US Exchange Visitor Visa process

Tamerlan Mehdiyev 21 March 2022 409 views 5 min. read
Us visa sign
Us visa sign

The USA is the world's third-biggest country. It borders Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. The USA is one of the most developed countries on a global scale. Today, most cutting-edge companies and universities shaping the future are USA-based and operate exclusively in the US. It is no coincidence that today the US is described as the best place to develop expertise and gain necessary skills in any field. Every year, millions of people across the globe travel to the US for various reasons. It is a big country with cities populated by millions. It has an extraordinary nature that drastically differs as you move in other directions. To the north, you will enjoy long-spreading pine forests and lakes. To the south, you will see pristine beaches where everyone is partying. To the west, you face an arid climate and long, dry roads. As you move to the west, gigantic cities like Los Angeles and San Fransisco. If you want to go to this beautiful country, you may be asked to secure a visa to the country. Undoubtedly you can get it on your own. But be aware of the lengthy, time-consuming visa procedures. Picvkisa, on the other hand, helps you save your time and apply for a visa for you. Click on the services section at the top of our website to further learn about our services.

After the beginning of the 21st century, exchange programs have become more popular worldwide. These programs aim to promote knowledge exchange between different bodies, countries, organizations, etc. The exchange programs can include different fields. Such activities are also widespread in the US. Many people from different countries have used these opportunities to excel in their professions. Although it is popular, it does not mean that you can freely enter the country and engage in such activities. You may need a visa to the US to accomplish this task. The corresponding visa type for such activities is an exchange visitor program visa. If you want to benefit from such programs, you should consider this type of visa. In this article, we will share some essential parts of the USA's visa application. We will look through the requirements for the US exchange visitor visa. Nonetheless, first of all, we will glance at the visa policy of the US since it is necessary to know the ABCs of visas for the US.

Visa Policy of the US

us visa

The Visa policy of the US presents us with requirements for foreign nationals to travel to, enter, and remain in the US. According to that, only nationals of a few countries can enter the US without having a visa. These countries include Canada, Bahamas, Palau, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau. Note that nationals of Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen cannot apply for a USA visa.

There are more than 100 visa types in the US; nevertheless, they are divided into two main categories. These categories are immigrant visas and non-immigrant visas. What we are interested in for this topic is a non-immigrant visa.

What is An Exchange Visitor Visa in US?

ticket and passport on the usa map

You may ask What is An Exchange Visitor Visa in US, once you hear the visa name. To put it in the simplest form, we can say that it is a non-immigrant visa type designed for people whose aim is to travel to the US to participate in exchange programs. It even has its own subcategories which you will find on the list given below:

Au pair and EduCare, camp counselor, government visitor, intern, international visitor (Dept. of State use), physician, professor, research scholar, short-term scholar, specialist, a college or university student, secondary student, summer work, travel, teacher, trainee

There are pilot programs for certain countries. These include:

Summer Work Travel Pilot Program: Australians, Summer Work Travel Pilot Program: New Zealanders, Intern Work Travel Pilot Program: Irish, WEST (Work, English Study, and Travel) Program: South Koreans/US offers a visa waiver program for the citizens of some countries. These people can enjoy traveling to the US for up to 90 days without having a visa to the country. Nonetheless, if they are exchange visitors coming for exchange programs, they should apply for a USA visa.

Exchange Visitor Visa Application

filling application form

Starting a visa application for USA as an exchange visitor requires several procedures, which can sometimes be overwhelming. You can get the most accurate information on the application by contacting the local embassy or consulate of the US. Generally, the process can be divided into two main stages.

As the first stage, you will start by filling out the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form DS-160. Secondly, you will need to go through an interview. But in reality, the process is longer than it seems. First of all, you have to be accepted to an exchange program. You will do it through a designated sponsoring organization in the US. Once you got accepted, your sponsor organization will enter all the important information about you to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) on your behalf. In most cases, you will be asked to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee
To start an exchange visitor program visa you will need to present your documents. You can find the list of the documents required on the list below:

  • Application Form Ds-160’s confirmation page
  • A passport is required which should remain valid for at least 6 months after you depart from the US. Your passport should have a blank page for this visa.
  • You should also present a photo which should be colored, taken recently. The background of the photo should be white or off-white. The photo size should be 2x2 inches (51x51 mm).
  • Form DS-2019 which describes the exchange visitor and their designated sponsor and provides a brief description of the exchange visitor's program is required. You should present its original.
  • Form DS-7002 which is a Training/Internship Placement Plan is required.
  • You should present a Sevis fee receipt if you are applying for F-1, M-1, and J-1 visas. The payments should be made a minimum of three days ahead of your interview through the official US Immigration and Customs Enforcement website.
  • You should prove your status within the country you are applying from.
  • You should prove your finance or financial support. For that, you can use bank statements, extracts, slips, etc.
  • Proofs of accommodation and travel.

How much is a visa to USA?


Visa fees vary immensely depending on several factors. These include visa types, nationality, etc. Therefore, it is customary to ask how much is a visa to USA. To keep it simple, we can say that the fee amount for non-petition-based non-immigrant visas (including exchange visitor visa) is 160 US dollars. Remember that no fee is required for the government-sponsored educational and cultural exchange programs. For the petition-based visas, the fee is equal to 190 US dollars.

The Interview Process

One of the most decisive parts of getting an exchange visitor visa is the interview. You should come to the exchange visitor visa interview on a scheduled date. Keep in mind that you will be expected to be there 30 minutes earlier than your appointed time. Getting late to the interview will result in the abolition of your interview. The interviews are held in the embassies or consulates of the US. Before starting the interview, a consular officer will review the application. During the interview, you will be asked a wide variety of questions. It can include life goals, purposes, travel purposes, etc. We do not know the exact questions as there is no standard sequence of the questions for the interview. You can assume that the whole procedure will take around 2-3 hours.

Visa Validity and Processing Time


There is no standard timeline for such visas as it is adjusted according to the exchange program. However, this visa falls under the two-year home-country physical presence requirement. According to that requirement, you will be expected to return to your home country for two years after your exchange program is finished.

Regarding the visa processing time, we can say that the process is completed within 3 and 15 days in most cases. Nevertheless, the procedure can lengthen depending on official authorities. Sometimes, it can extend for months.

To wrap up today's topic, we can say that US exchange programs can be life-changing. It can open up new prospects in terms of career and education. Many people have taken advantage of these opportunities and now enjoying the perks. Since US offers such opportunities, it would be unwise not to benefit from them. The important thing, in this case, is to secure a visa to the US. You can do it on your own, but you should be aware of time and effort-consuming procedures. This is where Pickvisa can be so helpful. Using our services, you can easily get your visa. We offer quick and efficient services that aid you in getting you a visa as quickly as possible.

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