J-1 Visa

ou may apply for a J-1 visa through the U.S. Department of State at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. As the waiting time for an interview appointment for applicants can vary, submitting your visa application as early as possible is recommended.

What Is J-1 Visa?

The J-1 classification (exchange visitors) is for those who intend to participate in an approved program for teaching, instructing or lecturing, studying, observing, conducting research, consulting, demonstrating special skills, receiving training, or receiving graduate medical education or training.In carrying out the responsibilities of the Exchange Visitor Program, the Department of State designates public and private entities to act as exchange sponsors. J-1 nonimmigrants are sponsored by an exchange program designated as such by the U.S. Department of State. These programs are designed to promote the interchange of persons, knowledge, and skills in education, arts, and science.

Who Qualifies for a J-1 visa?

Applicants who fall under the exchange visitors J-1 visa include:

  • Professors or scholars.
  • Research assistants.
  • Students.
  • Trainees. Teachers.
  • Specialists.
  • Au Pairs.
  • Camp counselors.

In case you need any clarity on your eligibility, you can reach out to our immigration lawyers.

Application Process For a J-1 visa

The U.S. Department of State plays the primary role in administering the J-1 exchange visitor program. The first step in obtaining a J-1 visa is to submit a Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status. Your sponsoring agency will provide you with this form. It’s crucial that you work closely with the officials at your sponsoring agency who will be assisting you through this process. An official authorized to issue Form DS-2019 is known as a responsible officer (RO) or alternate responsible officer (ARO). Your R.O. or ARO will explain to you what documents are needed to be issued a DS-2019. After obtaining a Form DS-2019, you may apply for a J-1 visa through the U.S. Department of State at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. As the waiting time for an interview appointment for applicants can vary, submitting your visa application as early as possible is recommended. However, you may not enter the United States in J-1 status more than 30 days before your program begins.


Some J-1 nonimmigrants come to the U.S. intending to work, while others do not. J-1 nonimmigrants are only permitted to work under the provisions of the exchange program.

Family of J-1 Visa Holders

Regardless of nationality, your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age are entitled to J-2 classification. Your spouse and children are entitled to employment authorization; however, their income may not be used to support you. To apply for employment authorization as a J-2 nonimmigrant, your spouse or child will have to file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

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Other Type Of Student Visa

What documents are required to get a J-1 Visa?

To apply for a J-1 visa, you must submit:

  • Form DS-160, a Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application.
  • DS-7002 Form, A Training/Internship Placement Plan (for exchange visitor trainees or intern visa applicants)
  • A passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity for at least six months beyond your expected stay in the country (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions). If your passport contains more than one person, each person who needs a visa must apply separately.
  • A recent photograph (2 x 2 inches) taken in the last six months
  •  Unless your J-1 program is sponsored by the United States Government (with a program code beginning with a “G”), you must pay a US$160 non-refundable nonimmigrant visa application processing fee, payable in local currency. Depending on your nationality, there may be an additional visa issuance reciprocity fee if the visa is issued.
  • An approved DS-2019 form, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status
  • Unless the United States Government sponsors your J program, you must pay your Form I-901 SEVIS fee.

Additional Documents

In addition to the above documents, you must present an interview appointment letter.

You may also bring the following documents to support the information provided to the consular officer:

  • Documents demonstrating strong financial, social, and family ties to your home country that will compel you to return to your country after your program of study in the United States ends.
  • Financial and any other documents you believe will support your application and which give credible evidence that you have enough readily-available funds to meet all expenses for the first year of study and that you have access to funds sufficient to cover all expenses while you remain in the United States.
  • Photocopies of bank statements will not be accepted unless you can also show original copies of bank statements or original bank books.
  • If another person financially sponsors you, bring proof of your relationship to the sponsor (such as your birth certificate), the sponsor’s most recent original tax forms, and the sponsor’s bankbooks or fixed deposit certificates.
  • Academic documents that show academic preparation. Useful documents include school transcripts (original copies are preferred) with grades, public examination certificates (A-levels, etc.), standardized test scores (SAT, TOEFL, etc.), diplomas, and information about your intended program of academic study.

Because of the paperwork and authorities involved, applying for a J-1 visa can be taxing. Any discrepancy in the documents could potentially result in a refusal. Nevertheless, with the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney, you can better the chances of J-1 visa acceptance. The Law Offices of Prashanthi Reddy, PLLC, have assisted numerous petitioners in processing and obtaining exchange visitor program permits. You can rely on our services to apply for a J-1 visa. For more information, contact The Law Offices of Prashanthi Reddy at prashanthi@reddyesq.com, or call us at 212-354-1010.


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