J Visa Exchange Program

J Visa Exchange Program


In confronting today’s most pressing research questions, global collaboration is critical. IREX’s J Visa Exchange Program supports foreign researchers, scientists, and academics to obtain J-1 “exchange visitor” visas. Exchange visitors engage in collaborative research with U.S. host organizations on a visiting basis.

These research-based exchange programs are catalysts for innovation and international research efforts. Companies, research institutes, universities, museums, think tanks, and similar institutions partner with IREX to host exchange visitors under this program.

Learn How to Apply

Learn how IREX can guide immigration law firms, host organizations, and researchers through the application and J visa process.

Questions? Contact an IREX visa expert by sending an e-mail to jvisaexchange@irex.org or calling 1-202-628-8188, extension 179.

What Is the J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program?

The U.S. Department of State’s J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program provides multiple options for foreign nationals to experience the United States through temporary study or work-related objectives. In any given month, there are 170,000 exchange visitors in the U.S.

The program promotes the exchange of ideas and increased mutual understanding between Americans and people from other countries. Closer ties between nations develop as exchange visitors return home and share their experiences.

As a U.S. Department of State–designated J-1 visa sponsor, IREX has 45 years of experience helping host institutions and organizations develop customized exchange programs across diverse research disciplines.

What are J-1 Research Scholars and Short-Term Scholars?

J-1 Research Scholars and Short-Term Scholars are two research-focused exchange visitor categories for which IREX is an authorized visa sponsor. They are designed to facilitate an exchange of knowledge, skills, and culture between scholars and institutions in the context of a research collaboration.

Exchange visitors and their U.S. counterparts report mutual benefits from the program, such as gaining cutting-edge skills, fresh perspectives on scientific problems, and lasting relationships with professionals, institutions, and laboratories around the world.

IREX facilitates a variety of opportunities for exchange visitors to:

  • Collaborate or consult as a guest scientist on long-term or short-term research projects
  • Participate in postdoctoral programs, research-based training, or academic seminars
  • Build linkages with U.S. research teams
  • Teach a course while conducting research at an accredited U.S. college or university


To qualify for a J-1 Research Scholar or Short-Term Scholar visa under IREX’s program, applicants must:

  • Be a research scholar, professor, scientist, or person of similar background who can demonstrate academic credentials and research experience and/or contributions in a specific research field
  • Be invited to participate in a visiting research program (conducting research, observing, or consulting on a project) in the applicant’s field at a qualified host organization
  • Possess sufficient English-language abilities to live in the U.S., engage with Americans, and be successful in the research exchange program
  • Not be a candidate for a tenure-track position or intend to remain in the U.S. beyond 5 years

J visa program participants from the past two years may have additional eligibility restrictions.

Who We Work With

IREX partners with established companies, research institutes, nonprofits, colleges, and other institutions that seek to host visiting researchers.

  • Eligible organizations to host exchange visitors under IREX’s program include research institutions, corporate research facilities, museums, libraries, postsecondary accredited academic institutions, and similar institutions.
  • Prospective host organizations must articulate to IREX their ability to host exchange visitors and offer a stimulating, mutually beneficial research program.
  • Site visits may be required at the application stage and/or during the program.
  • Host organizations must provide opportunities for exchange visitors to experience U.S. culture by inviting them to local activities such as holiday celebrations, sporting or arts events, or community volunteering.

Our Visa Sponsorship Services

We make the process easy

By managing critical immigration responsibilities for J-1 research exchanges, IREX makes it easy for visiting researchers and their host organizations to focus on what matters: exchanging ideas to accelerate innovation.

IREX staff members are experts in J-1 regulations and experienced in guiding diverse clients through the process.

IREX offers the following services:

  • Preapplication assessment of eligibility for participation
  • Streamlined application system with option for expedited processing
  • English-language fluency screening
  • Issuance of Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status) to approved applicants
  • Program monitoring, evaluation, and reporting required for federal compliance
  • Resources to support exchange visitors’ J visa application and transition to the U.S.
  • Dedicated staff to respond to immigration questions and concerns of host organizations and exchange visitors (and their families)
  • Visa sponsorship of eligible family members of exchange visitors
  • 24-hour emergency support for exchange visitors

We recognize that immigration is complicated, which is why IREX staff members are continuously available to advise exchange visitors and their host organizations.

The IREX J-1 exchange has provided me with a dream opportunity to pursue cutting-edge research in the USA and collaborate with scientific leaders in the U.S. and world! J-Visa Participant from Australia



To contact a member of the IREX visa sponsorship team or to schedule a Skype meeting, please send an e-mail to jvisaexchange@irex.org or call 1-202-628-8188, extension 179.


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