Exchange Visitor or “J” visas are nonimmigrant visas to the United States for exchange workers and students.
Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Exchange visitor (J) visas are nonimmigrant visas for individuals approved to participate in exchange visitor programs in the United States.
You need to have a foreign address which you will be returning to when your study is complete.
You need to be a bone fide student who is qualified to undertake the course of study.
You need to have sufficient funds to support yourself and have health insurance whilst in the U.S..
Your enter in to the U.S. needs to be for a temporary period.
Your study needs to be at a SEVP certified institution.
Acceptance in Exchange Visitor Program.
The first step is to apply to a SEVP-approved school in the U.S.. After the SEVP-approved school accepts your enrollment, you will be registered for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and then pay the required fee. The SEVP-approved school will issue you a Form I-20. After you receive the Form I-20 and register in SEVIS, you may apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a student (F or M) visa. You must present the Form I-20 to the consular officer when you attend your visa interview. If your spouse and/or children intend to live with you in the United States while you study, they must also enroll in SEVIS, obtain individual Form I-20s from the SEVP-approved school, and apply for a visa (but they do not pay the SEVIS fee).
Unlike, the F-1 visa, you are not allowed to work in the U.S., but upon completion in some cases, you may take part in an Optional Practical Training (OPT) program after school ends.
An exchange visitor visa (J) is required to participate in an exchange visitor program in the United States. Foreign nationals may not study after entering on a visitor (B) visa or through the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).