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FAQ

What is the purpose of the exchange visitor program (J-1 Visa program)?

The 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.

Where do I apply for an exchange visitor J-1 Visa?

Once you obtain a Form DS-2019 from a Sponsor, you may apply for an exchange visitor J-1 visa at the U.S. Embassy to Macedonia.

What is Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility)?

A SEVIS-generated Form DS-2019 is required when applying for the J-1 Visa.  The DS-2019 is a controlled form provided to you by your program sponsor.   It documents your acceptance to an exchange program sponsored by a State Department designated Exchange Visitor Program sponsor.

What documents are needed to apply for an Exchange Visitor J-1 Visa?

  • Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility) issued by your program sponsor
  • Other supporting documents – check the specific embassy or consulate website
  • Passport valid for travel to the United States
  • Completed Online Form DS-160, nonimmigrant visa application
  • Fee receipt showing payment of the $160 visa application fee
  • 2×2 photograph, meeting format requirements

For more information about J visas, please see the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ exchange visitor visa website. For detailed information about how to make a visa interview appointment at an embassy or consulate, how to pay the application processing fee and more, go to the visa information on the U.S. Embassy to Macedonia website where you will apply for your visa.

Do I need a sponsor?

Yes. The State Department designates U.S. government, academic and private sector entities to conduct educational and cultural exchange programs. To participate in the Exchange Visitor Program, foreign nationals must be sponsored by one of the State Department-designated sponsors.The program sponsors are responsible for screening and selecting eligible foreign nationals for participation in their designated exchange visitor program, as well as supporting and monitoring exchange visitors during their stay in the United States.

Refer to the list of designated sponsors and their programs.

How can I work for an employer other than the program sponsor?

A J-1 holder may only perform the activity listed on his/her Form DS-2019, or as provided for in the regulations for the specific category for which entry was obtained and with the approval of the Sponsor’s Responsible or Alternate Responsible Officer.

What will happen to my J-1 Visa status if my exchange visitor program sponsor terminates my exchange visitor program?

If your sponsor terminates your participation in their exchange program for just cause, the sponsor will enter this information into SEVIS and you will be expected to depart the United States immediately. You will not be entitled to the post-completion 30-day period because you did not successfully complete your program.

What will happen to my J-1 Visa status if I withdraw from my exchange visitor program?

If you plan to withdraw from your program, you must notify your program sponsor.  Your program sponsor will enter this information into SEVIS and you will be expected to depart the United States immediately.  You will not be entitled to the post-completion 30-day period because you did not successfully complete your program.

Can I participate in another J1 program after finishing my current program?

Your current J-1 visa is ONLY applicable for your current J-1 exchange program and under your current program sponsor. Upon completion of your current J-1 program, you are expected to depart the United States.

If you intend to pursue a 2nd J-1 exchange program (in a different category and with a different J-1 sponsor), you will need to apply for a new J-1 visa for your new exchange program and new J-1 sponsor – in order to reenter the U.S. for the 2nd program.

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