J-1 Regulations

A look inside the J-1 Visa program

The U.S. Department of State introduced the J-1 visa more than 45 years ago to promote international exchange and cultural understanding. The U.S. Department of State:

  • Approves and issues visas through embassies in a participant’s home country. Working professionals apply for a J-1 trainee visa, which is good for 18 months, while current students and recent graduates apply for a J-1 intern visa, which is good for 12 months. The American Embassy also issues J-2 visas for dependents.
  • Grants a set number of eligibility certificates – called Form DS-2019 – to qualified sponsors, including CIEE.
  • Oversees the program, and sets and enforces rules to guarantee that visa holders are supported and are benefiting from cultural exchange.
  • Requires an approved training plan – called Form DS-7002 – to ensure proper professional development.


Host Organizations

Host organizations include American businesses, nonprofits, government offices, and educational institutions. The host organization:

  • Offers full-time positions (at least 32 hours per week) that promote professional development and exchange.
  • Creates the DS-7002 training plan as part of the application process.
  • Supervises and trains participants during the program by executing the training plan.
  • Provides opportunities for cultural exchange for participants.

CIEE’s Role

CIEE is a leading J-1 sponsor – in fact, one of the largest – entrusted by the U.S. government to manage the program. While every sponsor must comply with J-1 rules, CIEE goes further by offering a higher level of service and value to both the participants and their host organizations.