Everything You Need To Know About The J Exchange Visitor Visas

Everything You Need to Know About the J-1 Exchange Visitor Visas

If you are hoping to immigrate to the United States to work or study, a J-1 exchange visitor could be your best non-immigrant visa option. The J-1 visa is also known as the Exchange Visitor Visa. J-1 visas have allowed visitors to study and work in the United States since 1961. The policy goals behind the creation of J-1 Visas include inviting immigrants to reside temporarily in the United States so they can gain knowledge while observing, conducting research, consulting, teaching, or studying. 

If you are interested in obtaining a J-1 visa, the Miami based immigration attorneys at Canero Immigration Law Firm can help. We have helped thousands of immigrants obtain immigration visas and non-immigrant visas, including the J-1 visa. Whatever your immigration goals or challenges, our attorneys can help fight for your best interests. We understand that the immigration process can become challenging, stressful, and overwhelming. That is why we patiently explain all the best visa options based on our client’s circumstances and goals. 

Hiring skilled immigration attorneys can save you time and stress. When it comes to the U.S. granting your immigration application, do not leave the process to chance. We will make sure your application is complete, timely, and thorough. Contact our Miami immigration law office today to schedule your initial consultation. 

What is the Purpose of the J-1 Visa Program?

Every year, over 300,000 foreign-born individuals come to the United States using the Exchange Visitor Program via J-1 visas. 85% of those awarded a J-1 visa are under age 30 and 55% of J-1 visa holders are women. The purpose of the J-1 visa program is to encourage foreign-born individuals to learn more about the culture of the United States. It also allows J-1 visa holders the opportunity to share their culture with U.S. citizens. The U.S. Department of State notes three main goals of the Exchange Visitor Program:

  • Allow foreign-born participants an opportunity to participate broadly in American culture and life
  • Allow foreign-born participants to share their culture with U.S. citizens
  • Allow visa holders the opportunity to improve their English language skills
  • Allow visa holders the opportunity to build upon skills or learn new skills that will aid them in their future careers

What are the J-1 Visa Requirements?

Federal regulations name explicit exchange programs whose participants qualify for J-1 Visas. Approved designated sponsorship programs are available in all of the following categories:

  • Au Pair (childcare services)
  • Camp Counselor
  • College and University Student
  • Government Visitor
  • Intern
  • International Visitor
  • Physician
  • Professor
  • Research Scholar 
  • Secondary School Student
  • Short-Term Scholar
  • Specialist
  • Summer Work Travel
  • Teacher
  • Trainee

Program sponsors will select participants in their respective Exchange Visitor Program. Sponsors are in charge of monitoring their participants throughout their time in the program. Qualified sponsors screen each candidate according to the federal eligibility requirements and their own selection process. 

What Documents Must I Bring to My Visa Interview?

  • It is wise to bring a printed copy of your Form DS-160 that you submitted online prior to the interview
  • A printed copy of your fee receipt that shows you paid the application fee
  • A recent photograph of yourself that is 2” x 2” in the requested format
  • Form DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility issued by your sponsor program
  • Payment for the I-901 SEVIS Fee
  • Your valid passport that will not expire within the proceeding six months

How Long Does a J-1 Visa Last?

The J-1 visa program category will determine how long you are admitted into the United States. After your program ends, you must leave the United States. You may remain in the U.S. for 30 days after your program ends in order to prepare for your departure. If you depart within the 30 day period after your program ends, you may not re-enter the U.S. using your J-1 visa. 

If you would like to apply for permanent resident status after your J-1 visa expires, you will probably need to return to your home country for at least two years. After you reside in your home country for at least two years, or you obtain a waiver for that requirement, you can apply for a nonimmigrant visa

Do I Need to Be Proficient in English to qualify for a J-1 Visa?

Yes, participants must be proficient in the English language to qualify.

Can I Bring My Family With Me?

Yes, you can bring your spouse and any unmarried minor children age 21 or younger. Your dependents must file for a J-2 visa under the umbrella of your J-1 visa. All J-1 visa recipients and their J-2 visa dependents must carry an adequate amount of medical insurance. Participants who willfully fail to secure the required medical insurance can be terminated from the J-1 visa program.

What Will Happen After I Arrive in the United States to Start My Program?

Before you arrive, your sponsor will send you detailed information about their program so you will feel prepared upon your arrival. Participants must undergo an orientation hosted by their sponsor upon arrival to the U.S. Attending orientation is required for the J-1 participants. It is wise for family members to also attend the orientation, especially for those who will reside in the U.S. for over a year. Sponsors must monitor the progress and welfare of their participants. They must legally provide participants with an emergency hotline that is available 24 hours a day. 

If You are Hoping to Take Part in an Exchange Visitor Program, We can Help

If you are hoping to secure a J-1 visa, it is wise to hire a skilled immigration attorney who can walk you through the steps to submitting a thorough and accurate application. At Canero Law Firm, we have helped many clients successfully apply for J-1 visas. Contact our Miami law office today to set up your initial consultation.

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