J1 Visa (Exchange Visa) and Qualified Person
A J1 visa (Exchange Visa) allows foreign nationals to come to the US to participate in a exchange program to promote the sharing of knowledge and skills in education, arts, and sciences.
In summary, to be eligible for a J1 visa (Exchange Visa), you must
i) be coming to work, study, teach, train, or consult in a specific exchange program approved by the Department of State (DOS) through its Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs,
ii) have been accepted into the program,
iii) have enough financial ability to cover expenses in the US, and
iv) have sufficient knowledge of English to participate in the program.
Process of Obtaining a J-1 Visa
Benefits and Limitations of J1 Visa (Exchange Visa)
You may enter the US up to 90 days before your authorized program begins. While on J1 visa status, you even study part-time, as long as it does not interfere with your program. J1 visa dependents may also obtain work authorization as long as employment is not used to support the principal J1 visa.
The duration of stay depends on the type of program you will be participating in. For example, many trainees may stay for the duration of the program, plus 18 months of practical training. Teacher programs can last up to 3 years. International cultural exchange visitors can stay for 1 year. Foreign medical students can stay in their internship/residency for up to 7 years. There is a 30 day grace period. The main drawback in J1 visa is the 2-year home residency requirement. In many J1 visa programs, you must return to your home country for 2 years before you can apply for admission to the US, change status, or apply for a green card.
Our Iranian J1 Visa Immigration Lawyer Can Help You Applying for a Waiver to the 2-year Home Residency Requirement
The home residence requirement may be waived under the following methods:
i) a no objection letter from the foreign national’s home country’s government, (about 5 months to process)
ii) Interested US Government Agency (IGA, which is a U.S. government agency that financially supports your program or has a strong interest in your area of research or study) requesting that the DOS waive the requirement in which the DOS and USCIS must agree, (around 4.5 months to process)
iv) hardship to a US Citizen spouse or child, (around 8 months to process) or
v) a designated state health agency requests a waiver on behalf of doctors who have been offered a full-time position with a medical facility serving areas with a shortage of medical professionals. Waiver procedure and timing to file vary. You should generally apply for a J1 waiver at least 6-12 months before the end of your residency program if you are a physician. Note that a waiver is generally not available to medical residents or interns who received medical training in the US, and foreign medical graduates sponsored by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates can not apply for a waiver based on “no objection.” Medical residents should try for H-1B Visa ideally, unless your program does not sponsor H-1B visas or if you have not passed USMLE Step 3, which is required for H-1B visa issuance
Contact Our Iranian J1 Visa Immigration Lawyer:
To discuss J-1 visas and other alternatives with an experienced California immigration lawyer from Aria Law Group, feel free to contact us by email or call us at (650) 391-9630.