J1 Visa

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

1. What is J-1 visa?

The J-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa which allows foreign nationals to enter the U.S. to participate in exchange programs to promote the sharing of knowledge and skills in education, arts and sciences.

J-1 visas are of two types:

  1. J-1 visas that do not have a restriction known as ‘Home Residency Requirement’ (HRR)
  2. J-1 visas that have the HRR restriction

2. Who are eligible for J-1 visa?

Applicants eligible for J-1 visa are:

  1. Students at all academic levels
  2. Trainees obtaining on-the-job training with firms, institutions, and agencies
  3. Teachers of primary, secondary, and specialized schools
  4. Professors coming to teach or do research at institutions of higher learning
  5. Research scholars
  6. Professional trainees in the medical and allied fields
  7. International visitors coming for the purpose of travel, observation, consultation, research, training, sharing, or demonstrating specialized knowledge or skills, or participating in organized people-to-people programs
  8. au pairs
  9. Summer camp counselors
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3. What privileges do I enjoy on J-1 visa?

On J-1 visa, you may:

  1. Enter the U.S. and participate in exchange visitor program approved by the U.S. Department of State
  2. Travel in and out of the U.S. or remain in the U.S. continuously till the completion of your exchange visitor program
  3. Apply for dependent visas for your spouse as well as unmarried dependant children under 21
  4. Work legally in the U.S. if work is part of your approved program or if you receive permission to work from the official program sponsor
  5. Apply for and receive work permits for accompanying relatives

4. What are the limitations of J-1 visa?

On J-1 visa, you must:

  1. Restrict yourself to studying, working or other wise participating in the special exchange program for which your visa has been approved
  2. First be accepted as a participant in the program approved by the DOS before you apply for J-1 visa
  3. Return to your home country for at least two years before you are permitted to get a Green Card or change to another nonimmigrant visa status. This is true if you are an exchange visitor participating in a certain type of program

5. How long can I stay in the U.S. on J-1 visa?

When you enter the U.S. on an exchange visitor visa, you will usually be admitted for the duration of your program. The final decision on how long you may stay in the U.S. is made by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Inspector at the port of entry/airport.