To enter the U.S., the alien must have plans to participate in a designated Exchange-Visitor Program.
An Exchange-Visitor Program may be sponsored by a government agency, educational institution, hospital, nonprofit association, business, or industrial concern. A group can sponsor its own Exchange-Visitor Program or it may bring aliens to the U.S. for training under an already-established program. Authority to approve or deny designation as an Exchange-Visitor Program rests with the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
List of Types of Exchange Programs
Participation in an exchange visitor program is limited to persons who will he engaged in one of the following activities in the United States:
- Students: This category includes persons who:
- It will study in the United States and pursue a full course of study at a secondary accredited educational institution, pursue a full course of study leading to the award of a U.S. degree from a post secondary accredited educational institution, or pursue a full-time course of study of up to 24 months duration conducted by a post secondary accredited educational institution or an institute approved by the post secondary accredited educational institution where the student is to be enrolled upon completion of the non degree program;
- It will engage in academic training as permitted under the State Department rules.
- It will engage in English language training at a post secondary accredited educational institution, or an institute approved by the post secondary accredited educational institution where the college or university student is to be enrolled upon completion of the language training.
- Short-Term Scholar: This category includes a professor, research scholar, or person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the United States on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills at research institutions, museums, libraries, post secondary accredited educational institutions, or similar types of institutions.
- Trainee: This category covers individuals who will participate in a structured training program conducted by the selecting sponsor.
- Teacher: This program category includes individuals teaching full-time in a primary or secondary accredited educational institution.
- Professor: This category covers persons primarily teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting at post secondary accredited educational institutions, museums, libraries, or similar types of institutions. A professor may also conduct research, unless disallowed by the sponsor.
- Research Scholar: This category includes persons primarily conducting research, observing, or consulting in connection with a research project at research institutions, corporate research facilities, museums, libraries, post secondary accredited educational institutions, or similar types of institutions. The research scholar may also teach or lecture, unless disallowed by the sponsor.
- Specialist: This category covers persons who are experts in a field of specialized knowledge or skill coming to the United States for observing, consulting, or demonstrating special skills.
- Other Person of Similar Description: The programs designated by the Department of State in this category consist of the following:
- International visitors (including persons who are recognized or potential leaders, selected by the Department of State for consultation, observation, research, training, or demonstration of special skills in the United States).
- Government visitors (including persons who are influential or distinguished, selected by a U.S. federal, state, or local government agency for consultation, observation, training, or demonstration of special skills in the United States)
- Camp counselors (including individuals selected to be counselors in a summer camp in the United States who impart skills to American campers and information about their countries or culture).
Certain categories of exchange visitors must spend an aggregate of two years following completion of their U.S. training program in the country of their nationality or last legal residence:
Aliens subject to this requirement are those who have participated in Exchange-visitor Programs.
- Whose programs have been financed in whole or in part by their governments or by the U.S. government?
- Who are nationals of countries that the DOS has determined clearly require the skills and services of people with the aliens’ special training?
- Who are receiving graduate medical training in the U.S.? (Interns and Residents).
The requirement is that such aliens must, absent a waiver, return to the country of their nationality or last residence for an aggregate period of two years following completion of their U.S. training, before being able to return to the U.S. in the H or L non immigrant categories, or as a permanent resident.
The alien must maintain a foreign residence which he or she has no intention of abandoning:
The alien’s intent to enter the U.S. for a temporary period of time is judged independently from the sponsor’s intent not to keep the alien permanently in the United States. It is therefore necessary for the alien to maintain his or her foreign residence as evidence of an intention to return abroad.
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