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 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. Georgetown is one of the sponsors assisting the Department of State in promoting this public diplomacy mission. Sandra Layton 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.

All Exchange Visitors must apply for a J-1 visa at a U.S Embassy or 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 Interns must be enrolled in, and pursuing a degree at, an accredited postsecondary academic institution outside the U.S. and is participating in a student internship program that will fulfill the educational objectives for the student’s degree program in his or her home country; or
  • Student is pursuing 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.
  • Scholar is coming to the United States to conduct research or teach 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 and J-1 comparison chart (PDF) for more information.

  • Participants are selected to programs well suited to the Exchange Visitor’s background, educational needs, and experience.
  • Students must meet all criteria for admission and maintain full-time enrollment in the program of study.
  • Health Insurance Requirement for Exchange Visitors and All Dependents:
    • 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 of their sponsor organization sponsoring their program. 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 you to return to your home country for at least two years at the end of your exchange visitor program. This is also known as the foreign residence requirement under U.S. law, Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 212(e)
  • J-1 Exchange Visitors are required to participate in all aspects of Georgetown orientations
  • Review the Exchange Visitor Welcome Brochure (PDF) that Georgetown sends with the DS-2019 Form
  • Participant reporting requirements
    • Current address and telephone information
    • Request Post-Completion Academic Training prior to the Form DS-2019 end date
    • Request authorization for payment for occasional lecture or short-term consultation in advance (for J-1 scholars)
    • Student Interns must complete evaluations of their internship experiences.
  • Georgetown will maintain Exchange Visitor records for 3 years following completion of the J-1 program.
  • Georgetown will approve limited training and employment authorization for students – all training must be directly related to a student's major field of study requires a written AT Evaluation at the conclusion of the experience. Unauthorized employment may be cause for termination. 
  • All student on-campus employment, each term and each year, 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 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. 

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 jvisas@state.gov

Georgetown is required to report to DoS in the case of serious accidents, death, lawsuits, criminal action, actual or alleged sexual assault, or any other Exchange Visitor activity that may create notoriety or disrepute for the program. The Georgetown Responsible Officer reports the events to DoS through Sandra.Layton@georgetown.edu or (202) 687-5867. Please watch the DoS incident reporting video.