The Exchange Visitor Program (J-visa types) provides opportunities for international candidates looking to travel and gain experience in the United States. The multifaceted programs enable foreign nationals to come to the U.S. to teach, study, conduct research, demonstrate special skills or receive on the job training for periods ranging from a few weeks to several years.

The general purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program is to promote international educational and cultural exchange to develop mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries. As a non-immigrant visa type, all exchange visitors are expected to return to their home country upon completion of their program in order to share their exchange experiences.>

Prospective EVs must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Educational and professional qualifications to meet their program objective
  • English-language proficiency as determined through a recognized English language test (English3, TOEFL, IELTS, CAE)
  • Documented individual financial resources of at least $2,000 per month and dependent resources of $2,500 per year per dependent
  • Personal commitment to abide by the Church Education System Honor Code

Only BYU departments are authorized to request a J-1 visa document (DS-2019) from International Student and Scholar Services. BYU does not accept DS-2019 requests directly from prospective EV applicants.

The following J-1 visa categories are available at BYU:

  • Student Non-Degree Seeking:
    • Foreign student pursuing a degree at a postsecondary academic institution outside the United States and
    • who is coming to BYU for up to 24 months as a non-matriculated student earning credit for their home-university program
  • Student Degree Seeking: Foreign, admitted student coming to earn a degree at BYU
  • Student Intern:
    • Foreign student pursuing a degree at a postsecondary academic institution outside the United States and
    • whose internship at BYU–which can last up to one year–will fulfill educational objectives for their home-degree program
  • Short-Term Scholar: Credentialed professor, research scholar, specialist or person with similar education or accomplishments coming to BYU on a short-term visit of up to six months to
    • lecture,
    • observe,
    • consult,
    • train or
    • demonstrate special research skills
  • Specialist: Expert in a field of specialized knowledge or skill coming to BYU for up to 12 months to
    • observe,
    • consult or
    • demonstrate special skills
  • Professor: Credentialed professor coming to BYU for up to five years primarily to
    • teach,
    • lecture, ]
    • observe or
    • consult
  • Research Scholar: Credentialed scholar involved in a BYU research project for up to five years primarily to
    • conduct research,
    • observe or
    • consult

Health Insurance

U.S. Government regulations require J-1 and J-2 visa holders to have health insurance during their entire stay in the United States. Please refer to the Insurancesection of this web site for more information on health insurance policies that fulfill these requirements. During a scholar's time at BYU, their obligation to maintain the required health insurance coverage will be acknowledged and confirmed.

Two-year Residency Requirement

  • In some cases, the J-1 visa carries a "two-year home country residence requirement" which requires J visa holders to return to their home countries for two years before being eligible for certain non-immigrant visas and all immigrant visas. This restriction applies to those financially supported by the U.S. government (e.g. Fulbright grantees) or by their own governments (including travel grants) during any part of their stay in the United States in J visa status. In addition, the two-year home country residence requirement is imposed on those whose skills are needed in their home countries, as registered in the Exchange Visitor Skills List.
  • Under certain circumstances, it is possible to obtain a waiver of the two-year home country residence requirement. EVs should check with International Student Services for further information.

Government Exchange Visitor Information

Further information can be requested through e-mail at intloff@byu.edu or by phone at 801-422-2695.