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The J visa is granted to exchange visitors coming to the U.S. temporarily to study, teach, research, or to receive training under the sponsorship of university, private company, the U.S. government, or the foreign national’s own government. The organization sponsoring the foreign national under the J visa must be approved by the government. The purpose of the J visa is to allow foreign nationals to participate in educational programs in the U.S. Under the J visa, there are different categories. Examples of categories under the J visa are, professors, research scholars, physicians, college and university students, camp counselor, government visitor, and international visitor.

J visa Requirements:

  • Completion of requirements for the enrollment to the U.S. school the exchange visitor will be entering,
  • Obtain a form called “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status” (DS-2019),
  • Proof that there are sufficient funds to cover all school and living expenses or sponsoring organization that will provide such funds while in the U.S.,
  • Be proficient in English or entering a program for non-English speakers.

J visa Application Process:
The J visa application should be submitted at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy with jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of permanent residence. The J visa application should be submitted along with required forms and documents. Also, an interview is usually required for the first time J visa applicants.

2-year Home Country Residency Requirement:
While certain individuals see the J visa as the most ideal visa to come to the U.S., some are reluctant to apply for the J visa because of the possibility of the 2-year Home Country Residency Requirement applying to them. If the 2-year Home Country Residency Requirement applies, it requires J visa exchange visitors to return to their home countries and reside there for 2 years before being eligible to apply for an immigrant visa or a nonimmigrant H or L visa. However, certain individuals may be able to obtain a waiver for the 2-year Home Country Residency Requirement. For more information on the applicability of the 2-year Home Country Residency Requirement and its waiver, please contact our experienced attorneys for a free consultation.