J-1 visa: Exchange Visitor

j1visa1 J-1 classification or (exchange visitors program) is meant for individuals planning to participate in an approved course. There are multiple purposes such as teaching; delivering lectures; studying; conducting research; observing; consulting; demonstrating unique skills; undergoing training; and, receiving medical education or training.

The Department of State appoints public as well as private entities to act as exchange sponsors for the Exchange Visitor Program. J-1 non-immigrants are sponsored by an exchange program designated as such by the US State Department. These programs promote the exchange of persons, knowledge and skills. These are in the fields of education, arts, and sciences.

Examples of exchange visitors include but are not limited to the following:
* Professors or scholars
* Research assistants
* Students
* Trainees
* Teachers
* Specialists
* Nannies/Foreign students working as domestic helpers
* Camp counselors

Application Process

The Department of State is in charge of administering the J-1 exchange visitor program. The first step in acquiring a J-1 visa is to submit a DS-2019 Form together with a Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status, (formerly known as an IAP-66). This form will be provided by your sponsoring agency. Work closely with officials from your sponsoring agency. They will assist you throughout the entire process.  The Responsible Officer (RO) or Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) is authorized to issue Form DS-2019. They will provide you with a list of required documents for issuance of a DS-2019.

After obtaining the Form DS-2019, you may apply for a J-1 visa through the State Department at any US embassy or consulate. The waiting time for interview appointment of applicants can vary. Thus, submit your visa application as early as possible (though you are not allowed to enter the United States with J-1 status more than 30 days before your program begins).

Some J-1 non-immigrants enter the United States specifically to work (as researchers or nannies) while others do not. Employment is permitted for J-1 non-immigrants only under the terms of the exchange program. Please check with your sponsoring agency for more information on any restrictions that may apply to 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 also entitled to work authorization. However, their income may not be used to support you.  To apply for work authorization as a J-2 non-immigrant, your spouse or child must file Form I-765 or Application for Employment Authorization. For more information on the application procedures, check out the “Work Authorization” page.

Marian Moore – Social Media Manager

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