J-1 Visas

The J-1 Visa is available to individuals who wish to participate in a cultural or educational exchange program in the United States. The J-1 is a non-immigrant visa and may include a requirement to take the skills or experiences gained during this program back to his or her home country to share that experience at home. J-1 visas are available to individuals who desire to participate in an approved program for the purpose of:

  • Teaching/lecturing/instructing
  • Studying
  • Observing
  • Conducting research
  • Consulting
  • Receiving training
  • Receiving graduate medical education/training

The U.S. Department of State oversees certain public and private entities who act as exchange program sponsors or coordinators. The programs are designed with the intention of promoting and enhancing the exchange of person’s knowledge and skills in the field of education, arts, and sciences.

Exchange visitors may include:

  • Professors
  • Research Assistants
  • Students
  • Trainees
  • Teachers
  • Specialists
  • Nannies/Au Pairs
  • Camp counselors

To apply for a J-1 visa, the individual must submit Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status, which is provided by the sponsoring agency. Once obtained, the individual must apply through the U.S. Department of State at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. The individual should submit their application as early as possible to avoid a lengthy wait time that may interfere with the commencement of their program. Once approved, the individual may not enter the U.S. in J-1 status more than 30 days before their program begins.

J-1 non-immigrants may be permitted to work while in the U.S., depending upon the terms of their exchange program. For example, nannies, au pairs, researchers, professors, teachers and camp counselors, will work on the J-1 in order to gain the experiences of the program. However, other J-1 non-immigrants may have restrictions from working during their stay in the U.S.

Spouses and unmarried children under 21 of the J-1 visa holder are entitled to J-2 visa classifications. J-2 visa holders may apply for work authorizations, but their income cannot be used to support J-1 visa holder.

Contact the attorneys at Tanner Law Offices, LLC at 717-731-8114 to schedule a consultation to discuss your cultural or educational exchange options in the United States.

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