As a BridgeUSA (J-1 Exchange) visitor, you are taking part in the BridgeUSA (J-1 visa) program administered by the U.S. Department of State with the goal of increasing mutual understanding through cultural and educational exchanges. New BridgeUSA scholars can find pre-arrival information below which we hope will prepare you for your program and arrival at Saint Leo University. The information in this section marked with (J Visa) is only relevant to scholars under the BridgeUSA (J Exchange Visitor Visa) program.
Please review the International Student Handbook, which covers a wealth of information about living in the U.S., Florida, and Saint Leo.
Purpose of the BridgeUSA (Exchange Visitor) Program
The BridgeUSA Program (J-visa types) provides many opportunities for international candidates looking to travel and gain experience in the United States. These programs enable foreign nationals to come to the U.S. to study, teach, conduct research or demonstrate special skills for periods ranging from a few weeks to several years.
The general purpose of the BridgeUSA Program is to promote international educational and cultural exchange to develop mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries. As a non-immigrant visa type, all exchange visitors are expected to return to their home country upon completion of their program in order to share their exchange experiences.
Saint Leo University is a private nonprofit Catholic University that strives to be recognized internationally as an institution of higher education providing excellence in teaching and learning. We are constantly looking for partnerships with other institutions of quality outside the U.S. to aid in this endeavor. Saint Leo University and its students will be richer from the exchange taking place in the classroom and socially.
There are a few basic requirements that all J-1 Exchange Visitors must meet to be qualified for the program:
- Intent to pursue appropriate activity (such as study, research, teaching, or training)
- Intent to return to home country (as determined by consular officer)
- Sufficient funding for program
- Appropriate background for program activity (example, Research Scholars must have at least a master's degree or its equivalent)
- Adequate English proficiency to engage in the proposed activities is expected. For students, if English is not the native language, students will take an English placement exam upon arrival in the United States and if needed, English training in the Bridge program will be a part of the program.
For Professors, Research/Short-term Scholars or Specialists, prior to an invitation, telephone interviews will be conducted with the appropriate Dean, Department Chair, and the Bridge Program Director to conduct an English language interview. Saint Leo asks recommenders to address English proficiency in their comments.
The J-1 visa has multiple category or program types within the Exchange Visitor Program; each category has different expectations and regulations that must be followed. Follow the links to learn more about each category's program information, qualifications, and expectations.
Saint Leo University supports several different category types within the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program: