Sign up for our Email Newsletter


Immigration Library

We provide the professional
and comprehensive on-line immigration law library...

Read More

Our Services

We are dedicated to provide
all aspects of US immigration services and counseling...

Read More

Free Seminars

We are committed to educating those interested in learning U.S immigration laws ...

Read More

Duration and Extension of a J-1 Visa

The duration of J-1 status depends on the rules established by your particular Visitor Exchange Program. To determine the duration of your program, review your IAP-66 or Certificate of Eligibility. You may be eligible to extend your stay under the J-1 Visa if your total stay period does not exceed the maximum duration of stay for the program and your program sponsor agrees to your extension.

The most common J-1 categories along with their corresponding lengths of stay are listed below. For more information about J visa extensions, please click here.

  • Au Pair: 12 months, with the option to extend 6, 9, or 12 more months.
  • Business Trainees: 18 months
  • College and University Students: Duration of studies plus duration of practical training program following graduation. The additional months for practical training programs are 18 months for baccalaureate/masters and 36 for post-doctoral students.
  • College Professors: 36 months
  • International Visitors: 12 months
  • Government Visitors: 12 months
  • Medical Residents/Interns receiving medical training:Duration of residency program, 7 year maximum
  • Primary and Secondary School Teachers: 36 months
  • Research Scholars: 36 months
  • Specialists: 12 months
  • Summer Work/Travel: 4 months
  • Trainees in Flight Aviation Programs; 24 months

Extending your J-1 Visa

The J-1 program sponsor who issued the original Form IAP-66 (Certificate of Eligibility) may extend your J-1 Status by completing a new IAP-66 with the extended expiration date, provided the date falls within the maximum duration period and they notify the State Department of the change. It is NOT necessary to notify USCIS. This procedure applies only if your J-1 alien's I-94 Form (Departure-Arrival Record) is marked "D/S" or Duration of Status.

Special Extension for J-1 Professors and Research Scholars

J-1 Professors and Research Scholars are eligible to extend their stay for an additional six (6) months after the three-year maximum duration period provided that the extension is necessary in order for the alien to complete a specific project or research program. The granting of the extension falls wholly within the program sponsor's discretion and no State Department or USCIS approval is required.

J-1 Professors and Research Scholars are also eligible to extend their stay via the State Department. The State Department may authorize an extension beyond the three-year period if "exceptional and unusual" circumstances exist. The extension request should be made with Department of State within NINETY days prior to the expiration of the alien's three-year stay period.

Transferring to another J program

The Department of State assumes all control over a transfer or change of category to another J program by an alien already in the United States. The current and transfer sponsors must communicate in order to ensure that the alien, transferring sponsors within the samecategory, effectively transfers in an uninterrupted and continuous fashion. However, a change into another program category will be denied by the State Department unless the transfer “is clearly consistent and closely related to the participant’s original exchange objective.” (22 CFR 62.41(b)).Participants should address all inquiries regarding change of category to the responsible officer of their programs. The responsible officer submits a written request with supporting justification for the change to the Department of State on behalf of the participant. A nonrefundable fee of $246 is payable to the U.S. Department of State.

Termination of J-1 Visa

Non-immigrant exchange visitors on a J-1 visa may have their visa revoked by the State Department in certain circumstances. Participants are subject to the Department of State's Exchange Visitor Program regulations, and to the rules specified by their sponsors. Participants found to be in violation of program regulations and/or sponsors' rules may be terminated from the program.

Other grounds for termination include, but are not limited to:

  1. Failure to pursue the exchange activities for which the participant was admitted to the United States;
  2. Inability to continue the program;
  3. Willful failure to maintain insurance coverage as required under 22 CFR 62.14; and
  4. Unauthorized employment.(22 CFR 62.40)

Participants who are terminated from their exchange programs are expected to leave the United States immediately.

For more information about J-1 visa, please refer to the following links:

J-1 General Issues

Specific Information on J-1 Waivers