J-1 Visitor Exchange Program

Background Information

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program was created in 1961 to promote and “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of the other countries through educational and cultural exchanges.” For more information visit the J-1 Visa Government website (http://j1visa.state.gov/).

The Exchange Visitor Program is administered by the United States Department of State and has certain regulations that do not apply to other visa types. There are many categories of Exchange Visitors (EVs) however New Mexico State University usually deals with four categories and the scholar category is an example. The Exchange Visitor non-immigrant visa category (J) is for individuals approved to participate in work and study-based exchange visitor programs.

Exchange Visitors are eligible for J-1 Exchange only if they meet the majority of the following criteria:

  • They plan to remain in the U.S. for a temporary, specific, or limited period
  • They possess sufficient proficiency in the English language to participate in their program and function on a day to day basis
  • The program sponsor (in this case NMSU) has accepted them to participate in a program and they plan to carry out a specific activity such as study or research
  • There is evidence of funds to cover expenses in the U.S.
  • They or their program are financed directly or indirectly by the U.S. Government, the exchange visitor’s home government, or an international organization of which the U.S. is a member by treaty or statute
  • The sponsor program is carried out in relation to an agreement between the U.S. Government and a foreign government;
  • The sponsor program is carried out in relation to a written agreement between:
    • An American and foreign educational institution
    • An American educational institution and a foreign government
    • A U.S. state or local government and a foreign government; or
  • The exchange visitor is supported substantially by funding from any source other than personal or family funds.


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