Common Asked Questions for J-1 Visa Basics

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Basics Question about J-1 Visa:


  1. Can I apply for an extension?

Ans: Yes, your program sponsor may extend your program up to its maximum length. If an extension is granted, a new Form DS-2019 will be issued to you reflecting the change.

  1. How long does it take to obtain a J-1 Visa?

Ans: The wait time for an interview and processing for a J-1 Visa varies from country to country and is based on your individual circumstances. Learn more about interview wait and processing times by visiting and select Visa Wait Times. We encourage you to apply as soon as possible. Please note that exchange visitors beginning new programs may not enter the United States more than 30 days before their program start date.

  1. What is the purpose of the exchange visitor program (J-1 Visa program)?

Ans: The Exchange Visitor Program fosters global understanding through educational and cultural exchanges. All exchange visitors are expected to return to their home country upon completion of their program in order to share their exchange experiences.

  1. Where do I apply for an exchange visitor J-1 Visa?

Ans: Once you obtain a Form DS-2019 from a Sponsor, you may apply for an exchange visitor J-1 visa at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in your country of residence. Also, if you are married, your spouse and any children can apply for an exchange visitor (J-2) visa when you apply, or join you after you are in the United States if the exchange category in which you are participating permits an accompanying spouse and/or dependents (i.e. regulations prohibit an accompanying spouse in the categories of Camp Counselor, Summer Work Travel, Au pair and Secondary School Student).   In some cases an individual sponsor’s program will not permit a spouse or dependents to accompany their participants. If you are married and/or have dependents who you wish to bring to the United States with you, inquire about this issue when seeking a sponsor.