The J Exchange Visitor Program is administered by the Department of State under the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, as amended. The purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program is to promote international educational and cultural exchange in order to develop mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries.
The Exchange Visitor Program is used to bring students, trainees, teachers, professors, research scholars, international visitors to the United States for a variety of educational and cultural exchange purposes under the sponsorship of an organization or agency that has been designated as a Program Sponsor by the Department of State. It is not a work authorization program. However, obtaining a J-1 visa classification does entitle the Exchange Visitor to certain restricted employment benefits.
Your Program Sponsor is the organization or institution listed in Item #2 of your Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for an Exchange Visitor. (This is the document you presented to the US Consulate to apply for your J-1 visa). The Program Sponsor and, in some cases, an agency or organization it designates to administer your program, have legal authority to grant you certain benefits related to your program. Your Program Sponsor is also charged by the Department of State to ensure that you adhere to all the regulations which govern your program in the United States.