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BridgeUSA J-1 Exchange Visitor ProgramPDFReturn
BridgeUSA Exchange Visitor Program (J-1 visa) allows FUSIA as a State-Department designated sponsor to bring qualified foreign nationals to intern or be trained in the United States.
The Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) was created to implement the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act (the Fulbright-Hayes Act) of 1961 to “increase mutual understanding between Americans and people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges” and “foster global understanding” by means of mutual educational and cultural exchanges. The EVP (also referred to as the “J-1 program” and “BridgeUSA.”
Administered by the US Department of State Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau (ECA), the EVP is for foreign nationals who wish to come to the US to teach, study, conduct research, work/travel, learn about the American culture, improve their English proficiency, demonstrate special skills, receive on the job training, and develop new skills for periods ranging from a few weeks to several years.

After completion of the program, exchange visitors are expected to return to their home country upon completion of their program in order to share their exchange experiences.


Background. The history of the EVP goes back to the Cold War. It was created by Senator J. William Fulbright alongside the Peace Corps and United States Agency for International Development as part of the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 (The Fulbright-Hays Act) to promote mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges.

Statistics. Annually, the EVP attracts 300,000+ individuals to the United States from 200 countries and territories to study, teach, conduct research, or demonstrate special skills for periods ranging from a few weeks to several years.

Program name. The EVP is often referred to as the “J-1 program” because the “J” class of nonimmigrant visa is issued to exchange visitors and their dependents. As of October 27, 2020, the EVP had a re-branding and is now referred to as “BridgeUSA.” “BridgeUSA,“ “J-1,“ and “Exchange Visitor Program EVP” will be used interchangeably and jointly throughout FUSIA’s site and materials.

Program types. Initially, the EVP only allowed foreign scholars to teach and conduct research in the US. Today, EVP offers 14 different program categories (or types) for qualified foreign nationals to explore. For more, click HERE.

SEVIS. Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a web-based system that the DHS uses to collect and maintain information regarding exchange visitors. For more, click HERE.

Compliance. The EVP is governed by Code of Federal Regulations (22 CFR, Part 62) that refers to the official rules published in the Federal Register by the Executive Departments. Program sponsors and any third parties (including hosts that act on behalf of the sponsor) in the screening and selection of prospective exchange visitors and in the administration of their programs are required to adhere to all regulations set forth in 22 CFR, Part 62. For more, click HERE

Principal parties

Exchange visitors. Exchange visitors are foreign nationals approved to participate in one of the J-1 program types. After being screened and accepted to EVP by a designated sponsor, prospective exchange visitors will apply for a J-1 visa at a US embassy or consulate abroad with necessary documents, including Form DS-2019. For more, click HERE.

Program sponsors. The EVP programs are conducted by private and public entities referred to as the program sponsors designated by the US Department of State. For more, click HERE.

Responsible/Alternate Responsible Officer (RO/ARO). RO and AROs are officials designated by the program sponsor who help in the administration of BridgeUSA (J-1 visa) EVP. For more, click HERE.

Host organization (“host” or “host company”). Hosts are US-based business and governmental or non-governmental entities that act on behalf of the designated sponsor in the conduct of the sponsor’s BridgeUSA (J-1 visa) EVP program pursuant to an executed written agreement between the two parties. For more, click HERE.

Supervisors. J-1 internship/training programs have two types of supervisors, i.e., the Main Program Supervisor (MPS/POC) and Primary Phase Supervisor(s) (PPS). They are employees identified by the host to supervise J-1 interns/trainees and their programs and activities as stated on Form DS-7002. For more, click HERE.

J-2 dependents. Exchange visitors’ spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age, are entitled to J-2 classification. J-2 dependents are entitled to employment authorization by filing Form I-765 with USCIS but their income may not be used to support the J-1 visa holder.

FUSIA is a designated sponsor of State Department’s BridgeUSA in the J-1 intern category.


Health insurance requirements. Exchange visitors are required to have adequate health insurance coverage for themselves and any dependents as per 22 CFR Part 62.14 throughout their program period. For more, click HERE.
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