J-1 Exchange Visitor Program
Mission & Objectives
The U.S. Department of State (DoS) designates U.S. academic institutions to conduct educational and cultural exchange programs under the authority of the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961. The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, also known as BridgeUSA, fosters global understanding through educational and cultural exchanges. Exchange visitors are expected to return to their home country upon completion of their program in order to share their exchange experiences. Georgetown is designated as a J-1 Exchange Visitor Program sponsor. Sandra Galib is the Responsible Officer administering Georgetown’s J-1 Exchange Visitor Program. More information on the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program can be found on the DoS Website.
The J-1 Visa & Status Eligibility
All Exchange Visitors must apply for J-1 visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad. Exchange Visitors may come to Georgetown in any of the following non-immigrant categories: student, research scholar, professor, short-term scholar, specialist, and student intern. To obtain the visa, applicants must show the Consular Official that they meet eligibility criteria:
- Students must be financed directly or indirectly by the U.S. government, the government of their home country, an international organization of which the United States is a member by treaty or statute, or supported substantially by funding from any source other than personal or family funds,
- Students must be participating in the exchange program based on an agreement between the U.S. government and a foreign government, or according to a written agreement between American and foreign educational institutions, an American educational institution and a foreign government or a state or local government in the United States and a foreign government; or
- Student must be coming to the United States to pursue a degree or a non-degree program in a prescribed course of study and must be enrolled full time. The maximum duration of a non-degree program is 24 months, inclusive of Academic Training (AT).
- Student Interns must be enrolled in, and pursuing a degree at, an accredited postsecondary academic institution outside the United States and be participating in a student internship program that will fulfill the educational objectives for their degree program in their home country.
- Scholar must be coming to the United States to conduct research, teach or participate in other scholarly activity for a temporary period.
Exchange Visitors must also meet English language requirements, and display a willingness to comply with all regulatory requirements associated with J-1 status. Please review the F-1/J-1 Comparison Chart (PDF) for more information.
Exchange Visitor Program Regulations and Requirements
- Participants are selected for programs well suited to the Exchange Visitor’s background, educational needs, and experience.
- Review the Exchange Visitor Welcome Brochure (PDF) that Georgetown sends with the DS-2019 Form
- J-1 Exchange Visitors are required to participate in all aspects of Georgetown orientations
- Exchange program must be in-person. A limited amount of telework for scholars (maximum 1-2 days per week) is allowable until June 30, 2023.
- Students must meet all criteria for admission and maintain full-time enrollment in the program of study.
- Health Insurance Requirement:
- Participants and any J-2 dependents (spouses and minor unmarried children under the age 21) accompanying them are required to carry medical insurance at the minimum benefit levels stated in the program regulations. Program sponsors are required to ensure that all participants have the appropriate medical insurance. Sponsors will verify that the participant’s medical insurance meets the regulatory requirements, and will facilitate the purchase of coverage for participants who do not have their own insurance, or whose coverage does not meet the requirements. Participants interested in obtaining appropriate medical insurance should contact the Responsible Officer. Willful failure on the part of the participant and/or any J-2 dependents to maintain active insurance coverage is grounds for termination from the program. Please refer to the regulations for details.
- Two-Year Home Residence Requirement
- Certain Exchange Visitors (J-1) are subject to a two-year home-country physical presence requirement which requires return to the Exchange Visitor’s home country for at least two years at the end of the Exchange Visitor Program. This is also known as the foreign residence requirement under U.S. law, Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 212(e)
- Reporting Requirements:
- Report address and telephone information information and any changes within 10 days.
- Report any change to the dates of their program (late arrival, early departure or completion, J-2 dependents early departure).
- Request Post-Completion Academic Training (AT) prior to the Form DS-2019 end date (for students).
- Request authorization for payment for occasional lecture or short-term consultation in advance (for J-1 scholars).
- Complete evaluations of their internship and training experiences (for J-1 Student Interns and Students participating in Academic Training).
- Georgetown will maintain Exchange Visitor records for 3 years following completion of the J-1 program.
- Contact your IS Advisor before planning to be outside the United States for more than 30 days in order to request “out of country” authorization if you will be continuing your J-1 program activities outside the U.S. The majority of time during the J-1 program must take place in the U.S. Note: The annual winter break and summer vacation are exceptions to this rule for students and professors.
- Georgetown will approve limited training and employment authorization for students – all training must be directly related to a student’s major field of study, the position must contain less than 20 percent unskilled labor, including clerical or office support work, and requires a written AT Evaluation at the conclusion of the experience. Georgetown J-1 Exchange Visitors are not eligibile to use AT to serve as a lead teacher (teacher on record) in public and private U.S. pre-kindergarten and/or K-12 schools. Unauthorized employment may be cause for termination.
- All student on-campus employment must be approved in advance, in writing, each term and each academic year, by OGS and verified with the I-9 Office of Human Resources.
- Georgetown provides an annual report of all J-1 Exchange Visitor activities to DoS.
- Participants must comply with all U.S. tax requirements.
- Exchange agreements between Georgetown and partner institutions must be unexpired and up-to-date and on file with OGS.
In Case of Emergency
In the event of an emergency, Georgetown records point of contact information for all students. In addition, the Georgetown University Police Department (GUPD) is the 24-hour contact for all emergencies on campus and in the surrounding community: 202-687-4343. Please review the GU Safety and Preparedness website for more information.
Complaint and Incident Reporting
The DoS hotline also ensures the health and safety of exchange participants. It can be used in case of emergency or to report dissatisfaction with the Exchange Visitor Program: 1-866-283-9090 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Georgetown is required to report to DoS in the case of lost or stolen passports, violations of export control, intellectual property theft, serious accidents, hospitalization of more than 24 hours, death, lawsuits, criminal action, actual or alleged sexual assault, or any Exchange Visitor activity that may create notoriety or disrepute for the program. The Georgetown Responsible Officer, Sandra Galib (email@example.com) or (202) 687-5867, reports the events to DoS. Please review the DoS Incident Reporting Rubric (PDF) and watch the DoS incident reporting video.
Department of State’s International Exchange Alumni
The DoS International Exchange Alumni is a dynamic and interactive networking website for past and current participants of U.S. government-sponsored and private sector exchange programs. Alumni can build on their exchange experience and explore all the resources available to them as a member of the site, including networking with fellow alumni around the world, share the exchange experience with a global audience, and more.