Resources > Section 17 > J-1 Visa Application & US Entry > Exchange visitor (J-1) visa
#17-25Program periodPDFReturnURL
After being accepted to a BridgeUSA J-1 Exchange Visitor by a designated sponsor and issued Form DS-2019 and SEVIS ID, prospective exchange visitors will apply for a J-1 visa at a US embassy or consulate (Canadians apply for J-1 status at a US port of entry).
Program period refers to the period of time approved by the program sponsor during which an exchange visitor is admitted to the United States to engage in exchange activities as reflected on their Form DS-2019 (and Form DS-7002 for exchange interns/trainees). For exchange interns, the minimum duration is 3 weeks, and the maximum duration is 12 months. For exchange trainees, the maximum duration is 18 months. Exchange interns/trainees in the hospitality occupational category can intern up to 12 months.
Program start. The program start date determines when the exchange visitor may begin their activities. Though exchange visitors may arrive in the US within 30 days prior to the program period, they are not allowed to begin their program until the first day of their program period. Complete post-arrival matters (e.g., apply for SSN, finalize housing) during this period. Click HERE.

During programs. It’s important that participants maintain lawful immigration status for the program period and conditions as stated on their Form DS-2019 and Form DS-7002. While programs are ongoing, exchange visitors partake in predetermined activities at site(s) as per their Form DS-7002 during office hours. After work and during weekends, they may travel within and outside the US and engage in cultural activities. If they want to drive around, be sure to drive safely. If they want to travel beyond the borders of the US, they must apply for travel validation. Failure to do so could result in being denied reentry or issued Form I-515A. Out of state travel is not permitted for programs that have been approved for an extension. Click HERE

Program end. The program end date determines when the exchange visitor is obligated to complete their program and cease all relevant activities. After the program has concluded, exchange visitors may remain in the US for an additional 30 days. This period is commonly referred to as the “grace period” during which participants are no longer allowed to engage in training activities; they may, however, travel inside the US and prepare to return home. Once departed, participants will no longer be allowed to return to the US during their exchange visa sponsored by FUSIA. They may return to the US on ESTA or a B-2 (tourist) visa. For more, click HERE.

Where do I find my program period?
You may refer to section 3 “Form Covers Period” of your Form DS-2019. This section shows both your program start date and program end date.

Can I extend my program period?
Exchange interns may intern for a minimum of three weeks. Extension beyond 12 months is not possible, but extension within the 12-month period is possible at the discretion of their host and program sponsor.