Prospective Exchange Visitor

The Exchange Visitor (J) non-immigrant visa category is for individuals approved to participate in work and study-based exchange visitor programs.  The U.S. Department of State designates sponsors just like the American Immigration Council to oversee J programs.  All J visa applicants must secure an exchange program sponsor before applying for the visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate.

Keep reading to learn how we may help you find success as an exchange visitor!

The American Immigration Council is designated by the U.S. Department of State to sponsor J-1 intern and trainee programs in specific occupational areas.  Each applicant receives individual attention from a case manager throughout the process.

Once the accepted trainee or intern has arrived in the United States, we serve as a support system and resource. Our goal is to ensure that the J-1 visa regulations are satisfied and the exchange experience is positive and rewarding for all involved.

Applying for Sponsorship:

Does the American Immigration Council help to find internships or training programs in the United States for J-1 visa applicants?

No, the American Immigration Council does not provide recruitment or placement services for exchange visitors and hosts. For suggestions on how to find a host organization before applying for sponsorship from us, please view Finding a J-1 Internship in the U.S.

What documents do I need to provide for my J-1 program application?

Exchange visitors and host company representatives both have a role to play in the online sponsorship application. You are responsible for completing the Trainee/Intern file and providing the following documents with English translations, if necessary:

  • All pages of your passport. The passport must be valid for at least six (6) months after the program end date.
  • Diploma(s) or degree certificate(s)
  • Educational transcripts (for Intern applicants and for Trainee applicants whose degree does not clearly match the field of training)
  • Resume or CV in English, or the original plus the document translated into English
  • Employment verification and reference letter(s) to include dates of employment, responsibilities, hours worked per week, and compensation
  • Biographic page of J-2 dependent's passport (photo and biographical data page)

Please note that the application can be started and saved if the documents need to be gathered.

What are the fees and when are they due?
All fees are due when an application is submitted.  Total fees can vary based on the type of application service requested and the specifics of the case. An up-to-date breakdown is available on our Fees page. Fees include the following services:

  • Screening and processing of J-1 training program application 
  • Shipping of Certificate of Eligibility (Form DS-2019) to accepted applicants
  • SEVIS fee payment to the U.S. government
  • Identification of Sickness & Accident Insurance meeting U.S. government requirements for J-1 visa holders
  • Participant and host user handbooks
  • Orientation and program materials
  • Consulting on the J-1 visa process
  • Program monitoring and on-going support to J-1 trainees and host organizations
  • Certificate of Completion
  • Government reporting and compliance with SEVIS requirements

How and when do I book my webcam appointment?

The American Immigration Council conducts a video interview with each applicant prior to approving internship or trainee proposals for sponsorship. Interviews are booked using the online scheduling tool. While host organizations or attorneys may book the interview, it is ultimately up to individual applicants to schedule the interview appointments in a timely manner.

What if the webcam appointment time needs to change?

If any changes need to be made to the Skype appointment schedule, we will contact applicants individually. If you will not be able to attend the interview or if you need to update/change your contact information, use the "Cancel/Reschedule" link in the online scheduling tool. Email questions to [email protected].
What happens during a webcam interview?

Prepare by reviewing your DS-7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan and recalling past visits to the U.S, including for tourism purposes. You will be asked general questions about the proposed internship or training program. Next, we will describe the process of obtaining your DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility and supporting documents. Next, we will discuss the process of applying for the visa online and attending the in-person interview at a U.S. consulate. Canadian citizens do not need an in-person interview at a U.S. consulate. Finally, we will discuss our role as your cultural exchange visa sponsor and explain what you must do to remain in good standing throughout your stay in the United States.

When do I book my Consulate interview and when do I make travel arrangements?

After you receive a congratulatory email from our team confirming your SEVIS ID number. Details from that email will be required to complete the DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application and book your consulate interview. The U.S. Department of State advises against making travel arrangements until you have secured your visa.   


The application process from documentation gathering to receipt of visa is approximately 8 weeks. A decision will be reached on the case within approximately five business days following the webcam interview and receipt of all program materials.

  • Week 1-3: Preparation and submission of sponsorship application documents through the FluidReview portal.
  • Week 4: Council review of submitted documentation. The scheduled webcam interview is conducted and the follow-up process for additional information is initiated (if necessary).
  • Week 5: The Council case manager will provide a decision on sponsorship. If approved, the documents required for the U.S. embassy interview are mailed via FedEx to the exchange visitor. The exchange visitor can proceed with completing the DS-160 and scheduling their in-person embassy interview.
  • Week 6: The exchange visitor attends their scheduled U.S. embassy interview with all embassy-requested documents.
  • Week 7-8: The exchange visitor will receive their passport and visa back from the U.S. embassy (if approved). Embassy visa interview scheduling and processing times vary. Please check your nearest embassy’s estimated wait times. This is also time for the exchange visitor to begin preparing for travel to the United States and the training program start date.

Consular Processing and Return Intent:

The American Immigration Council provides sponsorship to visitors applying for a J-1 visa from an embassy or consulate outside of the United States, where they will be required to indicate a clear, singular intent to leave the United States at the end of an internship or training program. 

Return intent is a core eligibility requirement outlined by the Department of State and underlies the legislative framework supporting the Exchange Visitor Program. The American Immigration Council cannot knowingly provide J visa sponsorship to individuals at host organizations that intend to file for change of status after arrival in the US.

Past J-1 internships or other J-1 programs, such as summer work/travel, camp counselor, or visiting scholar will not prevent participation in an Internship or Training program through the American Immigration Council, provided all other eligibility requirements are met. Trainees need to reside outside the U.S. for at least two (2) years between successive J-1 training programs.