Nonimmigrant Visas: Study & Exchange

Student Visas

Any individual that would like to attend a university, college, high school, private elementary school, seminary, conservatory or other academic institutions, including a language training program, requires an F visa to study in the United States.

For students attending vocational or other recognized nonacademic institutions, other than a language training program, an M visa is generally the appropriate category.

Exchange Visitor

The exchange visitor (J) nonimmigrant visa category is for individuals approved to participate in exchange visitor programs in the U.S.  Only those persons who are approved to participate in exchange visitor programs in the U.S. qualify for this visa.

Exchange visitors are not permitted to travel on business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas if their purpose is to participate in an exchange visitor program.  All exchange visitors must travel to the United States with exchange visitor (J-1) visas.

Before you can apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a J visa, you must first be accepted for one of the Exchange Visitor Program categories through a designated sponsoring organization.

Visit the Department of State’s J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program website to learn about program requirements, regulations, and more.

Questions regarding an exchange visitor program should be directed to the exchange program sponsor.

When you are accepted into the exchange visitor program you plan to participate in, you will be enrolled in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).  Most J-1 Exchange Visitors must pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee.  Visiting the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) website to learn more about SEVIS and the SEVIS I-901 Fee.