J-1 Exchange Visitors

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The J-1 category is intended for individuals participating in educational and cultural exchange programs designated by the Department of State, Exchange Visitor Program, and Designation Staff.”The “J” exchange program is designated to promote the interchange of persons, knowledge, and skills in education, the arts, and sciences.”

Participants in this exchange program can include:

In order to participate in these programs, the applicant must prove that he or she has sufficient funds to cover all of his/her expenses or the expenses must be paid by the sponsoring organization in the form of a stipend or scholarship.

Foreign Residency Requirement: Certain individuals participating in J-1 programs will be subject to a two-year foreign residency requirement. "If one is subject to this requirement, the person must return to his or her country of nationality or last residence after completing the program and reside there physically for two (2) years before becoming eligible to apply for either an immigrant visa or a temporary worker’s visa to return to the United States." One is subject to this requirement if:

  1. The program was paid for by the U.S. Government or an agency of the U.S. Government either directly or indirectly;
  2. The program was funded by the exchange visitor’s government;
  3. If the person is a national or resident of a country that has been designated by the Exchange Visitor Program and Designation Staff as requiring the skills of an exchange visitor; or
  4. One is coming to the United States to receive graduate medical education or training.

The spouse and minor children of a J-1 nonimmigrant are entitled to J-2 status.” Spouses and children in J-2 status are eligible to apply for work authorization (an EAD card) after entering the United States.

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