International Legal Exchange Program (ILEX)

J-1 Visas for Visiting International Lawyers

As a U.S. Department of State-designated sponsor, the ABA Section of International Law’s International Legal Exchange Training Program (ILEX) certifies international lawyers' eligibility for exchange visitor status under the J-1 visa. International attorneys with a training offer from a U.S. law firm or legal office can apply for the J-1 visa through the Section’s ILEX program. Please note the Section can only process applications for training programs, not internships, and only legal-related training programs. While ILEX does not place foreign lawyers with U.S. firms it assists those who have been offered training by a law firm or legal office.

As of October 1, 2017, the processing fee is $1,800 and the visa is valid for three to eighteen months, depending on the length of the applicant’s training program. Under the J-1 visa trainee regulations, the minimum placement period is three months and the maximum placement period eighteen months. The application fee also includes discounted ABA membership and free Section of International Law membership. The J-1 visa processing times for the DS-2019 is two to four weeks; expedited processing, within five business days once a completed application is received, is an additional $500. The processing fee for each J-2 visa is $500.

  • J-1 Visa processing (two to four weeks): $1,800
  • Expedited processing fee (five business days, once a completed application is received): $500
  • J-2 Visa processing fee (each visa): $500

Interested participants, please download the program requirements and the J-1 ILEX Application. Download for the DS-7002 form.

J-1 Visa Participant Requirements:

According to the U.S. Department of State regulations for the J-1 Visa state that trainees must have all the following:

  • Hold a degree from a post-secondary academic institution outside of the U.S.
  • Been offered a training program through a host firm. We are not authorized to issue J-1 Visas for internships.
  • Have at least one year of prior related work experience in their occupational field acquired outside of the United States
  • Possess verifiable English language skills sufficient to function on a day-to-day basis.
  • Complete an acceptable training placement plan (DS-7002).

Questions? Please read our FAQ page. If you need more information about the ILEX J-1 Visa Program or Application, please visit the U.S. State Department’s website or send an email to: intilex@americanbar.org.


Since 1999, the Section’s ILEX program has assisted over 3000 lawyers from more than 60 countries to obtain a J-1 visa to participate in training programs with over 500 law firms, corporate legal departments and non-governmental organizations.

ILEX was created under the proposition that a worldwide exchange of ideas and programs will lead to a heightened level of learning and understanding for all. Since 1968, this concept has motivated ILEX's programs and allowed the creation of new projects in response to current world affairs. Through ILEX, the ABA arranges Briefing Trips throughout the world, offers legal assistance and training for foreign lawyers and other professionals, and facilitates entry into the United States by foreign attorneys who have been offered training by U.S. law firms.


Country Briefing Trips for Legal Professionals
These visits provide participants with first-hand knowledge of the legal and judicial systems of the particular host country or region, often focusing on trade and investment issues. The trips also provide a unique opportunity for delegation members to interact with legal, business, and governmental leaders of the countries visited and to develop personal and professional contacts throughout the world. ILEX organizes these trips in coordination with the government or bar association of the host country, specifically drawing on the expertise of Section members. ILEX organizes an outbound trip (to a foreign country or region) each year.


International Bar Leaders' Delegations
Delegations are composed of senior Section leadership visit key legal centers around the world in an effort to strengthen the Section's outreach to lawyers associations and other groups outside the United States.


Briefing or Specialized Programs for Foreign Legal Professionals acquainted with the U.S. Legal System
ILEX arranges programs and meetings for prominent foreign lawyers, judges, and scholars with legal professionals in the United States. This program allows foreign nationals to study a particular area of U.S. jurisprudence, to learn more about the ABA, and to become better acquainted with the U.S. legal system.