J-1 Exchange Visitor Visas

The J-1 Visa is a temporary nonimmigrant visa which allows foreign employees to work for designated sponsoring organizations. The purpose of the program is to increase mutual understanding between citizens of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges.

This visa is available for:

  • Au Pairs;
  • Summer work/travel;
  • Students participating in exchange programs (secondary and university/college);
  • Research scholars;
  • Individual physicians;
  • Individuals pursuing business and industrial training programs;
  • Professors;
  • Foreign nationals who are recognized as potential leaders or experts to engage in observation tours, discussions, consultation, professional meetings, and training, and
  • Organizations authorized by the Department of State to sponsor foreign nationals for training.

Before applying for the visa, the applicant must be accepted as a participant in an American exchange program and be able to satisfy all the visa requirements.

Who qualifies?

The basic requirements for applicants are:

  • Intention to remain in the US for a temporary and limited period;
  • A valid passport;
  • An offer from a designated exchange program;
  • Ability to meet all qualifying criteria for the exchange program entered into;
  • Sufficient funds to cover expenses in the US, and
  • Intent to return to their country of nationality at the end of the program.

Accepted applicants may enter the US 30 days or less in advance of the start of their exchange program. Spouses and dependent children under the age of 21 may receive J-2 visas and join the principal J-1 visa holder provided that they meet the requirements for a visa.

What are some of the problems and issues encountered by applicants for J-1 visas?

For certain categories of J-1 applicants, consular officers refuse numerous applications. For examples, Summer Work Travel applicants are graded on their knowledge of English; how they respond to questions at the interview; and how well they know their employer. Consuls will contact and do checks of potential employers to ensure that the job is bona fide. Young women from certain countries are subjected to greater scrutiny. The intermediate company facilitating a job offer may be viewed negatively if many of its clients from previous years did not return. This can lead to an alien smuggling charge against the principals; cancellation of their accreditation; or en masse refusals of their clients. Even if a J-1 visa is issued, there is no assurance that a J-2 visa will be issued to a spouse or child.

How does White and Associates help?

We can help you prepare for your visa interview. We can help allay your concerns and deal with difficult questions. We can help you prepare supporting documentation. In addition to providing a consultation, we can also represent you in the visa application process. Issuance of one visa can pave the way for future visas, but one refusal can irrevocably taint the ability to obtain a visa. Even if you have been denied a J-1 or J-2 visa, we may be in a position to assist (see the Case Studies on our site visarefusal.com for examples of how we have helped visa applicants overcome J-1 refusals — http://visarefusal.com/case_studies/)

J-1 visa interviews are extremely subjective. Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act gives consuls unprecedented leeway in denying applications. If any of the above listed factors applies to you, you should consider consulting a professional before paying the visa processing fees. In addition, the human factor is so important: how will the visa applicant handle the interview? How will the applicant answer questions from the consul? Does the applicant get nervous in an official setting? Intimidated by public officials/authorities? How does the applicant look at the visa interview — professional? Poor? Overdressed? Ostentatious? We can conduct a mock visa interview over Skype to best prepare you for the actual interview. Don’t underestimate the process. Contact us for a consultation.