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Applying for the Exchange Visitor Program

Individuals who wish to come to Florida as exchange visitors may be able to do so under the Exchange Visitor Program. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of State. The purpose of this program is to facilitate the exchange of skills and knowledge in the fields of science, arts and education. Public and private entities may be designated by the Department of State to act as exchange sponsors.

Exchange visitors may be camp counselors, nannies, au pairs, specialists, teachers, trainees, students, research assistants, scholars, professors or other individuals. An individual who wishes to visit the United States as an exchange visitor will need to obtain a J-1 visa. To do this, the individual will need to submit a Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status. In addition, the person will need to work closely with individuals from the sponsoring agency.

The spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of an individual who has been granted exchange visitor status are entitled to J-2 classification. There are work restrictions for J-1 nonimmigrants. Essentially, individuals participating in the exchange program are authorized to work under the terms of the program.

The process of filing for exchange visitor status may be confusing and overwhelming with the various documentation, restrictions and documentation requirements. An attorney who has experience in immigration law can explain the restrictions and requirements of the Exchange Visitor Program and help with the process of applying for exchange visitor status. In addition, a lawyer may work with the sponsoring agency to ensure that all of the required documentation is filled out and filed correctly.

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Exchange Visitors", accessed on Feb. 11, 2015

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