There are many opportunities to work and study in the United States. For example, each year some 400,000 foreign nationals enter the United States on the J-1 visa of the Exchange Visitor Program.
Fifteen categories comprise the Exchange Visitor Program, including the popular Au Pair, Intern, Summer Work and Travel, Camp Counselor, Trainee, Alien Physician, Professor, Research Scholar, and Teacher Programs.
These work-based cultural exchanges offer a wide variety of employment opportunities, varying from jobs in resort-type settings for a few summer or winter months to year-long, paid internships with leading U.S. companies, to Au Pair placements and research positions in academic and private sector research laboratories.
The U.S. encourages and welcomes the participation of foreign nationals in the Exchange Visitor Program. In fact, some 60,000 researchers, 8,000 doctors, and 30,000 corporate-based trainees and other participants will enter the United States in 2009, contributing more than $6 billion to the U.S. economy.
Before entering the United States for a work-based cultural exchange, a citizen of a foreign country must first obtain a visa. The Exchange Visitor Program provides an approved exchange visitor a "J" nonimmigrant visa.
This means that before applying to a U.S. embassy or consulate for a J-visa, the applicant must meet the requirements, and be accepted for participation in one of the Exchange Visitor Program categories through a designated sponsor. A list of these sponsors can be found in the J-visa section of the www.exchanges.state.gov website.
A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. It allows a foreign citizen to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry, and request permission from U.S. authorities to enter the United States. Program participants are expected to return to their home countries after finishing their programs, bringing back valuable skills and experience to enrich their home countries.
The Exchange Visitor Program is administered by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Private and public sector entities are designated by the U.S. Department of State to facilitate entry of Exchange Visitor Program participants into the United States and to manage their exchange programs for the duration of their stay.