information from the sponsor prior to
departure from their home countries for the United States. Please refer to the
regulations for details. Pre-arrival information for all exchange visitors is
defined at [22 CFR 62.10(b)(1-8)] and specifically for au
pairs at [22 CFR 62.31(f)]. Orientation material
(post-arrival) is defined at [22 CFR 62.10(c)(1-7)]. Selected
host families also receive specific information from the sponsor. Orientation
for host families is discussed in the regulations at [22 CFR
sponsor is to provide au pairs with training in child development and child
safety prior to their placement with a host family. A minimum of eight hours of
child safety instruction, of which at least four relate to infants, and a
minimum of 24 hours of child development instruction, of which at least four
relate to children under two years of age, are required.
families and au pairs must sign a Host Family-Au Pair Agreements prior to the
au pair's placement in the host family's home. In the event of questions
regarding refunds or other adjustments host families and au pairs should refer
to their agreements. The Department of State does not have jurisdiction over
Au Pair program includes the EduCare component. The EduCare component is only
for families who have school-aged children and require childcare before and
after school hours. Accordingly, au pairs participating in the EduCare
component may not be placed with families having preschool children, unless
alternative, full-time arrangements are in place for their supervision. The
EduCare au pair may work no more than 10 hours per day, and a maximum of 30
hours per week. Au pairs participating in the EduCare component receive 75
percent of the weekly rate paid to au pairs. EduCare au pairs must complete a
minimum of 12 hours of academic credit or its equivalent during the program
year. The host family is required to provide (up to) the first $1,000 toward
the cost of the au pair's required academic course work. Please refer to the
regulations for details.
interact directly with groups of American youth by overseeing their activities
in a camp setting during the U.S. summer season. Non-counseling chores may be
an occasional part of camp life; however, program participants do not serve as
"staff" — including (but not limited to) administrative
personnel, cooks, or menial laborers such as dishwashers or janitors. Foreign
university students, youth workers, and other specially qualified individuals
at least 18 years of age and proficient in English may work as counselors in
U.S. Summer camps for up to four months. Extensions are not permitted.
participants must be placed prior to their arrival in the United States at
camping facilities which are either accredited; a member in good standing of
the American Camping Association; or affiliated with a nationally recognized
nonprofit organization; or inspected, evaluated, and approved by the sponsor.
receive pay and benefits commensurate with those offered to their U.S.
counterparts. Sponsors must provide information on the duties, responsibilities
and contractual obligations relative to accepting a camp counselor position to
their participants prior to departure from the home country.
high school exchange program, foreign secondary school students enter the
United States to complete up to one year of academic study at an accredited
public or private secondary school. During their stay, participants live with
American host families or reside at accredited U.S. boarding schools. Students
attend school as full time students and may attend for not less than one
academic semester (or its quarter equivalent) or more than a full academic
participants are between the age of 15 and 18-and-a-half years at the time of
initial school enrollment (by the first day of school), or have not completed
more than 11 years of primary and secondary school (excluding kindergarten).
Students who have previously participated in an exchange program are ineligible
for participation in the high school program.
Prior to the
students leaving their home country, program sponsors are required to provide
them with all travel arrangements and a profile of the school, host family and
community in which they have been placed. Students and their parents should be
made aware whether their host family is considered an arrival (temporary)
family or a permanent family for the school year.
take part in school sanctioned extracurricular activities, including athletics,
if the school district and the state authority responsible for determining
athletic eligibility approve their participation. Students may not be employed
on a part- or full-time basis, but may accept occasional work such as yard work
organizations may not under any circumstance facilitate the entry of any
foreign student into the United States without a school placement. They must
obtain written notice of a participant's acceptance by the school from the
principal or other authorized school administrator. Sponsors may not enroll
more than five students in one school unless so requested in writing by the
organizations are required to screen all potential host families with whom
participating students are placed. Sponsors ensure that the family can provide
a comfortable and nurturing home environment, and has adequate financial
resources to undertake hosting obligations. Under no circumstances will a
sponsor facilitate the entry of any student for whom a host family placement
has not been secured. A second student may be placed with a host family only
with the prior
written approval of the Department of State.
pertaining specifically to the High School category are found at [22 CFR 62.25]. Please refer to the program
regulations for details on the screening and selection of the students, host
families, and the sponsor's administrative obligations and procedures.
category foreign post-secondary students may enter the United States to work
and travel for a maximum of four months during their summer vacations. While
most participants enter the United States with prearranged employment, sponsors
are required to place only 50 percent of their participants each year. Sponsors
must ensure that participants entering the United States without prearranged
employment have sufficient financial resources to support themselves during
their search for employment. In addition, sponsors must provide such
participants with information on how to seek employment and secure lodging in
the United States before they depart their home countries, and with a job
directory that includes at least as many job listings as the number of
participants in their program who are entering the United States without
prearranged employment. Finally, sponsors must undertake reasonable efforts to
secure suitable employment for participants unable to find jobs on their own
after one week.
Sponsors are to
advise program participants about Federal Minimum Wage requirements, and are to
ensure that participants receive the same pay and benefits as received by their
American counterparts in the same or similar positions.
regulations permit participants to repeat the program more than once. However,
sponsors are required to limit the number of repeating participants to no more
than 10 percent of the number of their previous year's participants.
regulations prohibit the placement of program participants as domestic help in
U.S. households or in positions requiring them to invest their own money for
inventory, such as door-to-door sales. Most participants typically work in
non-skilled service positions at resorts, hotels, restaurants, and amusement
parks. Summer internships in US businesses and other organizations (i.e.,
architecture, science research, graphic art/publishing and other media
communication, advertising, computer software and electronics, and legal
offices, etc.) are allowed. However, the term of the internship may not exceed
the four-month program duration, and must be completed during the student's
pertaining specifically to the Summer Work/Travel category are found at [22
Please refer to the regulations for details.
Through this program,
foreign nationals are afforded opportunities to teach in primary and secondary
accredited educational institutions in the United States for up to three years.
To be eligible to
participate in this program, foreign nationals must meet the qualifications for
teaching in primary or secondary schools in their country of nationality or
last legal residence, have a minimum of three years of teaching or related
professional experience, and satisfy the standards of the US state in which
they will teach. They must also be of good reputation and character, and
seeking to enter the United States to teach full time at a primary or secondary
accredited educational institution in the United States. Sponsors are required
to evaluate the qualifications of their applicant participants to determine
that the above criteria are met and applicant participants are proficient in
the English language, and to secure references from colleagues and current or
former employers attesting to the applicants' good reputation, character, and
Sponsors may issue a
completed Form DS-2019 only to their selected program participants who have
received a written offer of a teaching position from the accredited institution
at which they will teach, and who have accepted the position in writing. The
location of that institution/s is to be indicated on the Form DS-2019, and
participants may teach only at the institution/s and at locations where the
institution/s is involved in official school activities (for example, field
trips and teacher training programs). The appointment of program participants
in a teaching position is temporary, even if the teaching position is permanent.
Also, the position is to be in compliance with any applicable collective
bargaining agreement, where one exists.
As part of the required
pre-departure materials, sponsors are to provide their participants with the
duration and location/s of the participants' program
summary of the significant components of the program, including a written
statement of the teaching requirements and related professional
written statement that clearly states the compensation, if any, to be paid
to the exchange visitor teacher and any other financial arrangements
relevant to the program
specifically to the Teacher category are found at [22 CFR 62.24]. Please refer to the program regulations for details about
this category and the sponsor's administrative obligations.
and Flight Training
pertaining specifically to the Trainee category are found at [22 CFR 62.22]. Regulations pertaining
to academic training for foreign students studying at post-secondary accredited
educational institutions in the United States are found at [22 CFR 62.23]. Regulations pertaining
to medical trainees are found at [22 CFR 62.27].
program provides exchange visitors the opportunity to enhance their skills in
their chosen career field through participation in a structured training
program and to improve their knowledge of American techniques, methodologies,
or expertise within their field of endeavor. Such training shall not duplicate
a trainee participant's prior training and experience. Use of the Exchange
Visitor Program for ordinary employment or work purposes is strictly
prohibited. Sponsors may not place trainee participants in positions which are
filled or would be filled by full-time or part-time employees.
duration of any training program, with the exception of flight training
programs, shall not exceed 18 months. The actual duration of a participant's
training program shall correspond to the length of the program stated in the sponsor's
designation language and indicated on the participant's Form DS-2019 form.
of State defines occupations into specialty, non-specialty and unskilled
occupational categories. Training programs for unskilled occupations are not
permitted. See Appendix E
for list of unskilled occupations.
training programs are for participants who have completed a four-year degree in
their field or a recognized professional certificate. Non-specialty training
programs do not require participants to have completed a degree. However,
program participants must have at least two years of education, training or
experience in the field in which they are to receive training. Definitions for
specialty and non-specialty training may be found at [22 CFR 62.2].
opportunities are offered to eligible foreign nationals under the sponsorship
of legal entities designated by the Department of State to administer a
training program at the specialty and/or non-specialty levels in the following
broadly-defined occupational categories:
- Arts and
Media and Communications
Social Sciences, Library Science, Counseling and Social Services
Business, Commerce and Finance
- The Sciences,
Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics, and Industrial Occupations
and Building Trades
Forestry and Fishing
Administration and Law
designated in any combination of occupational categories, specialty and/or
non-specialty levels, and for specified periods that may not exceed 18 months.
Sponsors may provide training for only those fields within the occupational
category/ies for which they have been designated, provided they are not
otherwise prohibited from doing so. Sponsors may not provide training beyond
the occupational category, level, and program duration identified in their
directly responsible for all aspects of their program, including the selection,
orientation, training, supervision, and evaluation of the trainee. Sponsors
must ensure that:
and/or entities providing the training possess and maintain the
demonstrable competence to provide the offered training;
plant, equipment, and trained personnel are available to provide the
- Prior to
the start of the training program a detailed training plan that responds
to defined objectives for each trainee or group of similarly-situated
trainees is developed;
knowledge, and competence are imparted to the trainee through a structured
program of activities which are supportive and appropriate to the training
supervision and periodic evaluation is provided for each trainee.
In addition to
the pre-arrival information specified in [22 CFR 62.10], the
sponsor also provides the information stated below to participants prior to
their departure from their home countries.
- A written
statement which clearly states the stipend, if any, to be paid to the
- The costs
and fees for which the trainee will be obligated.
estimate of living expenses during the duration of the trainee's stay.
- A summary
of the training program which recites the training objectives and all
significant components of the program.
To ensure the quality
of the training program, sponsors are required to develop evaluation procedures
for trainees in their program. As a minimum, evaluations must include midpoint
and concluding reports, completed by the trainees and their immediate
supervisors, signed by both parties. Training courses of less than three months
duration require only one evaluation report at the conclusion of the training
permits sponsors to use a third party in the conduct of the designated training
program. However, the sponsor's use of a third party does not relieve the
sponsor of its obligation to comply, and to ensure the third party's
compliance, with all applicable regulations. Any failure on the part of the
third party to comply with all applicable regulations is imputed to the
The sponsor and
the third party must execute a written agreement that delineates the respective
obligations and duties of the parties and states the third party's obligation
to act in accordance with the Exchange Visitor Program regulations.
In addition to
complying with the regulations for Training programs, sponsors applying for
designation of a flight training program must also meet the following
program must be a Federal Aviation Administration certified pilot school
according to Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 141.
program is accredited as a flight training program by an accrediting
agency listed in the current edition of "Nationally Recognized
Accrediting Agencies and Associations" (U.S. Department of
Education), or is accredited as a flight training program by a member of
the Council on Post-Secondary Accreditation. If the sponsor is not
accredited at the time of application, it must have formally commenced the
accreditation process. Programs pending accreditation may be designated
for 12 months; continued designation is predicated on the successful
completion of the accreditation process.
maximum program duration for Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certification
is 24 months. The maximum program duration of all other flight training
programs is 18 months total. Requests for extension must be submitted to
the Department of State for approval.
- To meet
the evaluation requirement for training programs, sponsors and/or third
parties conducting the flight training may use the same training records
required by the Federal Aviation Administration to be maintained pursuant
to 14 CFR 141.101.
Please refer to
the program regulations for specific details about the trainee category,
including details regarding the application process for designation of training
The information contained in this web page is intended strictly to be used for information purposes and to educate the public in a general manner. The information contained in this page should not be considered legal advice, legal consultation, expressed or implied representation or a formal or an informal retention of this office. To create a formal attorney-client relationship a retainer must be signed and a fee must be paid to this office. Our response to any of your questions, comments, concerns etc. does not establish an attorney-client relationship. By responding to your questions we do not consider ourselves your attorneys. The response to your questions is strictly informational in nature and should not be considered or used as legal advice in any manner. The information contained on this site is general information on immigration laws and issues. The general information that is included in this web page will not cover the various exceptions and loopholes that are prevalent in the Immigration laws. We hope that our web page will educate you and hopefully enhance your understanding of Immigration laws.