J-Visas For Exchange Visitors & J Waivers

The J-1 Visa allows those who are approved to participate in an “exchange program” to temporarily remain in the U.S. for the duration of the program. J-1 program categories range from au pair, scientist, student to physician, and can also provide for summer employment. Often, but not always, the J-1 nonimmigrant is expected to return to his home country for 2 years after completion of his program, in order to utilize the experience and skills he had acquired. However, this 2-year requirement only applies to obtaining an H or L visa or permanent residence in the United States. Sometimes, it is possible to obtain a J waiver to eliminate this 2-year requirement.

The J program is administered by the US Department of Status. In order to apply for a J-1 visa, you need to obtain form DS-2019 from your sponsoring agency. You need to ask either the Responsible Officer (RO) or the Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) what documents you need in order to obtain form DS-2019.

Spouses and children of J-1 visa holders may be obtained J-2 status. Persons in J-2 status may apply for employment authorization documents although their income may not be used to support the J-1 visa holder. Persons in J-2 status should apply for their work permits using form I-765. J waivers may be obtained by the following means: (1) No Objection Letters (Not for IMGs); (2) Exceptional Hardship; (3) Persecution; and (4) Interested Government Agencies (IGAs).

General Resources – J Visas Waivers

J Waivers

The major drawback of the J visa is that some exchange visitors are permitted to enter the U.S. only on the condition that they exit this country for a minimum of two years after their program is completed. Exchange visitors are subject to the two home residency requirement if:

• The obtained money from either their home government or the U.S. government.

• Their occupation is listed on the Exchange Visitor Skills List.

• They are coming to the U.S. to obtain graduate medical education or training.

It is sometimes difficult to obtain a “J waiver”, or an exception, to this two-year foreign residency requirement. This is true even if the foreign national has married a U.S. citizen during the course of his or her stay in the United States. Nevertheless, in many cases, J visa holders can obtain waivers. The latest State Department procedures regarding J waivers should be followed.

To learn more Click here.

Exchange Visitor Categories

The Chamber Coalition in New York is a not-for-profit corporation incorporated under New York State Law. We do not provide actual legal advice, but only general advice without any liability. In most cases it is necessary to contact a U.S. lawyer. The Legal Department of the Chamber Coalition advises companies in various aspects of business through our partner, The Law Firm of Figeroux & Associates. We would be happy to get to know you through a non-committal conversation. For a FREE Case evaluation, click here.

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