What is a J-1 Visa?
A J-1 Visa is a visa for exchange visitors. The United States Department of State chooses public and private entities to act as an exchange sponsor. People holding J-1 visas are usually sponsored by an exchange program that is approved by the United States Department of State.
Examples of persons holding a J-1 Visa, but not limited to, would be a professor or scholar; summer camp counselor; or student.
What is the purpose of a J-1 Visa?
The purpose of a J-1 Visa is to promote cultural exchange between nations. The J-1 Visa also helps facilitate mutual educational interests and works to strengthen ties with various nations around the world.
How do I get a J-1 Visa?
The application process is simple.
- First you must find a sponsoring agency that is approved by the United States Department of State. Note: It is best to contact the approved sponsors directly. A list of sponsoring agencies can be found on the following website http://j1visa.state.gov/participants/how-to-apply/sponsor-search/?program=&state=&x=14&y=8
- A form DS-2019 is completed by the sponsoring agency’s Responsible Officer, which is then submitted to the applicant after being completed by the sponsor. The sponsor enters your information on the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), afterwards the DS-2019 is provided to you.
- Applicants must submit a Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160, which can be found here http://travel.state.gov/visa/forms/forms_4230.html
- Applicants must have a valid passport.
- Applicants must submit one 2×2 photograph.
- J-1 Visa applicant, between the ages of 14-79,must successfully demonstrate during an interview that he/she has a residence and binding ties to a foreign country and has no intentions of abandoning their residence.
Note: English proficiency is required. This requirement can be satisfied by any of the following: 1) evidence of having a postsecondary degree from and institute whose language of instruction is in English 2) Evidence of citizenship of a country whose official language is English (such as Australia, Canada, Bahamas) 3) Evidence of satisfaction of the minimum required test scores on a recognized English language test (TOEFL ibt, IELTS, PTE, TOEIC, CAE, CPE).
How long does it take to get a J-1 Visa?
The time it takes for processing of a J-1 Visa varies from country to country. You can check how long the wait time is in your city by visiting the following website:
Do I need a Sponsor?
Yes a sponsor is required. You cannot fill out a DS-2019 form without an approved sponsor.
Who can be my sponsor?
Only sponsors approved by the United States Department of State can be sponsors. A list can be found here: http://j1visa.state.gov/participants/how-to-apply/sponsor-search/?program=&state=&x=14&y=8
Can I bring my family?
J-1 applicants can certainly bring their family. Spouses and children of a J-1 visa holder can accompany them to their visit to the U.S. Family members must apply for a J-2 Visa, which works basically the same as the J-1 Visa application process. The sponsoring agency must approve each spouse and child accompanying the J-1 Visa holder, and will each be issued their own DS-2019.
Can I work in the U.S. during my stay?
A J-1 visitor is only allowed to participate specifically listed on his/her DS-2019 form. J-1 visitors must not deviate from what is specifically listed on the DS-2019 form.
How long can I stay in the U.S. with my J-1 Visa?
The duration a J-1 visitor is allowed to remain in the United States is limited to the duration of their exchange program.
Can I arrive into U.S. before my J-1 program begins?
You can arrive into the United States 30 days before your program starts.
How long can I stay after my J-1 program ends?
The U.S. Department of State allows for a 30 day “grace period” to depart the United States. Typically most students on the program use this time to for post student and exam purposes.
Are J-1 Visas often granted to applicants?
Many J-1 visas have been issued by the United States since the start of the program. In 2012, California alone had 31,122 participants. It is a great program to utilize for those seeking to visit and learn in the United States.
Who can I contact for more information?
If you have any questions on the J-1 Visa process and whether or not there is a sponsoring agency that is right for you please feel free to contact an experienced San Diego Immigration Lawyer at (619) XXX-XXXX