The J-1 visa allows foreign nationals to visit the United States in cultural exchange programs and is known as one of the exchange visitor visas. They are available for participants in programs sponsored by schools, businesses, and other U.S. State Department authorized institutions.

How Do I Qualify for a J-1 Visa?

An applicant for a J-1 visa must be able to come up with all the funds needed to support themselves in the United States. They must also have sufficient scholastic preparation in order to participate in their designated exchange program, including the ability to speak English proficiently. Applicants must also carry medical insurance that meet the program minimum requirements.

Anyone applying for a J-1 visa must show that they have no intention to immigrate. That is, they must not intend to stay in the U.S. indefinitely. They must have binding ties to some domicile in their home country, to which they will be able to return.

What Can I Do on a J-1?

Eligibility for employment under a J-1 visa depends on the terms of the program in which the applicant is participating. If the program, by its nature, involves paid work, the applicant will be permitted to work for pay. However, participants are generally not allowed to seek outside employment.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Apply for a J-1 Visa?

Only U.S. State Department designated sponsors are authorized to issue the Certificate of Eligibility you need to obtain a J-1 visa. If you or a loved one needs help with a visa application, you should contact an immigration attorney. An experienced immigration lawyer can tell you the requirements of a J-1 visa and explain the process of obtaining one or any of the other visas that might be applicable to your situation.

A lawyer can also help you with obtaining a J-2 visa if you are entering the country on a J-1 visa and wish to bring along your spouse and dependent children.