J Visa – Exchange Visitor Visa

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J Visa – Exchange Visitor Visa

Exchange Visitor Visas are “Nonimmigrant visas” for individuals approved to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs.  Programs and their requirements are diverse, from visiting Physicians to Camp Counsellors.  A full list of registered programs is kept current on the <a href=”https://j1visa.state.gov/basics/”> US State Dept. website.</a>

Applicants are expected to return to their country of origin after they complete their program, and may not be allowed to return to the United States on a J Visa for a period of two (2) years.

In order to apply for the J Visa the participant and any family traveling with them must each have a DS-2019 form from the Sponsoring exchange program.  Participants in Training and Internship placements require an additional Form DS-7002.   While some programs allow for dependents to travel with the J-1 Visa holder on dependent J-2 Visas, there are many that do not.  Carefully research your desired program to ensure that your dependents would be eligible to come with you to the United States.  

There is no limit to the number of J Visas issued in a year, and the wait time for Embassy or Consulate interviews is generally very short.  The J Visa cannot be issued more than 120 days prior to the beginning of your participation in the sponsoring program, and the participant and dependents cannot enter the country with the J visa more than 30 days prior.




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Physician Prescribing Medicine to Patient

Two-year Home-country Physical Presence Requirement

An exchange visitor is subject to the two-year home-country physical presence requirement if the following conditions exist:
  • Government-funded exchange program – The program is financed in whole or in part directly or indirectly by the U.S. government or the government of the exchange visitor’s nationality or last residence;
  • Graduate medical education or training – The exchange visitor entered the United States to receive graduate medical education or training;
  • Specialized knowledge or skill: The exchange visitor is a national or permanent resident of a country that has deemed the field of specialized knowledge or skill necessary to the development of the country.

Restrictions – If you are subject to the two-year home-country physical presence requirement, you must return to your home country for a cumulative total period of at least two years before you can do change or Adjust Status or receive a temporary worker or Fianće Visa at a US Embassy or Consulate.

Waiver of Two Year Home-Country Physical Presence Requirement – If you are not able to fulfill the home-country presence requirement, you may apply for a waiver. Law Caddy can help you apply and request the necessary permission statements from your country of origin.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I have to pay US Taxes on my salary if I am paid for my work while in the US on an Exchange Visitor Visa?

Your Sponsoring program will provide detailed information about taxes, requirements vary by program.

Do I have to have a Sponsor from a designated exchange program, or can I pursue other training, internships or employment?

The State Department designates the U.S. government, and academic and private sector entities to conduct educational and cultural exchange programs. To participate in the Exchange Visitor Program, foreign nationals must be sponsored by one of the State Department-designated sponsors. The program sponsors are responsible for screening and selecting eligible foreign nationals for participation in their designated exchange visitor program, as well as supporting and monitoring exchange visitors during their stay in the United States.

If my dependents are eligible for J-2 Visas, what privileges do they have in the US during my participation in the Sponsoring Program?

In most cases, J-2 dependents can work and study in the United States. An employment Authorization Document must be obtained from ICE prior to beginning work, and the money earned by the J-2 cannot be used to support the J-1 Visa holder. Children of J-1 Visa holders with J-2 Visas may attend school without an F Visa. The J-2 Visa is only valid as long as the J-1 Visa Holder is participating in the Sponsor Program.

What is the difference between a J Visa - Exchange Visitor Visa - and an Q Visa - International Exchange Visitor?

The J-1 exchange visitor visa is for educational and cultural exchange programs designated by the Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The Q-1 visa is for participation in certain international cultural exchange programs. These programs are designed to provide practical training and employment and allow program participants to share the history, culture, and traditions of their home countries in the United States. A person who wants to participate in an international cultural exchange program must be approved in advance by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on the basis of a petition filed by the U.S. sponsor. If you have questions about which program may be right for you, talk to our Attorney On-Call to explore the options available in each program and get advice.

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