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Exchange Visitors

The J-1 visa, also known as the Exchange Visitor Visa or J student visa, is for anyone outside of the US who wishes to take part in study- and work-related exchange programs approved by the Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. 

 

To qualify for a J-1 visa, the first thing you need to do is apply for an exchange program (study or work) through an assigned sponsor in the US. Only after you are accepted into a program, you can apply for a J-1 visa.

The J-1 visa, also known as the Exchange Visitor Visa or J student visa, is for anyone outside of the US who wishes to take part in study- and work-related exchange programs approved by the Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. 

 

To qualify for a J-1 visa, the first thing you need to do is apply for an exchange program (study or work) through an assigned sponsor in the US. Only after you are accepted into a program, you can apply for a J-1 visa.

 

The J-1 visa has 15 categories of eligible roles and/or program types:

  • Au Pair

  • Camp Counselor

  • College and University Student

  • Secondary School Student

  • Government Visitor

  • International Visitor

  • Physician

  • Professor

  • Research Scholar

  • Short-Term Scholar

  • Specialist

  • Summer Work Travel

  • Teacher

  • Trainee

  • Intern

CAN YOU WORK IN THE US WITH A J-1 VISA?

Yes, you can! J-1 students are permitted to work while studying, as long as they obtain work authorization. 

 

There are certain restrictions, such as only working part time on campus for a maximum of 20 hours per week. Students are permitted to work full time during academic breaks.

TWO-YEAR HOME RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT

A J-1 visa is issued with several conditions attached, one of which is that after your program is over and your visa expires, you have to return to your home country and live for two years. 

 

You are subject to this condition if you are a part of a:

 

  • Government-funded Exchange Program.

  • Specialized Knowledge or Skill.

  • Graduate Medical Education/Training.

 

During this time, you cannot apply for the following visas:

  • An immigrant visa.

  • A temporary worker (H).

  • An intracompany transferee (L).

  • A fiancé visa.

Requirements and eligibility

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DOCUMENTATION

When you apply for a J-1 visa, you at least need to prepare the following documents:

 

  • Passport. Your passport must be valid for at least six months after you depart from the country unless there are specific exemptions depending on where you are from.

 

  • Photograph. Submit your photograph when you complete the visa application form online. 

    • If your photo is not uploading, then bring a physical copy but, please make sure to follow the instructions on how to take your visa photo.

 

  • Non-immigrant visa application form. Fill in form DS-160 online and bring the confirmation page with you to the embassy/consulate.

 

  • Visa fee receipt. If you are required to pay the visa fee before your interview, bring your receipt.

 

  • Form DS- 2019. After you are accepted into your exchange program, your sponsor registers you into SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System). 

    • Afterward, you will receive this DS form, and you may be required to pay a form fee.

 

  • Form DS- 7002. If you’re a participant in the J-1 trainee and intern categories, you will also need this form.

 

  • J1 visa health insurance. You must have health insurance coverage and it is the sponsor’s responsibility to ensure that you have purchased one.

 

You may also be asked to provide additional documents for the review process, such as evidence of:

 

  • The purpose of your travel;

  • Your intent to depart the United States after your travel;

  • Your ability to pay all travel costs.

 

Evidence of your employment and/or your family ties may be sufficient to show the purpose of your travel and your intent to return to your home country. If you cannot cover all the costs for your travel, you may show evidence that another person will cover some or all costs for your travel.

 

You need to review the instructions from the US embassy or consulate where you apply. After you submit your application, remember to get a payment receipt to present at your visa interview.

Application process

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Period of Stay/Extension of Stay

The length of time for which you will be allowed to stay in the U.S. on a J-1 exchange visitor visa depends on the type of program you will be participating in and the dates of your planned participation.

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Family of the J-1

Plenty of Exchange Visitors travel to the United States with their spouse and children. These family members receive J-2 visas. They are able to attend school and work (conditionally) in the country for the duration of the primary J-1 visa holder’s program.

HOW TO REQUEST A SEPARATE FAMILY DS-2019

Step 1: Gather Supporting Information and Documents: Have the scholar provide a scan of the dependent’s passport biographic page and any new documentation of funding.

 

Step 2: ISO Issues DS-2019: 

  • Use the information on the scholar’s most recent visa request and the documents gathered to complete the Add J-2 Dependent Request and submit it. 

  • You will receive a confirmation email.

  • ISO will then issue a new DS-2019 for the J-2 dependent.

 

Step 3: Send DS-2019 on to Exchange Visitor: 

  • Send the original DS-2019 and attachments to the J-1 exchange visitor in hard copy.

  • Do not send the exchange visitor a scan of the DS-2019; UW is forbidden by law from sending DS-2019s by scan or fax to outside parties. 

  • You may email the program number or SEVIS number from the DS-2019 to the exchange visitor to facilitate visa appointment scheduling at a U.S. consulate abroad.


Step 4: J-2 Dependent Applies for Visa at Consulate and Enters U.S.: There is no check-in or SEVIS validation requirement for J-2 dependents.

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