The United States government issues J-1 Visas to individuals who take part in a wide range of exchange visitor programs sponsored by schools, businesses, and a variety of organizations and institutions. These programs are envisioned for business and industrial trainees, scholars, students, international visitors, teachers, research assistants and those on cultural missions. In addition, there are several exchange visitor programs for young people, including summer employment programs, internship programs for university students and au-pair programs.
Frequently Asked Questions about J-1 Visas
What are the Activities Covered by the J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa program?
- Anyone who takes part in a exchange program approved by the U.S. Department of State
- Au-pairs and nannys
- Business and Industrial trainees
- Foreign scholars sponsored by universities as temporary faculty
- Government visitors
- Medical students coming to the United States as residents or interns
- Post-graduate students
- Research scholars
- Summer camp counselors and staff
Each category has specific requirements for obtaining a J-1 visa.
What are the Requirements for a J-1 Visa?
Applicants must work with a designated sponsoring organization and must show:
- A plan to remain in the U.S. for a temporary and specific period.
- Evidence of funds to cover their expenses in the U.S.
- Evidence of compelling social, economic or other binding ties in their home country that will insure their return at the end of their U.S. visit.
What are the Privileges of a J-1 Visa?
Visas holders can:
- Enter the U.S. and participate in exchange visitor program approved by the U.S. Department of State.
- Travel in and out of the U.S. or remain in the U.S. continuously till the completion of the exchange visitor program.
- Apply for dependent visas for a spouse as well as unmarried dependent children under 21
- Work legally in the U.S. if work is part of an approved program or if they receive permission to work from the official program sponsor
- Apply for and receive work permits for accompanying relatives
What are the Limitations of a J-1 Visa?
Visas holders must restrict themselves to studying, working or otherwise participating in the special exchange program for which the visa has been approved.
- Someone must first be accepted as a participant in the program approved by the DOS before they apply for J-1 visa.
- The visa holder must return to their home country for at least two years before they are permitted to get a Green Card or change to another non-immigrant visa status.