empty J1 visa waiting to be filled out by a foreign studentWhen coming to the United States of America for the first time, a foreigner needs to fill out certain forms in order to get the right visas needed to enter the country. The visas vary from person to person, but they each allow them to be in the United States for a certain amount of time. One of these visas is the J1 visa, given to scholars, professors, students, and other people not from the United States to come here and either learn, teach, or work. The J1 visa is integral to the learning community as it promotes cultural exchange between American residents and foreigners.

Definition

The J1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that promotes cultural exchange between the United States and a foreign country by allowing a select group of people into the country to learn or work, mostly for scholars, professors, and students. It allows a non-immigrant to both work and study within a US environment, allowing them to learn American culture. The J1 visa has many different programs that can make one eligible for application, ranging from working with a host family and their children to continuing a part of their education in the United States. Though it has a wide variety of programs to choose from and may seem like it is open for many people, there are certain requirements needed to be able to obtain one of these visas.

Requirements

The requirements for the J1 visa vary from program to program, but generally someone applying for the J1 visa needs to be able to speak and understand English well; have adequate health insurance; and are sponsored by a university, a private organization, or a government program. Some programs might require one to be a foreign trainee, while another might require past experience with childcare. Another might require one to be enrolled or graduated from an institution, while another still might require the person to be of a certain age. Again, it varies, but it is best to check the program being applied itself before doing anything.

Application Process

man shaking hands with his Northern VA J1 visa sponsorThe first thing an applicant does is find a sponsor for the J1 visa. The sponsor needs to be within their field of interest and the sponsor themselves will screen the applicant for proficient English skills. The United States Department of State has a list of possible sponsors the applicant is allowed to choose from. After that, the applicant must fill out a DS-2019 Form, also known as Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J1) Status. This form will ask for a short description of the sponsor chosen, including a start and end date of the program, an estimated cost of the program, and the category of exchange. This form will be needed for the interview from a US Embassy or consulate. Following that, the applicant then must pay several fees, such as the SEVIS I-901 fee and the Nonimmigrant Visa Application Processing Fee. These cost hundreds of US dollars and are necessary for entering the country.

Once the fees are paid, it is time for an interview with consular office from a US Embassy or consulate. When being interviewed, an applicant needs to bring the DS-2019 Form, a DS-7002 Form for visitor trainees and intern visa applicants, Form DS-160, a valid passport that will last six months after the intended period of stay, and a 2×2 photograph of themselves. At the interview, the applicant will be asked the purpose of their time in the United States, their intentions after their stay, how they will cover their expenses, and other questions pertaining to their stay. Wait times to meet a consulate will vary, so it is best to schedule an early appointment with them. Once the consulate has approved of the applicant, then they receive their J1 visa.

Immigration Attorney

Obtaining a J1 visa can be a long and tedious process. When one doesn’t know how to go through with obtaining a J1 visa, it is best to call an immigration attorney. An immigration attorney has a wide range of experience when it comes to entering the United States with a J1 visa and will be able to help guide one through the legal process of obtaining a J1 visa. They will also help with any legal repercussions, allowing their client to be able to go to court without a hassle. Not only that, but they can also help one with courtly matters when adjusting to American life. So when someone is in need of obtaining a J1 visa but has no idea how to obtain it in the first place, it is best to call an immigration attorney.

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Beeraj Patel, Esq.

Partner at KPPB Law
Beeraj Patel's philosophy is simple - make it easy for talented and ambitious individuals to have access to immigration materials so that they can make the choice which is right for them.