J-1 Exchange Visitors

J-1 Exchange Visitors

The J-1 visa is designed to provide educational and cultural exchange programs, and to promote the sharing of individuals, knowledge and skills in education, arts and sciences. This visa enables people to participate in exchange visitor programs in the United States. Participants in this visa include students, trainees involved in on-the-job training, teachers engaged in research and teaching and international visitors interested in traveling, researching, consulting and demonstrating specific knowledge. Your spouse and/or unmarried children under the age of 21 may apply for entry under J-2 status.

Steps

You should apply for a J-1 Visa at the US Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over your place of permanent residence. While you may apply at any US consular office abroad, it is advised you apply within your jurisdiction. Participants in the J exchange program should present a Form IAP-66, prepared by a designated sponsoring organization.

Documents

The following documents are required for the J-1 Visa:

  1. A filled-in visa application Form DS-156.
  2. One recent photograph 1 & 1/2 inches square (37mm x 37mm) of each applicant, with the entire face visible. The picture should be taken before a light background and without head covering.
  3. A passport, valid for travel to the United States for at least six months longer than your intended visit.
  4. A completed form, IAP-66, prepared by a designated sponsoring organization.



A completed form, IAP-66, prepared by a designated sponsoring organization. You must also demonstrate the that you have binding ties to a residence in a foreign country which you have no intention of abandoning, and that you are coming to the United States for a temporary period of time.

American Immigration Law Foundation (AILF)

AILF is designated to sponsor J-1 training in the following four (4) occupational categories:

  1. Public Administration and Law
  2. Management, Business, Commerce and Finance
  3. Information Media and Communications
  4. Science, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics and Industrial Occupations

This includes, but is not limited to:

Law Advocacy Public Administration        
Communications Journalism Broadcasting
Publishing Information Media         Web Design
E-Commerce Computer Science         Architecture
Engineering Environmental Protection         Finance
Mathematics Auditing The Sciences
Skilled Industrial         Commerce Import/Export        
Strategic Planning         Management Marketing
Accounting Business Software Development        

Additional occupational categories may apply to interns.

Occupational Exclusions Disclaimer: trainees or interns may not be placed in unskilled or casual labor positions, positions involving more than 20 percent clerical work, positions requiring trainees to provide therapy, medication, or other clinical or medical care (e.g. sports or physical therapy, psychological counseling, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, social work, speech therapy, or early childhood education). In addition, no intern or trainee may be placed in a position that will displace American workers or fill a labor need.

Host Company Eligibility 

The Potential Host Company is required to document that:

  1. The Host Company has been in business at least 24 months.
  2. Host Companies with fewer than 25 employees or $3,000,000 in annual revenue must pre-qualify with AILF before applications will be considered.
  3. The Host Company currently has less than 10% of its total staff members, regardless of whether trainees, interns or in permanent staff positions, and regardless of how such staff are compensated (from stipend, grant or direct company payroll), in a J-1 Exchange Visitor Training Program.
  4. The Host Company has established a bona fide training program.
  5. The proposed training/internship is in one of the following four (4) categories:
    • Information Media and Communications;
    • Management, Business, Commerce and Finance;
    • Science, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics and Industrial Occupations; or
    • Public Administration and Law
  6. The Host Company has qualified personnel to provide the proposed training/internship.
  7. The Host Company has the appropriate facility and equipment to provide the proposed training/internship.
  8. The J-1 Exchange Visitor will not be engaging in ordinary employment.
  9. The Host Company will adequately remunerate the J-1 Exchange Visitor.

International Trainee Eligibility

Potential J-1 Exchange Visitor Trainees must document the following:

  1. A degree or professional certificate from an academic institution outside of the United States plus one year of non-U.S. work experience related to the proposed training, or
  2. At least five years of non-U.S. work experience related to the proposed training.
  3. Proposed J-1 training does not duplicate their previously completed work or training.
  4. Sufficient English-speaking skills so as to be able to fully benefit from the training and cultural opportunities in the United States.
  5. Can demonstrate how the training will be used upon return to the home country.
  6. Can demonstrate the intent to return to the home country.
  7. Will apply for the J-1 visa in the home country.

International Intern Eligibility

Potential J-1 Exchange Visitor Interns must document the following:

  1. Current enrollment in a post-secondary academic program outside of the United States, OR
  2. Graduated within the past 12 months from a post-secondary institution outside of the United States.
  3. Proposed J-1 training does not duplicate their previously completed work or training.
  4. Sufficient English-speaking skills so as to be able to fully benefit from the training and cultural opportunities in the United States.
  5. Can demonstrate how the training will be used upon return to the home country.
  6. Can demonstrate the intent to return to the home country.
  7. Will apply for the J-1 visa in the home country.

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