J-1 Exchange Visitor Visas

The J-1 Exchange Visitor visa is available if a foreign national is coming to the U.S. as a foreign student, scholar, trainee, teacher, professor, research assistant, medical graduate, or international visitor, or an industrial or business trainee to participate in a program specifically approved by the U.S. Department of State. The sponsoring employer must first obtain approval of an exchange visitor program by the Department of State. The J-1 exchange visitor may accept employment in the U.S. The Department of State website can be accessed for updated information about exchange visitor programs at: Exchanges State.

The Department of State designates public and private entities to act as exchange sponsors. These programs are designed to promote the interchange or persons, knowledge, and skills, in the fields of education, arts, and science. Once you obtain the appropriate form from your Sponsor, you may apply for an exchange visitor J-1 visa at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in your country of residence. The wait time for an interview and processing for a J-1 Visa varies from country to country and is based on your individual circumstances. It is worth noting that exchange visitors beginning new programs may not enter the United States more than 30 days before their program start date.

There is a special provision involved in the J-1 visa. Some J-1 visitors may be subject to a stipulated two year foreign residence requirement. This means that if the exchange visitor wants to apply to change his non-immigrant visa category or for an adjustment of status, with some exceptions, he is required to spend two years in his home country before becoming eligible to do so.

Waiver of the two year foreign residence requirement is available in limited situations, but is a complex area of law.

Family Members

The J-1 visa holder’s spouse and unmarried children, who are under twenty-one (21) years of age are eligible for the J-2 visa and may stay in the U.S. The spouse of the J-1 visa holder may be authorized to work in the U.S. with special prior permission from the USCIS.

Validity Period

The validity of the J-1 visa depends upon the type of program in which the visitor is admitted to the U.S. The maximum period of stay varies based on the exchange visitor category.

Evidentiary Requirements for the J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa

  • Certificate of eligibility by the sponsoring organization
  • Evidence showing the foreign national’s eligibility and qualifications to join the chosen program
  • Evidence showing the exchange visitor’s ties and relationship with family members staying back home or any other evidence that shows intent to return back to their home country
  • Evidence of the foreign national’s ability to bear expenses for the program, such as bank statements or financial documents

At The Ahluwalia Firm, Our Emphasis is on

  • Providing zealous representation before the USCIS
  • Providing careful review of your personal circumstances
  • Providing careful coordination of all correspondence with government agencies
  • Ensuring a service-delivery model that meets and exceeds your satisfaction

For additional information about our ability to help, prepare, and file all the necessary documents required to apply for the J-1Exchange Visitor visa, contact us for reliable advice.

Source: USCIS Website


Dear Mr. Ahluwalia, I would like to thank you for all your help with Dr. xxx case. She and I were very impressed with your services and the professionalism that you showed both of us. I am referring you to a very good friend of mine who is opening a manufacturing plant and wants to bring his brother in as a partner/investor/employee from Italy. I am forwarding your information for xxxx to contact you and make arrangements accordingly. Thank you for all your help.

Dr. F.

Inderjit, thank you so very much. I sincerely appreciate all the effort you took to get this approved and your incredible patience. As xxx mentioned, we will only work with you for all our future H1's. Thanks once again.


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