The primary goals of the Exchange Visitor Program are to allow participants the opportunity to engage broadly with Americans, share their culture, strengthen their English language abilities, and learn new skills or build skills that will help them in future careers.

There are fifteen different categories of participants under the Exchange Visitor Program, of which, thirteen categories include privately-funded programs that are implemented under the auspices of the Office of Private Sector Exchange in the Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Educational and Cultural Affairs

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) works to build friendly, peaceful relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through academic, cultural, sports, and professional exchanges, as well as public-private partnerships. They are responsible for the functions relating to the issuance of U.S. Visas for students and scholars. They also manage the Diversity Visa Lottery.

Non-Degree Students

An individual coming the United States for the primary purpose of studying at an institution of higher education under the sponsorship of an exchange visitor program.

Research Scholars

Research scholars promote the exchange of ideas, research, and linkages between research and academic institutions in the United States and foreign countries.

Short-Term Scholars

Professors, scholars, and other accomplished individuals travel on a short term visit to lecture, observe, consult, train, or demonstrate special skills at U.S. research and academic institutions, museums and libraries.

Student Interns

Internship programs are designed to allow foreign college and university students or recent graduates to come to the United States to gain exposure to U.S. culture and to receive hands-on experience in U.S. business practices in their chosen occupational field.

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