J-1 Visa Basics

The J-1 Exchange Visitor non-immigrant visa category is for individuals approved to participate in work-and study-based Exchange Visitor Programs. The principle difference between the J-1 visa and the F-1 visa is that J-1 Exchange Visitors receive some form of sponsorship from either their own government, the US government, an international organization, their home academic institution or one our Colleges of the Fenway (COF) academic institutions or partners. Here are some links to more information about this visa category:

All J-1 Exchange Visitors coming to Boston or New England will be hosted by a department at one of our COF academic institutions or partners. These departments¬†screen and select prospective Exchange Visitors based on the criteria set forth in the governing regulations of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, with assistance and support provided by “Responsible Officers” at the COF Global Education Opportunities Center (GEO Center). These Responsible Officers are tasked with ensuring full compliance with all rules and requirements of the J-1 Student and Exchange Visitor program and ultimately serve as “Program Sponsor,” as defined by the US Department of State.


Information about prospective Exchange Visitors to the COF consortium and our partner institutions is both submitted and shared through a secure online resource called “StudioAbroad,” where advising resources may be accessed by both departments and Exchange Visitors. To log-in to the COF “StudioAbroad” database, follow this link:

Your Rights, Protections and Resources

Know your rights, protections and resources by visiting this webpage maintained by the US Department of State: