J-1 Visa

J-1 Visa (Exchange Students)

The J-1 visa is issued to students participating in exchange programs which promote the sharing of knowledge and skills. Participants in the program may include professors, research scholars, trainees, college and university students, secondary school students, physicians, international visitors, government visitors, camp counselors, and au- pairs.

Spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 are allowed to join the J-1 visa holder under J-2 visa status.

J-1 Quick Facts

  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate intent to return to their home country upon completion of the program.
  • Exchange programs that J-1 students participate in must be approved by the U.S. Department of State.
  • J-1 visa holders are enrolled in full-time study programs.
  • J-1 visa holders may travel in and out of the U.S. freely as long as they maintain a valid visa.
  • J-1 visa holders may work legally in the U.S. if the work is related to their field of study or if they receive consent to work from the official program sponsors.
  • Although J-1 visa holders may stay in the U.S. until the completion of their program, their final period of stay is determined by the officer at the port of entry into the U.S.
  • J-1 visa holders may be subject to return to their home country for a period of two years before they can apply for any other immigration status (unless the applicant obtains a J-1 waiver).
  • Dependents of J-1 visa holders are eligible for work in the U.S.

J-1 Visa Process

  1. The first step involves applying and gaining acceptance into a U.S. college or school that is authorized by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to accept foreign students.
  2. Once the applicant receives the acceptance form from the U.S. sponsor, he/she may apply for the visa abroad in his or her home country.
  3. At the time of interview, applicants must present paperwork prepared by a designated sponsoring organization along with the supporting documents.