Visiting the USA


The US Forest Service invites international visitors to participate in a broad variety of educational and cultural exchange programs in the United States . These exchange programs are intended to foster greater understanding and promote cooperation among peoples of many cultures and countries.

International government officials, researchers, specialists and students interact with US Forest Service staff and their hosting communities. International visitor activities include short study tours, meetings, conferences, workshops, ongoing research projects and technical consultations.

To facilitate these exchanges, the US Forest Service has received authorization from the US Department of State to serve as an official sponsor of International Exchange Visitor (J-1) Programs. The objective of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is “to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges.” [Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act (Fulbright-Hayes Act of 1961)]. The Exchange Visitor program is often referred to as a “J-1 Program” because the “J-1” class of visa is issued to international professionals and students invited to the United States to participate in educational and cultural exchange activities. Please click on this link for more information on J-1 status and the authorities and agencies governing this program. In some cases, it may be appropriate for international visitors to enter the US on a B-1 visa, which might be the case for meeting attendees who will not receive any US government support for their stay. Regardless of the visa classification, the host unit must submit an International Visitor Activity Proposal to International Programs.

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is very unique and has many special rules which regulate participation. Hosting units and international visitors should thoroughly review and understand the Program Regulations. Please review all information provided on this website and in the program Handbook.

To learn more about the program, please click on any of these links to the right above or below.

  • Program Design: We are happy to assist with understanding the numerous regulations affecting international participation in programs.
  • J-1 Visas: International Programs screens program applications, facilitates required security name checks and issues Form DS-2019, the document necessary to apply for a J-1 visa.
  • Health Insurance: Health insurance is required for all J-1 visa holders. We facilitate the payment of premiums on one of our special policies which cover medical expenses, emergency evacuation and repatriation of remains in case of death.
  • Airline Tickets: If a ticket is to be provided for a visitor, we can process the order, send the ticket to the visitor and send the itinerary and support documents to the hosting office.
  • Maintenance Allowance - Reimbursements: International Programs can provide debit cards to international visitors which allow immediate access to funds. In some cases, US Treasury checks may be used instead of debit cards.
  • Exchange Visitor Program Orientations: International Programs provides in-depth program orientations covering J-1 program regulations, cultural adaptation and an introduction to US customs and culture. We also provide ongoing support and assistance with immigration, personal adjustment and administrative issues.
  • Required J-1 Program Monitoring and Reporting: International Programs is responsible for monitoring changes of address, program activities, arrival dates and completion dates. As an official J-1 Exchange Visitor Program sponsor, we maintain records and data in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and communicate as necessary with the US Departments of State and Homeland Security.


International Visitor Program Orientation

The International Programs Office, as an official sponsor of the exchange visitor program, is required to provide official program orientations to most categories of J-1 visa holders.

International Visitor Program Services

We are happy to assist with understanding the numerous regulations affecting international participation in programs

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Key Contacts


If you have any questions, please contact:

Brenda Dean, International Visitor Program Coordinator , Responsible Officer
Tel: (202) 219-9774
Fax: (202) 208-0873

Rima Eid, Program Specialist, Alternate Responsible Officer
Tel: (202) 208-3785
Fax: (202) 273-6570

Kelli Young, Program Specialist, Insurance/Tax Specialist
Tel: (202) 273-4701
Fax: (202) 273-4750

Kristin Corcoran, Program Specialist
Tel: (202) 273-4733
Fax: (202) 273-6570