J1 Visa

New York J-1 Visa Attorney

General Information on J-1 Visa:

J-1 Exchange Visitor Visas are issued to individuals who take part in a wide range of exchange visitor programs sponsored by Schools, Organizations, Institutions and Businesses. The business exchange participant must have an academic degree OR at least two years of experience in the field of training. The purpose of the program is to enhance the mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges. Upon completion of the program, foreign participants are expected to return to their home countries in order to utilize the experience and skills they have acquired while in the United States. There is no limit on the number of visas that may be issued. Visas are normally issued for a period of the approved exchange program and may vary depends on the type of the program.

J-1 visa programs:

Activities covered by J-1 visa programs include Au-pair and Nanny, Summer Camp Counselors and Staff, Post-graduate Students, Government Visitors, Medical Students coming to the United States as residents or interns, Foreign Scholars sponsored by universities as temporary faculty, Specialist and Business and Industrial Trainees. Spouse and unmarried children of a J-1 Holder are entitled to a J-2 Derivative status and the spouse may apply for a permission to work.

Eligibility for a J-1 visa:

You are eligible for a J-1 visa if you are coming to the United States to participate in a program of studies, training research or cultural enrichment, which is approved by the US Department of State. You must first meet the requirements, and be accepted for one of the Exchange Visitor Program categories through a designated sponsoring organization. When applying for the J-1 Visa at the US Consulate you will have to prove that you are not planning to remain in the US after the expiration of your program, that you have the financial capacity to support yourself duration the stay in the US, and that you have binding ties to your home country, which will insure your return at the end of the program.

J-1 Visa Applications:

All J-1 programs must first be approved by the sponsoring organization and should receive a Certificate of Eligibility to participate in the given program. If you are outside the US and you were approved to participate in a J-1 exchange program you will have to apply for a J-1 Visa at the US Consulate in your country of residence. If you are already in the US on a different status you may be eligible to apply for a Change of Status to J-1. However, if you leave the US, you will still have to apply for a J-1 Visa at a US Consulate in order to be admitted again in this status.

J-1 Extension of Stay in the US and J-1 Change of Status:

When you come to the US with a J-1 Visa, the Immigration Officer at the port of entry will normally grant you permission to stay (“duration of status”) for the period allowed by your Visa or Program. This status may be EXTENDED or CHANGED to another status for example, to B1-B2HLRE-2, F/J/M OR Green Card.

Frequently asked questions:

I am in the US on a B-2 Visa can I change my status to a J-1?

Yes. If you are already in the US on a B-2 or on a different status you may apply for a Change of Status to J-1. However, if you leave the US, you will still have to apply for a J-1 Visa at a US Consulate in order to be admitted again in this status

How long does it take for the USCIS to make a decision on an application to change my status from B-2 to J-1?

A decision can take approximately 90 days. Sometimes, the USCIS issues a “Notice of Action” requesting additional documents and/or information to support your application and this procedure affects the processing time. If you apply for a change of your status in the US you may check your case status online.

My spouse is on a J-2status can s/he work in the US?

Yes. A person on a J-2 status may work in the US but s/he must receive an Employment Authorization from the USCIS. If your spouse finds a job, s/he may contact us in order to get assistance in applying for an Employment Authorization. S/he may also be eligible to apply for a work permit or working visa using another category such as J-1, B1-B2, H, L, E-1, E-2, R-1 OR Green Card or any other category, which may allow him/her to work for that employer.

What are SEVIS and SEVP?

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is an Internet-based system that keeps records of the accurate and current information on non-immigrant students, exchange visitors, and their dependents. The purpose of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is to aid the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State to better monitor school and exchange programs and other visitor visa categories. Exchange visitor and student information is maintained in the SEVIS.A J-1 Visa holder and his/her dependent/s applicant must be register with the SEVIS system through designated program sponsor. This is normally done when the Certificate of Eligibility for the J-1 Program is prepared. The US Consulate in your home country will verify your records electronically through the SEVIS system before they approve your application for a Visa.

Can a J-2 holder study in the US during his/her stay?

Yes. A spouse and/or children of a J-1 exchange visitor visa holder who are holding a J-2 status may study in the U.S. without applying for an F-1 Student Visa or Change of status.

What is the Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement?

A J-1 exchange visitor may be subject to a two-year foreign residency requirement under section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This means that he or she cannot change his/her status to that of an H, L, K, OR permanent resident until he or she has returned to their home country for at least two-years OR received a waiver of that requirement.

An exchange visitor is subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement if:
The program in which the exchange visitor was participating was financed in whole or in part directly or indirectly by the United States government or the government of the exchange visitor’s nationality or last residence. The exchange visitor is a national or resident of a country designated as requiring the services of persons engaged in the field of specialized knowledge or skills in which the exchange visitor was engaged for the duration of their program. The exchange visitor entered the United States to receive graduate medical education or training.

How long can a J-1/J-2 Holder stay in the U.S. after the end of the program?

A J-1/J-2 holder may remain in the US for a period of 30 days after the date of the expiration of the program. This period is designed to allow the participant the opportunity to travel in the US and to get ready for his/her departure from the US.

When can I enter the US after my J-1 Visa Application is approved?

A J-1 Visa holder and his/her J-2 dependents are permitted to enter the US 30 days or less in before date the program starts. This date is indicated on the Certificate of Eligibility issued by the sponsoring organization. If you wish to enter the US earlier than 30 before your program starts you may use a B-1/B-2 Visitor Visa.

Do I have to come to your office in order to file the application?

No. All Petitions or Applications to EXTEND / CHANGE status and for a visa do not generally require a personal meeting in our office. We provide services to many of our clients nationwide through mail, fax and email correspondence.

How do I start a case?

To start a case you will have to provide us with your resume and a profile of the Employer company who wishes to sponsor you for the Visa. We charge $275.00 to evaluate a case and the payment is non-refundable. However, if a decision is reached within 30 days to employ the services of our firm, the payment for the evaluation will be credited toward the additional legal fees expected to be paid for this service.

**This is general information and is NOT intended to provide legal advice.