If you wish to study, teach or do research in the U.S., you may be interested in a J-1 visa. Learn more here from a trusted visa attorney.
Do You Know About the J-1 Visa? Here’s What a J-1 Visa Lawyer Will Tell You About It
The J-1 visa is a U.S. nonimmigrant visa that generally allows foreign nationals to visit the United States for cultural and educational exchange programs. It is also known as an Exchange Visitor Visa. J-1 visa holders come to the United States to study, teach, demonstrate their special skills or receive training.
The program was created by the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 and was intended to develop ideas between U.S. citizens and other foreign nationals. Therefore, if the United States is not your home country and you wish to engage in teaching, studying, training or conducting research, the U.S. Department of State may grant you entry on this visa.
A J-1 Visa Attorney Will Help You Understand the Time Limits for the Different J-1 Visa Programs.
The J-1 exchange visa covers a variety of programs. The length of time allowed for the visa holder to remain in the U.S. will depend on the type of exchange visitor program granted. Once the exchange program is completed, he or she must return to his or her home country for approximately two years.
These exchange programs and the duration granted are described below.
Students pursuing this program generally may stay for one year.
Short-term fellows are admitted to the United States for six months.
Apprentices and Trainees
Persons who will serve as apprentices in the U.S. are admitted for no more than 18 months. However, trainees in the hospitality sector are only admitted for a 12-month training period.
For interns, individuals in this program must remain in the U.S. as long as they maintain their student status.
International and Government Visitors
Individuals visiting the U.S. on a government visitor visa are admitted for 18 months only.
Camp counselors and persons in summer employment are admitted for four months.
Foreign Medical Graduates
Physicians participating in internships are admitted based on the length of their program, which generally does not exceed seven years.
Undergraduate or University Students
Students interested in university or college programs are generally admitted for a period of time sufficient to complete their studies.
Au Pairs and Specialists
Persons serving as au pairs and specialists are admitted to the U.S. for one year.
Other programs not mentioned for exchange visitors include research scholars, high school students, family members and other professionals. A law firm experienced in assisting J visa holders can help you determine whether you qualify for one of these programs and how long you can stay in the U.S. under them.
What a J1 Visa Immigration Attorney Should Tell A-1 Sponsors
The J-1 visa has several differences from green cards or other types of visas. Why? J-1 exchange visitors must be sponsored by a government entity or private organization. The U.S. Department of State must accredit the program sponsor before the foreign national can be recommended for the exchange visa.
Once the designated sponsor has approved the sponsorship, the visa holder can begin the J-1 visa application process.
What Are Some of the Requirements Necessary for a J-1 Visa Application?
Please note that the application for each exchange program is different, but there are some common requirements that every foreign national must have in order to obtain a J-1 visa.
You must have a certificate of Exchange Visitor eligibility, which is received primarily from the program sponsors.
Another requirement is that an applicant speak, write and read English well enough to participate effectively in their exchange visitor program. In addition, applicants may be required to demonstrate that they intend to return to their home country after completing the exchange program.
Foreign Residency Requirement
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, in order for a J1 visa holder to obtain a permanent residence visa, he or she must meet a two-year foreign residency requirement after completing his or her visit.
Under this requirement, some visa holders may be required to live in their home countries or the country in which they previously resided for two years.
Exemptions to the Foreign Residency Requirement
However, applicants may be able to obtain a waiver of this requirement and obtain an immigrant visa. For example, a person can apply for a Declaration of No Objection from the government of his or her home country. This means that the government will not object to them remaining in the United States.
The J-1 visa holder may also obtain a waiver of this requirement if the Interested Government Agency shows interest in his or her stay and applies for a waiver on his or her behalf.
Other waivers are also available for individuals subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement. Individuals may apply for a hardship waiver if a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident spouse or child can show that this two-year absence would cause exceptional hardship. But hardship can be difficult to prove, which makes these waivers not so easy to obtain.
Simple separation cannot be considered a valid reason for this waiver. Factors that might be considered include medical reasons, economic hardship, and security conditions in the waiver applicant’s home country. Keep in mind that whatever the reasons, the most important thing is to have solid evidence.
How Difficult Is It to Obtain a J-1 Visa?
As with all immigration matters, obtaining a J-1 visa can be complicated if you try to do it independently. Fortunately, with the right attorney on your side, obtaining a J-1 visa can be very easy. When you work with the immigration attorney you trust, you will have a dedicated legal advisor working on your case as you prepare to begin your adventure in the United States.
To top it off, a J-1 visa allows you to change your visa status. This means you can freely change to a different type of visa from the U.S. without even having to return to your home country.
How Much Do I Need to Hire a Visa Attorney?
The amount of money you will need to hire a J-1 visa attorney will depend on the law firm you choose to represent you and the complexity of your case. In most cases, the amount to be paid includes the following:
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) fees. (USCIS) FEES
- Legal fees
- Application fee
- Biometric data fee for each family member, if needed
- An Exchange Visitor Information System fee
Can the J-1 Visa Holder Work for Another Company While in J-1 Visa Status?
According to the J-1 visa regulations, the J-1 visa holder can only work for a J-1 sponsor and not for any other company or employer.
You can only work for a company or employer after you have received employment authorization. Your J-1 visa attorney will help you understand all about this and how to obtain employment authorization.