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J-1 Visa - Frequently Asked Questions


How long can I stay in the U.S. on J-1 visa?

When you enter the U.S. on an exchange visitor visa, you will usually be admitted for the duration of your program. The final decision on how long you may stay in the U.S. is made by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Inspector at the port of entry/airport.


Can I extend my stay on J-1 visa?

Yes, you may apply for J1 visa extension, which may be granted as long as it is necessary to complete the program. However, extensions for J-1 are not easy because the length of the stay is usually granted for the period considered reasonable for the type of program.

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What is the process to extend or change my status, or change programs?

The Program Designation State Department Branch in the Bureau of Education, Cultural Exchanges and Academic Programs (ECA) handles J1 visa extension, category changes, and program transfers. You will need to contact them directly if you have further questions about one of these issues. They can be reached at 202-401-9810.


Can I study on J-1 visa?

Yes, you may study while on J-1 visa. However, unless you area J-1 student you may not join a full length program like an F-1. You may take up a few credits at a University when they do not harm the primary interest of the visa.

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