Business Solutions

J-1 Visa: Current Clients & Participants

Key information exchange visitors and host organizations need to know about current SHRM J-1 visa sponsorships.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is proud to sponsor exchange visitors for trainings and internships in the United States.  Below are important documents, tips, suggestions, and compliance items that may be helpful for programs sponsored by SHRM or by the former Council for Global Immigration (CFGI). 

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Before Your Program

New Clients and Participants

If you have not yet submitted an application for J Visa sponsorship or have additional questions about the Exchange Visitor Program, please visit our sponsorship page for current clients and participants by clicking on the button below. 


Click here for new clients or participants


Host Organization Requirements

​Host organizations participating in the J-1 Visa Program have several important requirements. The Department of State lays out these requirments in order to ensure the regulations governing the exchange visitor program are being followed. You can find more information regarding the host organization requirments, as well as other program requirements, in our Host Organzation Orientation. (Please wait a few seconds for the video to begin)

Important Program Documents

Form DS-2019: The original Form DS-2019 is integral to demonstrating J-1 Visa status (the visa alone is not sufficient). The exchange visitor is not required to carry his or her Form DS-2019 at all times, so we suggest keeping the original in a safe place. If the Form DS-2019 is lost, please contact SHRM immediately to request a replacement (fee applies).

Form DS-7002: The Training/Internship Placement Plan (Form DS-7002) is the official document outlining the activities to be undertaken during the J-1 internship or training program. This document must be presented to the consular official during the visa appointment and should be available for presentation when entering the United States at a port of entry.

Consular Process

What does the exchange visitor need to do once his or her training or internship program has been sponsored?

Upon receipt of the individual sponsorship information from SHRM, the exchange visitor must complete Form DS-160, "Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application," and schedule a visa interview at a U.S. consulate abroad. Wait times for interviews and J-1 Visa processing times vary from country to country. Go online to determine the current appointment wait times for the consulate through which you will be applying. We encourage exchange visitors to apply for a visa as soon as possible after receiving the SEVIS information. 

*Note: Canadian citizens are eligible to be adjudicated at the port of entry without first obtaining a J Visa stamp. Though they do not need to attend a consular interview, these trainees and interns must be prepared to show their Canadian passport, the original Form DS-2019, the original Form DS-7002, a copy of the I-901 receipt, and their Compensation & Insurance Form at the port of entry.

What should exchange visitors bring to the visa interview?

Exchange visitors must bring the following documents to the visa interview:
  • Form DS-2019 (provided by SHRM);
  • Form DS-7002 (provided by SHRM);
  • SEVIS fee receipt (provided by SHRM);
  • Letter of support from SHRM to the U.S. consulate (provided by SHRM);
  • Confirmation of submission of DS-160, the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form (visit the DS-160 website to learn more about the DS-160 online process);
  • Passport valid for travel and with a validity end date of at least 6 months beyond the intended period of stay in the United States; and
  • If required by the consulate at which you are applying, one (1) 2" x 2" photograph (please see photograph requirements for more information).
Please note that exchange visitors must demonstrate to the consular officer that they have binding ties to their foreign country of residence and have no intention of permanently residing in the United States. In other words, they must demonstrate that they are coming to the United States for a temporary period, after which they will return to their country of residence. Demonstrating this nonimmigrant intent is critical, as any concerns about an exchange visitor's intent can result in the denial of his or her visa application.

Exchange visitors should also review embassy and consulate-specific instructions by visiting the U.S. Department of State's website and accessing information for the embassy or consulate at which they will apply. When applying for a visa in a country other than your home country, please ensure that you are also complying with that country's own visa and immigration laws. 

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The U.S. Embassy/Consulate has denied an exchange visitor's J-1 Visa. What are the next steps?

In the event of a visa denial, the exchange visitor should notify both his or her host organization and SHRM immediately. The candidate should provide as much detail as possible as to the reason for the visa denial and should submit any documentation that was received from the consular official regarding the denial. The consular office may cite a specific issue (e.g., lack of home-country ties, lack of financial resources, etc.) or may require additional documents. If the issue is resolvable, the candidate can potentially reapply for a J-1 Visa. Ultimately, consular officers have the discretionary authority to determine whether to issue a J Visa. 

A candidate's J-1 Visa was issued. What are the next steps?

Host organizations should assist candidates with coordinating travel arrangements, housing, transportation and other program logistics prior to the program start date. 

Entering the United States

The U.S. Department of State allows for exchange visitors on the J-1 Visa to enter the United States up to 30 calendar days prior to their program start date. If they will be arriving after their original program start date, they must notify SHRM immediately to determine if their program will need to be amended. If the exchange visitor's J-1 Visa is not valid through the new program dates, an amendment will be required. He or she will need to apply for a new visa stamp at a U.S. Consulate prior to departing for the United States.

Pre-Departure Preparation

​Starting a new exchange program can be daunting, but SHRM has created a pre-departure guide that can help exchange visitors get ready for their program. Here are a few items from the guide to help with the preparation. More details can be found by clicking the link below. 


Items to Bring from Home

  • Prescription medications, if necessary, and the prescriptions with translation if not in English;
  • Immunization/vaccination records;
  • U.S. currency to cover taxi fare, food and other initial expenses; and
  • Weather- and office-appropriate clothing. Weather in the U.S. varies widely depending on the region. Please check the local weather at your training/internship site to determine what type of clothing you should bring. Moreover, you should also determine your host organization's office dress code. Some offices require formal business attire, while others permit casual dress.
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A Few Things to Keep in Mind Before Arrival

  • Banking: Exchange visitors should open a checking account with a U.S. bank or with a home-country bank with widespread U.S. banking operations. Doing this will help prevent the exchange visitor from having to carry large amounts of cash or pay international ATM withdrawal and currency exchange fees.
  • Cellphones: Exchange visitors should check with their host organizations before purchasing a cellphone. Home-country cellphone plans are most likely different from cellphone plans in the U.S. Since the period of stay is limited, it is best to avoid registering for standard two-year contracts. Month-to-month and prepaid plans are the best options for exchange visitors.
  • Internet and Technology Resources: There are few Internet cafes in the U.S., but many coffee shops, public libraries and Wi-Fi hotspots provide Internet access.
  • Obtaining a Driver's License: Exchange visitors are eligible to apply for a driver's license or state identification card. The requirements for obtaining a driver's license and auto driver's insurance may differ from state to state. Visit the relevant state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website to find the nearest DMV office and state-specific information.

Culture Shock

Exchange visitors should be ready to experience culture shock! Culture shock is the feeling of disorientation and homesickness when a person moves or visits a new country, or simply experiences a different kind of lifestyle and environment. 
  • Be Patient: Adjusting to life in a new place may take time.
  • Be Prepared: Exchange visitors should learn about the U.S. and the community they will be living in before the trip.

During Your Program

Arrival Verification Process

Once exchange visitors arrive in the United States and start their program, they must send SHRM the required documentation to confirm the start of the program in the SEVIS system. This is a regulatory requirement that must be completed at the start of the program in order to ensure that the program remains in valid status.  Participants sponsored by the former Council for Global Immigration (CFGI) should also send their arrival documents to the SHRM Exchange Visitor Program team for processing.

Within 10 business days of arrival to the United States and the start of a training or internship program, all exchange visitors are required to submit the following documents to SHRM at arrival@shrm.org:

  • Copy of Form DS-2019;
  • Copy of I-94 record;
  • Completed and signed SHRM Arrival Verification Form with the exchange visitor's residential address in the United States and relevant U.S. contact information (U.S. phone number and e-mail address);
  • Copy of J Visa stamp in passport; and
  • Certificate of achievement showing completion of SHRM's online orientation for J-1 exchange visitors.
Exchange visitors arriving in the United States after the program start date indicated on their Form DS-2019 must notify SHRM immediately. Failure to do so could result in the cancellation of their J-1 Visa.

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Applying for a Social Security Number (SSN)

Exchange visitors who receive wages from U.S. host organizations need to apply for an SSN to report their wages to the government. Participants are not able to begin the application process for a Social Security Number until after their J-1 program has been validated in the SEVIS system. 

We recommend waiting up to 10 calendar days after SHRM validates the program before applying for an SSN.

Exchange visitors will need to bring the following documents to the nearest Social Security Administration office:
The Social Security Administration office will mail the exchange visitor's number and card as soon as it has verified the documents with the issuing offices, usually within 10 days.

Additional information about applying for a Social Security card can be found online

Form I-9

For J-1 Exchange Visitor Programs, Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and training program/internship authorization of individuals participating in the program. Host organizations may be required to complete and retain I-9 forms for exchange visitors. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services does not issue Form I-766 or employment authorization cards to exchange visitors. The following combination of documents is considered to establish both identity and employment authorization for exchange visitors:
  • The exchange visitor's unexpired foreign passport; 
  • Form DS-2019 (exchange visitors cannot work after the program end date on this form); and
  • A valid Form I-94 indicating J-1 nonimmigrant status.
Detailed information on the I-9 process for exchange visitors is available online. Exchange Visitor Program participants should consult with their host organization's HR or immigration professionals to determine if the I-9 process is required. 

Taxes

Exchange visitors receiving a salary or stipend from the U.S. host organization are subject to U.S. federal and state taxes throughout their program. However, they are exempt from paying Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) and Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) taxes. For more-detailed information, exchange visitors should review the IRS Tax Guide for Aliens or speak with their host organization's HR department or a tax professional. 
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Compliance Requirements

Change of Address

Exchange visitors who move or change their address during the course of their training program must send notification of the change and the new address to SHRM immediately. The information should be e-mailed to arrival@shrm.org.

They must also submit an AR-11 Change of Address form to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services within 10 days of moving.

Document Issues

Expired Visa Stamp During Program:

If an exchange visitor's visa stamp expires before the completion of the training or internship program and he or she does not plan to travel internationally, there is no need to apply for a new visa stamp. If an exchange visitor plans to travel internationally and re-enter the United States before the program end date, he or she must apply for a new visa stamp in order to re-enter the United States and continue the program. 

Lost Passport:

Exchange visitors who lose their passport should immediately contact their embassy or consulate in the United States to request a new one. The J-1 Visa stamp does not need to be replaced in the passport unless they will travel internationally and need to re-enter the United States. If an exchange visitor travels abroad and wants to return to the United States, he or she will need to apply for a new J-1 Visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad. 

Lost Form DS-2019:

Exchange visitors who lose their Form DS-2019 should contact SHRM immediately to request a replacement. There is a $600 replacement fee for a lost Form DS-2019.

Midpoint Evaluations

All trainees/interns with programs lasting longer than 6 months are required to complete a midpoint evaluation in addition to a final evaluation. Participant and supervisor evaluation forms are available online.

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Insurance Coverage

Every individual participating in the Exchange Visitor Program must have insurance coverage that meets the criteria set forth in the U.S. federal regulations for the Exchange Visitor Program. The coverage must extend for the full length of the program and must remain valid if the program is extended. All exchange visitors must be covered by an acceptable insurance policy that includes coverage for medical care, medical evacuation and repatriation for the entire duration of their training/internship program. It is the responsibility of the U.S. host organization to provide this insurance or to verify that each of its participants is covered by insurance throughout the program.

Changes of Status During an Exchange Visitor Program

SHRM does not facilitate changes of status. Every participant is expected to successfully complete the Exchange Visitor Program and to depart the United States at the conclusion. While the change of status process is legally permissible through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, this practice is viewed negatively by the U.S. Department of State, as the intent of the J-1 Visa is for the exchange visitor to return to his or her country of residence when the program is over. Changes of status could jeopardize SHRM's ability to sponsor future training and internship programs for the host organization. 

Cultural Activities

​One of the primary purposes of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is to promote cultural exchange between program participants and their U.S. counterparts and to give participants the opportunity to learn about and experience U.S. culture and business practices in their chosen field of study or profession. 
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Host Organization Resources

U.S. host organizations participating in the Exchange Visitor Program are required to help ensure that their participants engage in cultural activities during their programs. Organizations must indicate during the sponsorship process how participants will receive opportunities to experience American life and culture as a regular and integral part of their program. For example, invitations to participate in events within the local community and in employer-organized social activities, such as company picnics, volunteer days or sport leagues, would apply.

SHRM Resources

SHRM wants to help exchange visitors make the most of their time in the United States. Check out our resources:

Participant newsletters are sent quarterly to provide information on seasonal cultural activities, spotlighted cities, professional development opportunities and fun facts about life in the United States. 

You can use our extensive City-by-City Guide to locate historical landmarks, museums and exhibitions near you. Don't see your city listed? E-mail us for help finding cultural activities nearby.

Our list of professional development opportunities can help you grow professionally and broaden your skills set.

Are you on Instagram? Follow us @shrm_J1 to learn about cultural events, local restaurants and important news, and to see what other participants are doing around the United States.

Stay tuned for more SHRM cultural events – virtual or in a city near you! We love to meet our trainee and intern participants. Let us know when you're in D.C. and we'll let you know when we visit your host city.

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International Travel

​Exchange visitors who plan to travel outside the United States during the course of their training program must:
  • Have a valid J-1 Visa; and
  • Submit their original DS-2019 form to SHRM for travel validation at least 2 weeks prior to departure from the United States.
Please note: Exchange visitors should not plan to spend more than 30 consecutive days outside the United States.

When submitting the DS-2019 form for travel validation, exchange visitors will also need to include a self-addressed, prepaid shipping label (FedEx, UPS, etc.) that can be used for returning the documents to them. Forms should be sent to:

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
ATTN: Exchange Visitor Programs – Global 
1800 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314 U.S.A.

The travel validation signature is valid either for 12 months from the date of issuance or through the program end date, whichever comes first.

Every J-1 participant must have a valid J-1 Visa stamp to gain admission/readmission to the United States. If a participant's J-1 Visa in his or her passport has expired but his or her J-1 trainee or intern program is still active and valid (as listed on his or her DS-2019 form and in the SEVIS system), the participant must apply for and obtain a new J-1 Visa stamp prior to being able to re-enter the United States to complete the J-1 program.

When traveling abroad, SHRM recommends that J-1 Visa holders take their original DS-7002 form with them, along with their original DS-2019 form (with the travel validation) and their passport.

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Know Your Rights

​As temporary visitors to the United States, it is important that exchange visitors are aware of their rights, as well as the protections and resources available to them, when they come to work or study in the United States. 

To this end, exchange visitors should review the Nonimmigrant Rights, Protections and Resources pamphlet, which can be viewed via this PDF version or via the Department of State's website. Resources are also available from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, which can be reached at 1-888-373-7888.

At the End of Your Program

Final Evaluations

All J-1 trainees/interns and their host organization supervisors are required by U.S. federal regulations to complete program evaluations at the end of the program. Participant and supervisor evaluation forms can be found online.

30-Day Grace Period

Trainees and interns who successfully complete their programs may remain in the United States for travel or personal reasons for up to 30 calendar days after the program end date indicated on their Form DS-2019. No training or employment activities are permitted during this time. Travel beyond the borders of the United States during this period is strongly discouraged, as re-entry most likely will not be permitted. Upon leaving the United States at the conclusion of an exchange visitor's program, the validity of an exchange visitor's J-1 Visa will end and he or she will not be permitted back into the United States on his or her J-1 Visa.

Exchange visitors, as well as any J-2 dependents, must depart the United States by the end of the 30-day grace period. 

If an exchange visitor stays past the program end date and the subsequent grace period, SHRM must and shall report this overstay to the U.S. Department of State. Overstaying a J-1 Visa is illegal and could limit a person's ability to obtain a future visa to the United States.

Applying for a Subsequent U.S. Visa

Before an exchange visitor considers applying for another visa in any category, he or she is expected to return home upon completion of a program. 

Repeat Exchange Visitor Program Trainings and Internships:
Exchange visitors who complete a trainee program are required to wait at least 2 years from the program end date before they can secure another J-1 Visa to participate in additional training. In addition, interns who no longer meet the eligibility requirements of the intern category must wait at least 2 years from the end date of their last internship program before they can apply for a J-1 Visa in the trainee category.

Interns can participate in additional internship programs provided that:
  • They remain eligible for the intern category; and
  • They depart the United States and re-establish home-country ties prior to applying for an additional Exchange Visitor program.
212(e) Two-Year Home Residency Requirement:
Exchange Visitor Program participants might be subject to the 212(e) two-year home-country foreign residency requirement if:
  • The program involves specialized knowledge or skills deemed necessary by their home country (as determined by the Exchange Visitor Skills List);
  • The program is funded by either their home government or the U.S. government; or
  • As part of the program, the individual receives graduate medical training.

If the program meets any of the above criteria, the exchange visitor must return to his or her home country for a cumulative total of 2 years after the end of the J-1 program. Exchange visitors subject to the two-year residency requirement are not prohibited from traveling to the United States during this period, but they do not qualify for certain employment- and family-based visas until they satisfy the residency requirement. 

Contact Information

If you would like information on or have additional questions regarding the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, you can find the contact information for SHRM's Exchange Visitor Program or for the Department of State on our Sponsorship page, linked below.  If you are inquiring about the former Council for Global Immigration, please contact the SHRM Exchange Visitor team.


Contact Information


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