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J1 Student Visa (Exchange Visitor Program)

The J1 Student Visa allows you to study and receive professional training in the United States under the Exchange Visitor Program.

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What is a J-1 Student Visa?

The J-1 Visa is a student permit that allows young foreigners to teach, study or receive training in the U.S. This is an exchange and visitor program targeted at educational associations that have been accredited by the U.S. State Department.

The aim of this program is to promote cultural exchange, obtain medical or business training and allow young people to build new skills while enhancing their knowledge of English in the United States.

Each eligible applicant must be sponsored by either a profit, non-profit, education, private or government sector entity.

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What is the Exchange Visitor Program?

The Exchange Visitor Program is designed to offer participants the opportunity to engage with the American culture, enhance their English language abilities and learn new valuable skills.

There are fifteen different categories of exchange programs available for J1 Visa applicants, which include thousands of profit, non-profit and local government entities who are involved in this project. However, the majority of these programs are funded privately.

J1 Exchange Program participants can study, teach, do research and receive on-the-job training in the U.S. for periods ranging from a few weeks to several years.

Who is suitable for a J1 Visa?

Foreign nationals can reside temporarily in the U.S. to teach, study, receive training or even provide childcare.

The J1 visa is open to those who are enrolled in one of the several international educational institutions.

The J-1 Student Visa is designed in particular for those who need access to educational services that are not available in their home country.

If, however, you wish to seek practical or medical training, applying for an H3 training Visa may be the most appropriate immigration path for you.

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What are the main categories of the J-1 Visa Program?

The J-1 Visa program involves several educational plans. Therefore, the requirements you need to meet depend on your chosen scheme. If you would like to bring your family to the U.S with you, you will need to apply for a J2 Dependent Visa.

Au Pair Visa

The Au Pair Visa allows foreigners between the ages of 18 and 26 to work as childcare providers in exchange for accommodation and food expenses.

As a J1 Au Pair Visa holder, you can work for no more than 10 hours a day, for a total of 45 hours per week. You must also be enrolled in any course at a U.S. post-secondary educational institution.

Your responsibilities may include helping children with their homework and cooking their meals. The host family is required to provide you a compensation of up to $500 for childcare work, a private room and board.

To be eligible for a J1 visa au pair program, you must:

  • Have received a job offer from a host family
  • Have previous childcare experience
  • Have adequate spoken and written English proficiency
  • Provide a police clearance report
  • Have not previously lived in the U.S. as an au pair

Your sponsor is expected to provide you with at least 32 hours of childcare training. If your application is successful, you can stay in the U.S. for a period of up to 12 months.

Student Programs

Under a Secondary School Student Program, you can study at a public or private secondary school in the U.S.

You can stay either with a host family or at a boarding school but you cannot live with your relatives. To be eligible, you must be between the ages of 15 and 18 by the first day of school. Once you are in the U.S., you are not allowed to work.

You must leave the country at the end of one academic school year.

If you are an international university pupil, you can apply for the College and University J1 Visa Student Program. This will let you pursue a full-time course of study in the U.S.

To be eligible, you must be able to support yourself financially. In addition, you will need a written agreement between both your local and American institutions.


International teachers or those who wish to work in education can receive professional training at a U.S. accredited primary or secondary school, or even in a pre-kindergarten program.

Camp Counselor

The J1 Camp Counselor Visa allows foreign post-secondary students to work at summer camps in the U.S.

Participants are provided with housing and meals in addition to receiving fair pay.

The permit can only last for up to four months and no J1 Visa extension is allowed.

The J1 Camp Counselor Visa requirements are:

  • Have a good understanding of English
  • Be experienced in dealing with children
  • Be a post-secondary student, youth worker or teacher
  • Have specialized skills

J1 Visa Internship or Trainee Program

If you are a foreign student or have graduated no more than 12 months before your chosen program starts, you can apply for a J1 Internship Visa. You will need evidence of your English language proficiency.

If you hold a J1 Trainee Visa, you can receive training in the U.S. in your occupational field. To be eligible, you must have either a degree or one year’s work experience in your area. In addition, you must be at least 20 years old and hold an English proficiency accredited qualification.

Summer Work Travel Program

This program offers a first-hand experience to international college and university students who wish to work in seasonal or temporary jobs in the U.S.

Our professional attorneys can help you through each step of your J1 Student Visa application. Contact Us

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Can you get a J1 Visa Extension?

Based on the J-1 program in which you are interested in, you may stay in the U.S. for a period ranging from a few weeks to several years.

An extension of your J1 Visa status can be granted only for selected program categories.

If you want to apply for a J1 Visa extension, you need to submit a new DS-2019 Form with evidence to support your rationale to remain in the U.S.

You may also apply for a change of visa category. In any case, your request must only be due to unusual or exceptional circumstances.

After the conclusion of your program, you can still benefit from the so-called “Grace Period”. This means that you can remain in the U.S. for 30 days before going back to your home country.

However, if you remain in the country during this time, you are no longer allowed to take part in any exchange activity or work. If you travel outside the U.S. during this period, you will not be permitted to re-enter.

What is the “mandatory home residence” requirement?

Under the mandatory two-year home residency requirement, J1 Visa holder can change to another non-immigrant status (such as an H-1B Visa) or apply for a Green Card, provided that they first spend at least two years in their home country.

After this timeframe, eligible applicants can re-enter the U.S. under a dual intent visa. In addition, the two-year stay can be served in several intervals.

The home residence requirement can be waived under the following conditions:

  • A no-objection statement is issued by the government of the home country of the applicant
  • If the visa holder can demonstrate that their presence in the U.S. is required to provide for their U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident dependents
  • If the applicant can prove that he or she would be persecuted in his or her home country
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Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. Only accredited U.S. government, academic and private sector entities are allowed to sponsor J1 Visa Program applicants. Your sponsor will be responsible for screening and selecting eligible candidates, as well as supporting them and monitoring their progress during their stay in the U.S.

First of all, you should check with your sponsor to confirm whether you need to pay for your own Visa application. If your institution is going to pay on your behalf, you need to ask for a receipt to confirm the payment.

Your J-1 Visa total cost covers:

  • The SEVIS 1-901 fee ($180);
  • The Nonimmigrant Visa Application Processing Fee ($160) ;
  • The filing fee for other application forms that your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate may request.

Exchange Visitor Program participants are only allowed to perform the activities listed on their Form DS-2019, meaning that they may not be allowed to seek employment in the United States.

Your current J1 Visa is only applicable for your current exchange program. Upon completion of your activities, you are expected to leave the U.S.

If you wish to participate in another exchange program, you must submit a new application under a different category and with a different sponsor.

If your visa has expired and you do not intend to travel outside of the U.S. until the end of your program, you do not need to apply for a renewal. However, if you wish to travel abroad during your visitor exchange activities, you must apply for a new J-1 Visa from your home country before you can re-enter the U.S.

During your interview, it is crucial to provide adequate documentation about your program. Your primary concern must be to demonstrate that you have enough funds to cover your stay. Besides, you must be prepared to show your indissoluble ties with your home country.

At IAS, we can help you prepare the perfect portfolio to support your application. It is essential to know what you need to do before and during your interview. Your IAS immigration lawyer can offer you the best guidance to maximize your chances to get your J-1 Visa.

Our service includes:

  • Check if you meet the J1 Visa requirements for your chosen program;
  • Ensure that you all your application forms have been accurately filed;
  • Liaise between both your local and the U.S. educational institutions.

Get in touch today: you can call us on +1844 290 6312 or use our online contact form.