J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa
J-1 visas are available for teaching, studying, business or professional training, research or special skills. J-1 programs are either funded by a government program, non-government organization private sponsor, or an educational fellowship or company. Length of period is up to 18 months. It may be 36 months for post-doctoral training less any period previously used for academic training. There is also a 30-day grace period.
Practical Training Programs
J-1 is available to enhance skills in a specialty or non-specialty program or to improve knowledge of U.S. technologies in a specified commercial field. J-1 training cannot be used as an employment substitute or just to gain experience. It must be structured on-the-job training program.
Will include Structural Internship
Applications are made to a designated organization approved by the Department of State.
J-1 status is available for teaching, consulting or serving at a post-secondary accredited institution. Researcher can include corporate research institutes, museums and libraries. There is an unapproved proposal to extend the period for professors or researchers to a 5-year period. The present maximum is 3 years with possible 6-month extension.
J-1 is also available to experts in a specialized field who can consult or observe or demonstrate special skills. This period of stay is limited to one year.
Used by the Department of State for People to People cultural exchange programs.
J-1 status is used for special programs for graduate of foreign medical schools. J-1 visas are also available for camp counselors and au pairs.
Two-Year Home Country Requirement
Certain J-1 visitors are required to return to their home country before changing status to H or L temporary worker categories, and also before adjusting status to permanent resident without having to return home for this period. The restriction applies to J-1 and J-2, and to certain government funded programs, which are on a “skills list.” The two years need not be continuous. The 2- year requirement may be waived, but only for exceptional hardship to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or child, or for fear of possible persecution. Waivers may also be granted by obtaining a “no objection” letter from the home country government or by recommendation from a federal government agency or state agency for certain J-1 physicians.