The J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program is a U.S. State Department program that gives visitors the opportunity to work, learn, teach, consult, and consult in the U.S..
J-1 Program Categories
- Research Scholars.
- Short-term Scholars.
- College and University Students.
- Secondary School Students.
- Physician Program.
- Camp Counselors.
- Au Pairs.
- Summer Work Travel Program.
- Government Visitors.
Each program category has varying requirements and offers J-1 visas of varying durations.
Why an J-1 Visa Lawyer
- Preparation and submission of application packet, including forms, testimony letters, evaluations, and more depending on the Applicant’s qualifications.
- Detailed attorney cover letter outlining the legal requirements, the Applicant’s Background, and how the applicant meets all the requirements using their qualifications.
- Strategic advice from beginning to end on how to meet the requirements and attorney provides assistance and oversees every single piece of evidence.
Requirements for J-1 Visa Application
Each exchange program category has its own eligibility criteria. However, for all categories, the exchange visitor must be proficient in the English language.
There are also some benchmark insurance requirements, such as medical insurance which meets the minimum levels as required by the program.
Additionally, you must prove to the U.S. government that you do intend to return to your home country after your program has finished. The J-1 Visa requires the recipient to return to their home country for a period of two years upon completion of their exchange program, with few exceptions.
Benefits of J-1 Visa
- On-the-job training;
- Trainee can receive financial support from both U.S. and foreign sources;
- Foreign national does not have to work as an employee of a foreign employer;
- Does not require approval of petition by USCIS before the foreign national applies for a visa; and
- Can also get visas for dependents (spouse and children under 21).
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
To apply for the J-1 Visa, complete the following:
Choose a sponsor and complete the requirements for your sponsor.
Submit a form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status) – This was previously known as the IAP-66. You can get this form from the entity at which you want to apply, your sponsor.
Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee – Some sponsors already pay this as part of the exchange program fee you are required to pay when applying to your sponsor. Check with your sponsoring organization if they already paid this fee. If they did, make sure you get proof of payment.
Submit your application to the embassy with the required documents for your exchange program and your consulate.
Attend your visa interview and receive your visa shortly after.
*If you are in the U.S. and doing a change of status, you will need to submit a change of status application with the required documents for your J-1 visa eligibility. Contact us to learn more.
There are usually quite a few costs and fees associated with participating in J-1 visa programs. Sponsors of non-federally funded programs may charge program fees to participants that can vary based on the program and duration. To get a list of all applicable fees and costs, contact your sponsor.
Some programs allow the spouses and dependent children of J-1 visa holders to get J-2 visas so that they can accompany their J-1 visa holding-family members to the U.S. while others do not. You will need to check the program category that you are interested in to see whether your spouse or children will be allowed to accompany you during your stay in the U.S.
J-1 exchange visitors are subject to U.S. taxes while participating in their programs in the U.S. For tax purposes, J-1 exchange visitors are designated as nonresident aliens who must pay local, state, and federal taxes. However, there may be specific tax treaty provisions that exempt J-1s from paying taxes, depending on the country of origin and type of exchange program.
If you cannot complete your work in your exchange visitor program before your J-1 visa expires, you might be eligible to apply for a visa extension. To secure a J-1 visa extension, your program sponsor must give you a new DS-2019 Form, and your visa must also allow you to get an extension. J-1 visa extensions are not available for all of the program categories.