There are two temporary visa categories for persons to participate in exchange programs in the Untied States:

  • J Visa
  • Q Visa

What is the J Visa?

The purpose of the J visa is to promote the exchange of persons, knowledge and skills in the fields of education, arts, and sciences. The J visa is popular with students obtaining medical degrees in the United States.

J Visa Participants Include

  • Students and teachers at all academic levels
  • Trainees obtaining on-the-job training or training in the medical field
  • Professors teaching or conducting research at an institution
  • Visitors observing, consulting, conducting research, training or sharing specialized knowledge or skills

To get a J Visa you must:

  • Have sufficient funds, scholarship, or stipend to cover expenses
  • Have sufficient scholastic preparation for the designated program
  • Have a knowledge of English
  • Demonstrate binding ties to a residence in a foreign country with no intention of abandoning it
  • Demonstrate that you will only be in the United States temporarily

If You Are Coming to the United States for Medical Education or Training You Must

  • Pass the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination in Medical Services
  • Speak English competently

Physicians using a J visa for the purpose of observation, consultation, teaching or conducting research in which there is little to no patient care are not subject to these requirements.

Can I Apply for a Green Card?

You must return overseas upon completion of the program for a minimum of two years before becoming eligible to apply for a permanent or temporary work visa.

Can I Obtain Employment?

It all depends on what program you participate in. If the program involves paid employment, such as research, then you may accept employment.

May My Spouse or Children Accompany Me to the U.S.?

A spouse and minor children may apply for a J-2 visa to accompany or join the J holder. The J-2 applicants must show sufficient financial resources to cover expenses in the United States and may also apply for USCIS authorization to accept employment. The J-2 holder’s employment cannot be used to support the J visa holder, and employment is limited to the duration of the J’s program or four years, whichever is shorter.

Should I Consult an Immigration Lawyer?

There are so many different types of visas available and a J visa may not be the best visa for you. Consulting with an immigration attorney can help determine which visa is right for you. An experienced immigration lawyer can also help you complete your application and address any other immigration problems you might have.