J-1 Visa Requirements

J-1 Visa Requirements

: Eligibility for International Students

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The Washington Center is a designated J-1 Visa sponsor by the U.S. State Department. It is mandatory that you enter the United States with your J-1 Visa. Once you’re accepted into The Washington Center’s program, you’ll be given all the details on how to secure your J-1 Visa. Special provisions may be available for Canadian citizens.


In order to obtain a J-1 Visa, you must apply and be accepted into one of our programs and should:


  • Have at least 2 years of education or work experience in the field related to the program
  • Know English well enough to perform successfully in the program
  • Plan to leave the United States within 30 days after completion of the program
  • Have not held the J-1 Visa in the Trainee or Intern category before
  • Engage in training and not perform work that a staff member of the company would

Once you submit your complete application and are accepted into our program, The Washington Center will send you the DS-2019 and DS-7002 forms along with other important materials.


State Department’s Home Country Presence Requirement

This requirement ensures that participants spend at least 2 years in their home country before coming back to the United States for a long-term stay (especially if your funding was provided by a government or a government agency).


If you are subject to this requirement and would like to return to the United States within 2 years, you can request that the 2-year home country physical presence requirement be waived


Funds Availability

The State Department requires international applicants to demonstrate that they have enough funds to cover the cost of the program plus the expenses associated with it. To comply with this requirement, you must:


  • Pay the tuition fee as soon as you are accepted into the program
  • Shows proof of funds: some U.S. Consulates might ask you for a bank statement indicating that you have funds to cover the cost of the program (or a letter from your sponsor indicating that the sponsoring agency will cover the costs).
  • Present a valid credit card number as a deposit: this will be used only in case of default of the housing payment.

English Proficiency

International participants are required to take the TOEFL exam and score 550 on the paper-based test or 80 on the computer-based test. Official equivalent exams (for example, the IELTS) are also accepted.


The TOEFL exam requirement can be waived for students who can demonstrate more than 1 year of full–time studies in English or for students coming from English-speaking countries. These students will be interviewed on the telephone to confirm their proficiency level.


Additional Resources


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