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.
Can I change jobs?
Yes. However, you must first check with your sponsor. New employment must be vetted and approved by the sponsor in advance.
Can I work more than one job?
The Exchange Visitor Program regulations do not prohibit a participant from accepting a second job. However, you must check with your sponsoring agency before accepting a second job.
Will I have to pay taxes?
Yes, check with your sponsor for detailed information about taxes.
What if I have concerns about my job or the work conditions?
If you have questions or are experiencing difficulty in finding employment, or have concerns about the work conditions, you should first contact your sponsor for assistance. You also may contact the Department of State (email@example.com).
Can I participate in another J-1 program after finishing my current program?
Your current J-1 visa is ONLY valid for your current J-1 exchange program (SWT). Upon completion of your current J-1 program, you are expected to depart the United States. There are a small number of instances where a SWT participant may extend status on another program. Please check with your program sponsors if you are planning to participate in a university or college exchange following the SWT program.
What will happen to my J-1 visa status if my program sponsor terminates my 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.
Who should I contact if I have a concern that is not being addressed by my sponsor?
The State Department has activated a helpline to ensure the health and safety of its exchange participants. Among other prohibitions, no sponsor may threaten program termination, or otherwise retaliate against a participant solely because he or she has instituted a complaint or taken action to gain assistance from an outside entity regarding a complaint. Participants can contact the State Department at any time via the hotline 1-866-283-9090 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who should I contact regarding problems obtaining a Social Security card?
You should contact your designated sponsor and the Social Security Administration.
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.
Under what grounds can I be denied a J-1 visa?
Applicants who do not meet the eligibility requirements for a J-1 visa, have previously violated U.S. immigration or criminal laws and incurred an ineligibility, or who fail to demonstrate sufficient intent and ability to comply with the terms of the J-1 SWT program may be denied a visa. More information on visa denials and ineligibilities can be found here.
What happens if I overstay in the United States on my J-1 visa or if I am arrested in the United States?
- Overstaying your authorized period of stay in the United States or being arrested in the United States can have serious repercussions for your ability to travel to the United States or be eligible for future visas. All arrests, even those that do not result in a conviction, must be declared on any future visa application and can cause travel delays or visa ineligibilities. Further information on ineligibilities and waivers is available here.