The J-1 visa is given to those who will be entering the U.S. to participate in an approved educational or cultural program. The J-1 nonimmigrant visa category was created to promote educational and cultural exchange activities between the United States and other countries.
A J-1 visa is available to trainees, interns, professors or research scholars, short-term scholars, foreign doctors, camp counselors, au pairs and students in work/travel programs in the U.S. Upon expiration, it often requires the person to return home for two years before switching to another visa category.
Time limits of the J-1 visa issued vary depending on type of program (training — 18 months; interns — 12 months; scholars and professors — up to three years; au pairs — 12 months; medical residents — up to seven years; students are not limited); students are eligible for up to 18 months of post-graduate work authorization (up to 36 months if post-doctoral work); students must be enrolled full-time; spouses and children are entitled to work authorizations; no USCIS approval is required before a consulate can issue the visa.
The J-1 visa is issued to the principal who will be participating in an authorized exchange program. Spouses and children of J-1's are issued derivative visas, J-2's. J-2 spouses may be issued an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) upon application to the USCIS.
A foreigner national admitted in J-1 status may be subject to a two-year foreign (home country) residence requirement. Without a waiver of this requirement, the foreign national is not eligible to apply for a change within the U.S. to an alternate nonimmigrant visa, any change to permanent residence, or any change to an H or L nonimmigrant visa. This two-year period must be spent in the foreigner's home country, or the country in which they last permanently resided before coming to the U.S.
To schedule an initial consultation with a Memphis Immigration attorney, call (901) 692-5732 or with a New York City Immigration Attorney, call (646) 380-0474 or contact Witty Law Group, PLLC.