Individuals may come to the United States to participate in one of the many exchange visitor programs approved by the United States Department of State (DOS) (formerly the United States Information Agency (USIA). These approved programs are operated by a large variety of schools, businesses, organizations and institutions, which have the purpose of promoting international cooperation through the exchange of information.
We assist exchange visitors and their dependent family members in obtaining the J-1 visa. We prepare the extensive paperwork, guide them through the ever-changing rules, regulations and definitions, coordinate matters with sponsors and the U.S. government, and represent the parties before the INS and U.S. Department of State in the U.S. as well as the consulate of the employee’s home country. We guide the parties through decisions related to the exchange visitor program in accordance with State Department regulations, financial requirements, language requirements, travel issues, extensions of stay, the two year foreign residency requirement, and the eventual change from a J-1 visa to another visa, as appropriate.
The J-1 Visa is outlined below.
The J-1 Visa is available to bona fide students, scholars, trainees, teachers, professors, research assistants, specialists, or leaders in fields of specialized knowledge or skill, or other persons of similar description who come to the U.S. to teach, instruct, lecture, study, observe, research, or consult in their area of expertise, or receive training. The J visa is used primarily by four groups: 1) students coming to the U.S. to study at a university; 2) scholars and other experts, often university professors in other countries, who come to U.S. universities or research organizations to undertake research or train other people in their skills; 3) foreign medical graduates coming to U.S. medical schools to receive graduate medical education, or to U.S. hospitals or medical institutions to receive medical training in the form of internships and residencies; and 4) individuals from business or industrial organizations coming to the U.S. to receive training in a particular area, in a specific company’s methods and techniques, or an introduction to U.S. business or industrial techniques.
J-1 Visa Privileges:
• You may come to the U.S to participate in one of the many exchange visitor programs approved by the U.S. Department of State.
• J-1 visas can be issued quickly.
• You may work legally in the U.S. if work is part of your approved program, or if you receive permission to work from the program sponsor.
• You may travel freely in and out of the U.S. for the term of the visa.
• Relatives may obtain visas to accompany you, and they may work with special INS permission if the money is not needed to support you.
J-1 Visa Prerequisites and Restrictions:
• You must first be accepted in an approved exchange program before you can apply for a J-1 visa.
• Your activities are restricted to those for which your visa has been approved.
• J-1 visas are issued for a maximum term of 3 years. Students between of 15 and 18 who participate in a high school exchange program may be issued a J-1 visa for a maximum of one year.
• You may be required to return to your home country for at least two years before you are permitted to obtain a green card, or change status to an “L” or “H” visa, which would permit you to work in the U.S. Waivers may be obtained from this restriction under special circumstances.