San Diego J Visas and Waivers Lawyer
J-1 Visas and Waivers
A citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a non-immigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Exchange visitor (J-1) visas are non-immigrant visas for individuals, among others, approved to participate in exchange visitor programs in the United States.
Types of Professions that Qualify
Typically, individuals who fall into this category include professors, research scholars and other individuals with similar education or accomplishments who want to travel to the United States for a short-term visit for to lecture, observe, consult, train or demonstrate special skills at research institutions, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited academic institutions or similar types of institutions.
College Students & Recent Gradautes
Another group of individuals for whom a J-1 visa would be necessary are those who wish to participate in internship programs designed to allow foreign college and university students or recent graduates to come to the United States to gain exposure to U.S. culture and to receive hands-on experience in U.S. business practices in their chosen occupational field.
Home-Country Physical Presence Requirement
Certain of these exchange visitors with J-1 visas are subject to a two-year home-country physical presence requirement that requires them to return to their home country for at least two years at the end of their exchange visitor program.
A J-1 visa holder who is subject to the home-country physical presence requirement under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) §212(E) must either return to his or her home country upon expiration of the J-1 visa or obtain a J-1 waiver before he or she may change his or her status to H1B, L1 or adjust their status to permanent resident (green card). If the J-1 visa holder cannot qualify for a waiver, he or she may obtain an F-1 or O-1 visa via third country processing without returning to his or her home country.
As a current or past exchange visitor (J-1) visa holder, you may be subject to the two-year home-country physical presence requirement, also known as the foreign residence requirement under U.S. law, for one or more of the following reasons:
- You participated in an exchange program that was funded in whole or in part by a U.S. government agency, your home country’s government, or an international organization that received funding from the U.S. government or your home country’s government.
- You participated in an exchange program involving an area of study or field of specialized knowledge that has been designated as necessary for further development of your home country and appears on the Exchange Visitor Skills List for your home country.
- You participated in an exchange program to receive graduate medical education or training.
Exchange Program Requirements
A J-1 visa is required for a person who is looking to remain temporarily in the U.S. during an “exchange program.” These programs can mean any number of things, including: working as an au pair, a scientist, or during summer employment.
Students & Physicians
People working as students and physicians are also eligible for this type of temporary visa. A person using a J-1 visa is expected to return home to their native country for two years after they complete their program in order to shdare the skills they have acquired. But bear in mind, that it’s possible for a person to obtain a J-1 visa waiver to eliminate the required two-year “return.”
A J-1 visa is administered by the US Department of State. To apply for a J-1 visa you will need to fill out the DS-2019 form in addition to the respective forms needed to obtain the DS-2019 form. A Responsible Officer (RO) or Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) will be able to help you determine which forms you will need.
Spouses and children of J-1 visa holders are able to obtain a J-2 visa status. The J-2 status allows a person to apply to be eligible for employment. The income received from employment cannot be used to support a J-1 visa holder. A work permit for a J-2 visa holder can be obtained by filling out form I-765.
You are able to obtain a J-1 waiver through the following: (1) No Objection Letters (For for IMGs); (2) Exceptional Hardship; (3) Persecution; and (4) Interested Government Agencies (IGAs).
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