The J1 visa is intended for applicants who are interested in pursuing education, an internship, or getting hands-on training in the US for a short period of time. The J-1 visa program allows individuals to both study and work, at the same time. Also, this non-immigrant visa allows international applicants to enter the US to participate in cultural exchange and gain profession-related skills. Presently, over 170,000 J1 visa holders are in the US working, studying, or teaching. Individuals can come to the US through sponsorship through either a governmental program or a private organization.
J1 Visa Categories
The J-1 Visa Program includes 13 different exchange programme categories. Depending on the category chosen, a visa obtained under the ‘J1 Exchange Visitor Program’ will allow an international applicant to work, train or travel in the US. The J1 Visa also benefits US businesses by providing them with seasonal staff. Here are some of the main categories of the J1 visa -
- Short-Term Scholar - Every year, research scholars teach along with conducting research at US universities for up to six months.
- Au Pair - Individuals between the ages of 18 - 26 years can come to the US to study and live with a sponsored family for up to two years. They can study at a US university, along with providing childcare to the sponsor family.
- Internship – Recent graduates can come to the US to learn about American culture and get hands-on experience in their chosen profession.
- Work and Travel – Full-time students enrolled at a post-secondary school can come to the US to work and travel during the winter, spring and summer season breaks.
- Camp Counselor – Individuals who are 18 years or older can come to the US and work with local youth at the US summer camps as camp teachers.
- International Visitor Program - the US Department of State selects international visitors to consult, research, observe, and train with the US colleges
Studying in the US on J1 Visa
Many J1 holders who are in US universities are typically research scholars or visiting professors. Other J1 programs also offer educational opportunities, such as Au Pairs. Though it is important to check with your sponsor family to determine the visa you will be applying to.
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Working in the US on J1 Vis
The number of hours you are allowed to work depends on the program you apply for. So it is important to research beforehand and know the requirements. Some J1 visas have a two-year residence requirement, which means you would be required to remain in India for two years after finishing your J1 program.
How to Apply for J1 Visa?
The application process for a J1 visa is similar to that of a tourist visa (B1). Below are the steps you need to follow to apply for the J1 visa -
- Complete and submit the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form
- Pay the visa fee ($160)
- Schedule your visa appointment and Bio-metric appointment
- For your visa application centre appointment, you will need to bring along your passport, DS-160 confirmation page, and your appointment confirmation page.
- Visit the U.S. Embassy or Consulate on the date of your visa interview
Scheduling J1 Visa Interview
Interviews would be required if applying for a J1 visa, but some exceptions with applicants falling in a certain age group may differ from one another. The following table throws more light on which age group candidates can expect to be called for an interview by the consular officers:
If the applicant's age is
Then an interview for J1 visa is:
13 and younger
Not usually required
14 - 79
May be required (exceptions for renewals)
80 and older
Generally not mandatorily required
Applicants should try and fix an appointment for their J1 visa interview in the city of residence.
Appointment Wait Time for J1 Visa
Wait times for interview appointments requested by J1 visa applicants should know that they vary by location and season's peak times, thus, it is always recommended that applicants should apply for their visa early. Review the interview wait time for the location where you will apply on the official website only.