J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program
By Angela Filippi (Law Clerk)
If you are enrolled in a college or university, or you are a graduate, you may be eligible for a J-1 Visa.
The J-1 visa gives you the opportunity to intern or get training in the US, for a U.S. company, for a certain period of time – three weeks up to twelve months (as interns) or up to eighteen months (as trainees). Professors, researchers, post-docs, physicians, au pairs and recognized specialists may also be eligible for a J-1 visa.
You may not self-petition for a J-1, meaning that you will need a sponsor in the US or in your home country. The sponsors vary among corporations, universities and organizations (for a complete list of sponsors in the United States visit https://j1visa.state.gov/participants/how-to-apply/sponsor-search/ and select the program you are interested to, for a complete list of sponsors operating in your home country visit https://j1visa.state.gov/sponsors/sponsor-by-country/?program=all).
In the most common scenario, the foreign national will have to interact with two entities: the company offering the position as well as the Sponsor, which will provide you with the documentation (Form DS-2019) for the visa interview. The Sponsor will also monitor the performance of the foreign national during his/her time in the US.
This process requires time, precision and a certain amount of paperwork, including the preparation of a detailed internship or training plan (Form DS-7002). Furthermore, sponsors usually require the payment of a fee, or multiple fees, to participate in the exchange visitor program.
The SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) fee and the non-immigrant visa fee will have to be submitted prior to the visa interview. For the interview, the applicant will need a valid passport, a passport size photo, the original Form DS-2019 from the Sponsor, the original Form DS-160, and the visa application fee receipt.
We can help. Call any one of our attorneys for a consultation, or visit our website www.americanvisas.net for further information.