Who can apply ?
The Immigration and Nationality Act provides two nonimmigrant visa categories for persons to participate in exchange visitor programs in the United States. The "J" visa is for educational and cultural exchange programs designated by the U.S. Information Agency, (USIA) and the "Q" visa is for international cultural exchange programs designated by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).
The "J" exchange visitor program is designed to promote the interchange of persons, knowledge, and skills in the fields of education, arts, and sciences. Participants include students at all academic levels; trainees obtaining on-the-job training with firms, institutions, and agencies; teachers of primary, secondary, and specialized schools; professors coming to teach or do research at institutions of higher learning; research scholars; professional trainees in the medical and allied fields; and international visitors coming for the purpose of travel, observation, consultation, research, training, sharing, or demonstrating specialized knowledge or skills, or participating in organized people-to-people programs.
The "Q" international cultural exchange program is for the purpose of providing practical training, employment, and the sharing of the history, culture, and traditions of the participant's home country in the United States.
The spouse and minor children of participants in "J" exchange programs may apply for derivative "J-2" visas to accompany or follow to join the principal alien by presenting a copy of the principal's Form IAP-66. They must demonstrate that they will have sufficient financial resources to cover all expenses while in the United States. Dependents may apply to the INS for authorization to accept employment in the U.S. The "Q" exchange program does not provide for the admission of the spouse or children of a participant in a derivative status.
Employment while in "J" exchange visitor status depends upon the terms of the program. Participants in programs which provide for on-the-job training, teaching, research, or other activities which involve paid employment may accept such employment. Participants in programs which do not involve work may not accept outside employment. The "Q" international cultural exchange program specifically authorizes paid employment as part of the program.
Documents required: Application form OF 156
A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant's intended period of stay in the United States. If more than one person is included in the passport, each person desiring a visa must make an application;
One photograph 1 and 1/2 inches square (37x37 mm), showing full face, without head covering, against a light background. For the "J" applicant, a completed Form IAP-66. For the "Q" applicant, a notice of approval, Form I-797. Evidence of sufficient funds.
Where to apply:
A visa processing U.S. embassy or consulate.
Application form download:
Note: Form IAP-66 (for J) or I-129 (for Q) will be prepared by the sponsoring institution/program and not by the applicant himself.
Application form download:
Information provided without warranty of any kind and does not cater for legal consulting purposes. Please check the State Department's website for governmental information.