J-1: What You Need to Know
J-1: What You Need to Know
The J-1 visa allows people to visit and stay in the United States while they participate in an appropriate exchange program. The program might be cultural, educational or scientific. Most of the J-1 visa applicants are students who are looking for a chance to visit and live in America for a short period, usually a summer holiday. If you are one of the people desiring to acquire a J-1 visa, RunRex.com has got you covered. Here we discuss all the details you need to know from eligibility to your stay in the US.
There are many sponsoring programs under the J-1 visa category. Each of these programs has different requirements. However, an overall requirement is that the petitioner must have a good command of the English language. You don’t have to be perfect, but you need to be able to hold a conversation in English. This qualification is usually tested during the petitioner’s application interview in the US embassy.
The J-1 visa applicant also has to be participating in a recognized exchange program. These programs vary depending on the nature of the person’s visit.
The J-1 visitor exchange program lists 14 programs through which visitors can participate in to be eligible for the visa. Most of the applicants apply for the Au Pair program. Through Au Pair, the participant receives an offer from a host family in the US which will host him/her. The participant then goes on to work for the family by taking care of their child(ren) for a fee. As the participant of an Au Pair program, you are also required to attain a minimum of six hours of post-secondary school training through accredited school or training program.
While most of the programs, including Au Pair, require a person to be older than 18 years, there is also a program for teenagers. The Secondary School Student Program allows secondary school students to live and study in the US for a short while. The program is open to students of between 15-18 years. The J-1 visa is, however, not an alternative to an F-1 visa as the Secondary School Student Program usually lasts a short while.
If you are looking for a J-1 visa, it is best to contact a visa provider, such as RunRex.com. The provider will guide you through the application process and help you out in picking the best program suited for you.
The J-1 visa does not have a set maximum limit that extends across the board. Instead, each program has its own maximum stay period. These are the maximum stay periods on each category.
- Au Pair: 1 year
- Trainee program:
- Business: 18 months
- Hospitality: 1 year
- Agriculture: 1 year
- Other: 18 months
- College and University Students:
- baccalaureate/masters: 18 months
- post-doctoral students: 3 years
- College Professors: 3 years
- International Visitors: 1 year
- Government Visitors: 1 year
- Physician: 7 years maximum
- Primary and Secondary School Teachers: 3 years
- Research Scholars: 3 years
- Specialists: 3 years
- Summer Work: 4 months
As you can see, the period of stay depends on the visa program. The programs are not fixed as the stay could be shorter, sometimes lasting just 2 weeks. You can also seek an extension for most of the programs. The Camp Counselor Program does not offer any extensions.
Most extensions in this category also don’t have to go through the USCIS and instead, they are granted by the State Department. For research scholars, an extension of 6 months can be granted for the scholar to complete his/her research. The extension falls wholly on the sponsor, and it does not need approval from the USCIS of the State Department.
Applying for a J-1 visa
Your J-1 application process begins by finding an authorized sponsor who will scrutinize your eligibility into the selected program and accept you if you qualify. There are thousands of sponsors listed on the US immigration website, and you can pick any sponsor in your program, regardless of their location.
After your sponsor accepts you into the program, they then have to apply for a DS-2019 form which will grant you an interview with the US embassy so that you can get your J-1 visa. You sponsor should them mail the original copy of the form to you once they get it.
Pay your fees
Your will need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee as well as the Nonimmigrant Visa Application Processing Fee. These fees are paid to the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State respectively.
In some instances, your sponsor might pay your SEVIS I-901 fee.
Interview with the US Embassy
After you receive your DS-2019 form, you should then schedule an interview with the US embassy. At the interview, you will be asked to provide your plans for financing your stay in the US. You also have to prove your intent to return once the program is over.
You will also need your DS-2019, DS-7002, and DS-160 forms, a valid passport and a passport photograph.