The J visa is accorded to a nonimmigrant, having no intention of abandoning foreign residence. He or she is treated as an exchange visitor wishing to stay in the US temporarily.
Our approach to processing J-1 Waiver
We work with the American Immigration Council to offer J Visa options to Clients.
The J-1 classification (exchange visitors) is authorized for those who intend to participate in an approved program for the purpose of teaching, instructing or lecturing, studying, observing, conducting research, consulting, demonstrating special skills, receiving training, or to receive graduate medical education or training.
In carrying out the responsibilities of the Exchange Visitor Program, the Department of State designates public and private entities to act as exchange sponsors. J-1 nonimmigrants are therefore sponsored by an exchange program that is designated as such by the U.S. Department of State. These programs are designed to promote the interchange or persons, knowledge, and skills, in the fields of education, arts, and science.
Examples of exchange visitors include, but are not limited to:
- Professors or scholars
- Research assistants
- Nannies/Au pairs
- Camp counselors
- Application Process
The U.S. Department of State plays the primary role in administering the J-1 exchange visitor program, so the first step in obtaining a J-1 visa is to submit a Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status, (formerly known as an IAP-66). This form will be provided by your sponsoring agency. You should work closely with the officials at your sponsoring agency who will be assisting you through this process. An official who is authorized to issue Form DS-2019 is known as a Responsible Officer (RO) or Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO). Your RO or ARO will explain to you what documents are needed in order to be issued a DS-2019. After you have obtained a Form DS-2019, you may then apply for a J-1 visa through the U.S. Department of State at a U.S. embassy or consulate. The waiting time for an interview appointment for applicants can vary, so submitting your visa application as early as possible is strongly encouraged (though you may not enter the United States in J-1 status more than 30 days before your program begins).
Some J-1 nonimmigrants enter the United States specifically to work (as a researcher, nanny, etc.) while others do not. Employment is authorized for J-1 nonimmigrants only under the terms of the exchange program. Please check with your sponsoring agency for more information on any restrictions that may apply to you working in the United States.
Family of J-1 Visa Holders
Your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age, regardless of nationality, are entitled to J-2 classification. Your spouse and children are entitled to work authorization; however, their income may not be used to support you. To apply for work authorization as a J-2 nonimmigrant, your spouse or child would file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.
No, not all J-1 visas are subject to the two year home country residence requirement. The restriction is specifically applied based on a skills list and varies from country to country. You may want to look at Form DS-2019, your visa and I-94 to determine if you are subject to the provisions of §212(e).
The J visa would limit you to one-year terms at the most and be restricted to three years. It would also restrict your ability to apply for permanent resident status in the U.S. For case specific analysis, kindly contact the Office for an appointment.
Both my wife and I have J-1 visas. However, her J-1 [IAP-66] does not have the § 212(e) home country residence requirement. Why? Does this mean we can change status without having to go back home?
I have a strong feeling that the notation on the IAP-66 may be an error. Please note that it is not binding on an USCIS inspector or examiner, or consular officer. They could still look at the underlying facts and find your spouse subject to the 2-year requirement.
I am very close to obtaining my EAD. My wife is a doctor and wants to do her residency. She intends to join a Residency program on J-1 Visa. Comments.
The J visa is accorded to a non-immigrant, having no intention of abandoning foreign residence. He or she is treated as an exchange visitor and is subject to, in most instances, a two-year “foreign residency” requirement upon completion of his or her designated period of stay in the U.S. For Foreign Medical Graduates, this corresponds with the completion of their residency program. A person subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement is ineligible for an immigrant visa/adjustment of status, change of status. Marriage to an U.S. citizen/Permanent Resident does not absolve the J non-immigrant from the two-year foreign residence requirement.
Can I avoid the two-year home country residence requirement for J visa holders? I have a J Visa issued by the AIESEC.
There is a limitation on the J-1 Visa that requires the incumbent to fulfill a 2 year home country residence requirement pursuant to Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. However, not all J-1 Visas have this limitation. You must first determine whether the J-1 visa issued by AIESEC has this limitation.
In the event that it does, there are ways of seeking a waiver in the United States based on (a) hardship (b) A recommendation by an Interested Federal Government Agency and (c) on the basis of a No Objection Letter from the individual’s home country sent through diplomatic channels.
I recommend that you explore the possibility of entering the U.S. on other visa categories to avoid being subject to the J-1 two-year home country residence requirement.