Passport & Consular Services

Can I Change My Exchange Program?

Yes, in certain cases, it is possible to change your exchange program while on a J-1 visa. However, the ability to change programs depends on several factors, including the policies of your J-1 program sponsor, the availability of the desired program, and compliance with program regulations. Here are some important points to consider:

Program Sponsor Approval: Before changing your exchange program, you must obtain the approval of your J-1 program sponsor, the organization that issued your DS-2019 form. They will assess your eligibility for a program change and determine if it aligns with the objectives and regulations of the J-1 visa program.

Program Availability: The availability of the desired exchange program is an important consideration. Your program sponsor should offer the new program you wish to participate in and have the resources and support to facilitate the change.

Eligibility and Qualifications: Each exchange program may have specific eligibility criteria and requirements. You must meet the qualifications for the new program you wish to join. This may include academic qualifications, language proficiency, or other specific criteria set by the program sponsor.

Timing and Process: It is important to consult with your J-1 program sponsor early on if you are considering a program change. They will guide you through the process and provide information on the necessary paperwork, documentation, and any deadlines or timing considerations.

Compliance with Program Regulations: Changing your exchange program must be done in compliance with program regulations. This includes adhering to the rules and requirements of the J-1 visa program, maintaining valid immigration status, and fulfilling any obligations or commitments associated with your current program.

Two-Year Home Residency Requirement: If you are subject to the Two-Year Home Residency Requirement (foreign residence requirement), changing your exchange program will not exempt you from fulfilling the requirement. You would still need to meet the obligation of residing in your home country or country of last legal permanent residence for a cumulative period of two years before being eligible for certain nonimmigrant visas or permanent residency in the United States.

It is important to consult with your J-1 program sponsor to understand their policies and procedures regarding program changes. They will provide guidance on the process, requirements, and any implications or limitations associated with changing your exchange program while on a J-1 visa.

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