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J-1 exchange visitors 


The J-1 visa exchange-visitor program was created to permit foreign visitors to come and stay in the United States for a temporary period of time as "exchange visitors." During their time here, they can study, participate in research and gain experience in their field of interest.

The U.S. Department of State is the government agency that oversees the program. Institutions and organizations interested in becoming a program sponsor must seek such a designation from the DOS. Once an organization has received approval to be a program sponsor, it may then begin issuing IAP-66 forms. These forms are also known as "Certificates of Eligibility". The IAP-66 form is critical because it is sent to the foreign visitor who will present it to the U.S. consulate to obtain a J-1 visa stamp in his/her passport.

The IAP-66 form contains basic information about the individual and the program he or she will be involved in. The first section consists of biographical information about the visitor and also provides an opportunity for the program sponsor to indicate whether the visitor will be bringing dependents, is transferring from another J-1 program, seeks to extend his existing stay, is using this IAP-66 as a replacement of a lost one, or seeks reinstatement back into the U.S.

Section 2 identifies the program sponsor and contains preliminary information about whether the sponsor is receiving government or private funding. This section also includes an official description of the program sponsor's Exchange Visitor's program.

Section 3 provides the start and end dates of the visitor's program. Section 4 indicates which category the visitor falls under. It also provides space for the Responsible Officer to specifically describe the field of study that the visitor will be engaged in.

In Section 5, the program sponsor must show the estimated financial support that will be given to the visitor. In addition, the program sponsor must indicate whether it received any funding from a U.S. government agency or international organization. If it has, then it will have to describe which government agency and the amount received. This is an important issue because it will affect whether a consular officer marks on your stamp whether you are subject to the two year residency requirement or not.

Section 6 is a space that is reserved for use by the USIA, INS, or Responsible Officer regarding providing notice to the USIA. Section 7 describes who the Responsible Officer is, his/her address, and his/her signature. Section 8 is used by a Responsible Officer to transfer a J-1 visitor from his institution to another J-1 program sponsor.

The last section is not numbered but is still important. It is located in the bottom left hand corner of the form and is used by the Consular Officer. Here the officer will mark whether the two year residence requirement applies. Please note that this is only a preliminary determination.

A final determination is made by the USIA. Therefore, even if a J-1 visa holder has an IAP-66 that says that he is subject to the two year requirement, the DOS may declare that he is not.

What to present to be admitted as an Exchange Visitor

1. A valid nonimmigrant visa, unless exempt from nonimmigrant visa requirements

2. A passport valid for 6 months beyond the anticipated period of admission, unless exempt from passport requirements

3. A properly executed IAP-66.

The IAP-66 has four copies. The top white sheet is for the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The second sheet is yellow and is for the USIA. The third sheet is pink and is for the J-1 visa holder. The green sheet is fourth and is retained by the Responsible Officer at the sponsoring institution. Upon receipt of the IAP-66, the recipient will only have the first three copies as the fourth copy is detached and kept by the sponsoring institution. At the port of entry, the U.S. immigration officer will review the IAP-66 and keep the white and yellow copies. The pink copy will be returned to the J-1 holder and he will use it to reenter the U.S. in the future.




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