J-1 Status

The J-1 exchange visitor program is designed to promote the interchange of persons, knowledge, and skills in the fields of education, arts, and sciences. Participants include:

  • Students at all academic levels
  • Trainees obtaining on-the-job training with firms, institutions, and agencies
  • Teachers of primary, secondary, and specialized schools
  • Professors coming to teach or do research at institutions of higher learning
  • Research scholars
  • Professional trainees in the medical and allied fields
  • International visitors coming to U.S. to tour, observe, consult, conduct research, receive training, demonstrate specialized knowledge or skills, or participate in an organized people-to-people program

Benefits of the J-1 Visa

  • You can enter the U.S. as an exchange visitor
  • Your dependents can stay with you as long as you maintain your J-1 status. They can also attend school while on the J-2 dependent visa.
  • You are exempt from Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax withholdings.
  • Your dependents are eligible to apply for employment authorization, and may work in the U.S. However, they cannot get work authorization if the money earned is needed to support you while you are here in the U.S.

Requirements for the J-1 Visa

To qualify for a J-1 exchange visitor visa, you must prove that:

  • You have sufficient funds to cover all expenses, or funds must be provided by the sponsoring organization in the form of a scholarship or other stipend.
  • You have sufficient scholastic preparation to participate in the designated program.
  • You are sufficiently proficient in English to participate in the designated program, or the sponsoring organization has made special arrangements to teach you the English language.

Note: You may be exempt from this requirement if you intend to come to the U.S. to participate exclusively in an English language training program.

  • You have permanent residence in your home country, which you do not intend to abandon after the completion of your project or studies in the United States.
  • You intend to depart the United States upon completion of the project or your course of study. You may establish this by presenting evidence of economic, social and/or family ties in your homeland sufficient to induce you to leave the U.S. upon completion of the project or studies.
  • Your proposed time in the United States would be useful in your homeland, and therefore induce you to leave upon completion of the project or your studies.