How Long Your J-1 Visa Will Last

If you're interested in a U.S. exchange program, plan ahead for the likely length of your U.S. stay.

The length of time for which you will be allowed to stay in the U.S. on a J-1 exchange visitor visa depends on the type of program you will be participating in and the dates of your planned participation. (For basic eligibility requirements, see "A J-1 Visa to the U.S.: Who Qualifies?")

In order to obtain a J-1 visa, you will need to present a Certificate of Eligibility, Form SEVIS DS-2019. This form will be given to you by the sponsor of your exchange visitor program. The form will list the specific dates you are expected to be participating in the program.

Upon entering the U.S. with your J-1 visa, you will be authorized to remain only up to the final date indicated on the Certificate of Eligibility. USCIS regulations, however, place some maximum time limits on J-1 visas according to the type of program.

Length of Time Students Can Stay in the U.S. on a J-1 Visa

Most students may remain in the U.S. for the duration of their programs plus an additional 18 months of practical training employment. Practical training is any employment directly related to the subject matter of the student’s major field of study. Remaining in the U.S. for the additional 18 months of practical training is at the student’s discretion. Postdoctoral training is limited to 36 months minus any previously used practical training time.

However, students between the ages of 15 and 18

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