J-1 Exchange Visitors

What is a J1 Visa?

The J1 visa allows foreign nonimmigrants to enter the United States to work or train through the provisions of a sponsoring program that is accredited by the U.S. State Department.

Who is eligible?

One must qualify for a J1 visa through an accredited Exchange Visitor program. Those who may be eligible include:

  • Students who are in high school, college or pursuing graduate degrees;
  • Applicants who are in training programs for business or flight school;
  • School teachers, college professors and research scholars; and
  • Doctors who are residents or interns who want to receive medical training in the U.S.; and
  • Other visitors participating on various other exchange programs for the purpose of conducting research, sharing specialized skills, or receiving other types of training.

Family members such as the spouse or the children of the applicant may enter the United States with the applicant with a J2 visa. Holders of J2 visa may request the ability to work or attend school while in the United States from the USCIS. An immigration attorney may assist in filing the appropriate documents for J2 visas and requesting the ability to work or attend school.

What are the requirements?

There are several requirements that must be met in order to obtain a J1 visa, including the following:

  • Sponsorship by an organization accredited by the Department of State;
  • Applicant must prove that funds to cover all expenses are either in his own possession or are available through a scholarship or stipend;
  • Applicant must have the ability to communicate in English;
  • Proof of a residence in the applicant’s home country must be established, as well as the intent not to abandon it;
  • Evidence that the applicant intends to return to his home country at the completion of the exchange program, which can be established by proof of home and economic ties; and
  • Show that the education obtained in the U.S. will be profitable or useful in the applicant’s home country.

Applicants who are coming to the United States for medical training must also pass the Foreign medical Graduate Examination in Medical Sciences, and show that the exchange program in which they are participating does not include patient care.

What is the duration?

The duration of J1 visa depend upon the category or program through which one is visiting the United States. A visa attorney can give specific information to applicant’s regarding duration, as well as information on how spouses and children can apply for J2 visas to accompany the applicant. The duration is, however, contingent upon the length of the program, and usually ends when the program does. There is a generally a 30 day grace period provided for the J1 visa holder to prepare for departure from the U.S.

One may apply for an extension for a J1 visa if the program changes, or is extended and it is necessary to stay in the U.S. for a longer period in order to complete it. It is, however, not guaranteed that any extensions will be granted, even if the program has not yet been completed.

When Should You Hire an Immigration Attorney to Assist in J1 Visa Matters?

As noted above, the J1 Visa process can be very complicated, given the number of requirements and documents that must be submitted to the USCIS, and given the differing requirements of the J1 Exchange Visitor Visa process.

Unless applicants are prepared to educate themselves on the detailed requirements of obtaining a J1 Visa, their best option may be to hire a qualified immigration attorney, who can do all the necessary work to make sure that the process runs smoothly and that the legal requirements are met without undue delay or confusion.

If you or someone you know is interested in obtaining a J1 Exchange Visitor Visa, Austin, Texas immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle of the Lyttle Law Firm can help. Ms. Lyttle has helped many clients with U.S. immigration matters. Furthermore, because obtaining a Visa is a matter of federal law, rather than state law, she can handle J1 Visa applications for citizens living in any state, not merely the State of Texas.

Because Ms. Lyttle is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian, she can communicate directly with clients in these languages, read and understand documents in these languages, and communicate with any foreign officials in these languages, if necessary.

The Lyttle Law Firm can give you and your family members peace of mind in undertaking this difficult and potentially frustrating and time-consuming task. Once hired, the Lyttle Law Firm will take over the application process from beginning to end, keeping clients informed, and taking the stress out of the process. If you need assistance obtaining a J1 Exchange Visitor Visa, contact the Lyttle Law Firm.