The J visa is based on exchanges between the United States and foreign countries and is a comprehensive visa covering several different categories: (1) students; (2) trainees; (3) teachers; (4) professors; (5) international visitors; (6) alien physicians; (7) government visitors; (8) researchers; (9) short term scholars; (10) specialists; (11) camp counselors; and (12) au pairs. Most of these categories permit full-time work authorization for varying time units. Organizations must set up their own J-1 program in order to sponsor exchange visitors or use an existing program. We can assist employers in setting up a J program or in locating an organization with an appropriate J-1 program for your situation.
Two-year Home Residence Requirements: Participation in certain J-1programs may impose a two-year home residence requirement upon the visa holder. The two-year home residence requirement must be satisfied or waived before the J-1 visa holder is permitted to change status to H-1B or L, or to adjust status to permanent resident.
Waiver of the Two-Year Home Residence Requirements: Whether and how waivers may be obtained depends upon the basis of the obligation. Some obligations may be waived by obtaining a no objection statement from the home country of the J-1. Other obligations may only be waived if an interested government agency petitions on behalf of the J-1. Finally, if the J-1 can demonstrate that his or her return home for two years would impose exceptional hardship on a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident spouse a hardship waiver may be available. Please click here for more detailed information.
Duration: The different categories of J-1 exchanges have different time limits ranging from just a few months to several years.
Dependents: Unlike most other nonimmigrant categories, J-2 family members of J-1s may apply for and receive work authorization if they can show that income is not needed to support the J-1 alien.