7.4.1 Exchange Visitors (J-1s)

7.4.1 Exchange Visitors (J-1s)

The Department of State (DOS) administers the exchange visitor program and designates the sponsors. Responsible officers within the program issue Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status. Exchange visitors come to the United States for a specific period of time to participate in a particular program or activity, as described on their Form DS-2019. Only J-1 exchange visitors may use Form DS-2019 for employment when such employment is part of their program. Currently, DOS designates public and private entities to act as exchange sponsors for the following programs.

Exchange Visitor Programs

  • SECONDARY STUDENT
  • ASSOCIATE DEGREE STUDENT
  • BACHELOR’S DEGREE STUDENT
  • MASTER’S DEGREE STUDENT
  • DOCTORAL STUDENT
  • NON-DEGREE STUDENT
  • STUDENT INTERN
  • TRAINEE (SPECIALTY)
  • TRAINEE (NON-SPECIALTY)
  • TEACHER
  • PROFESSOR
  • INTERNATIONAL VISITOR
  • PHYSICIAN
  • GOVERNMENT VISITOR
  • RESEARCH SCHOLAR
  • SHORT-TERM SCHOLAR
  • SPECIALIST
  • CAMP COUNSELOR
  • SUMMER WORK/TRAVEL
  • AU PAIR AND EDUCARE
  • TRAINEE
  • INTERN
  • Summer Work/Travel: Australia
  • Summer Work/Travel: New Zealand
  • Intern Work/Travel: Ireland
  • WEST (Work/English Study/Travel): South Korea

High school or secondary school students and international visitors are not authorized to work.

Other J-1 students may be authorized by their responsible officer for part-time on-campus employment according to the terms of a scholarship, fellowship or assistantship, or off-campus employment based on serious, urgent, unforeseen economic circumstances. J-1 students may also be authorized for a maximum of 18 months (or, for Ph.D. students, a maximum of 36 months) of practical training during or immediately after their studies. J-1 practical training includes paid off-campus employment and/or unpaid internships that are part of the student’s program of study. Their responsible officer must authorize employment in writing for practical training. Special rules apply to student interns.

Employment for other J-1 exchange visitors is sometimes job- and site-specific or limited to a few months.

For more information about these categories and their employment authorization, contact the responsible officer whose name and telephone number are on Form DS-2019 or the DOS website at exchanges.state.gov.

USICS does not issue EADs (Employment Authorization Documents, Forms I-766) to J-1 exchange visitors. However, they are issued several other documents that, in combination are List A documents and are evidence of employment authorization for J-1 exchange visitors who are not students:

  • Unexpired foreign passport;
  • Form I-94/Form I-94A Arrival Departure Record indicating J-1 non-immigrant status; and
  • Form DS-2019 with the responsible officer’s endorsement.

J-1 students may present the documents above if they also have a letter from the responsible officer authorizing employment.

Or

 List B and List C documents.

For example, the J-1student could present a List B document (such as a state driver’s license) and under List C #7, a Form I-94 in combination with Form DS-2019 and a letter from a responsible officer. The documents by themselves do not qualify. Some exchange visitors may extend their status. If you have questions about any exchange visitor’s continued employment authorization, contact the responsible officer whose name and telephone number are on Form DS-019.

Dependents of a J-1 exchange visitor are classified as J-2 nonimmigrants and are only authorized to work if USCIS has issued them an EAD. A J-2 nonimmigrant’s foreign passport and Form I-94/Form I-94A are not evidence of identity and employment authorization for purposes of Form I-9.

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