The J Exchange Visitors Visa is a non-immigrant visitor visa. It is issued to foreign nationals that fall under the categories of “Exchange Visitors” for the purpose of encouraging culture and educational exchange between the U.S. and other countries. The categories are broad. J visa sponsors are required to be accredited by the Exchange Visitor Program designated by U.S. State Department.
The following foreign nationals are eligible to apply for the J visa:
- Professor or research scholar
- Bona fide trainee or Intern
- College or university student
- Secondary school student
- Nonacademic specialist
- Foreign physician
- International visitor
- Government visitor
- Camp counselor
- Summer student in a travel/work program
- Au pair program
- South Korean program
- Australia and New Zealand program
Most J sponsoring programs require the applicants to have specialized knowledge or skills. Some trainee programs require the applicants to have at least a degree or a professional certificate and/or a minimum number of years work related experience in their occupational field outside the U.S. In addition, the applicant must demonstrate that she has a foreign residence that she intends to return after completing the J program.
Duration of J-1 visa ranges from 4 months to 5 years depending on the type of program. It may be extended under certain conditions.
Two-Year Foreign Residency and Waiver
Certain exchange visitors are required to return to their home country or country of last residence upon completion of their U.S. training before they may apply for an immigrant visa or another non-immigrant visa. J Visa holders may be subject to the this restriction if the training is in a field that can be utilized in the foreign country and is on the Exchange Visitor Skills List stipulated by the Department of State. If you are not sure whether your program is subject to the two year foreign residence requirement, we can assist you to make the determination, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The two-year foreign residence requirement may be waived based on possible prosecution in the home country, exceptional hardship in or outside of U.S., no-objection from the home country, or request by U.S. Federal agencies or State agencies. J-1 Waiver is extremely difficult and challenging, if you think you may meet one or more of the waiver conditions, contact email@example.com for further consultation.
Some J-1 holders are required to work for the sponsor employer. They may also be allowed to work for a non-sponsor employer in a closely related research capacity upon approval of the sponsor employer.
For foreign student J holders, employment is limited to on campus and cannot exceed 20 hours per week. Academic (practical) training may be authorized and must commence within 30 days upon completing the academic program.
Employment of J-1 holder’s spouse or child is permitted if it is not to support the J-1 holder. It is the only category among all non-immigrant visas that permits employment by dependents.
J-1 v. F-1
Many applicants are not sure if they should apply for a J-1 or F-1 visa because these two types of visas have a lot of commonalities. The answer depends on a number of factors, including the nature of your program, your immigration goal and career expectation after completion of the program, the age of your child or children, and whether your spouse is willing or able to work. It is a strategic decision that should be made by consulting with an immigration attorney. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can we help with your J-1 and/or J-1 Waiver
- We will fill out and submit the documentation needed for the J application, including Form DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status, Form DS-156 Non-immigrant Visa Application, and Form DS-157 Supplemental Non-immigrant Visa Application.
- We will draft a legal opinion on whether you are subject to two-year foreign residency requirement.
- We will draft a request to the State Department to obtain its Advisory Opinion on whether you are subject to the residency rule.
- Assess the likelihood of success for your waiver option(s).
- Draft the waiver petition if applicable.