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Who is Eligible?
Exchange Visitor. Eligibility for a "J" Visa requires an applicant to be a bona fide trainee. The applicant must be a student, professor, research scholar, on-academic specialist, foreign physician, teacher, counselor, au pair or summer student in a travel/work program. The applicant must be entering the U.S. to participate in an exchange visitor program that has been designated by the U.S. Information Agency and whose participation includes such purposes as teaching, studying consulting, training. The applicant must have sufficient funds and maintains sufficient medical insurance for J Visa holder and his/her family.
Two Year Foreign Residency Requirement
Certain J Visa holders are subject to a requirement that they must return to their home country or country of last residence for a two year period upon completion of their training in the U.S.
Applicant may apply for a waiver of this 2-year home residence requirement. The
applicant would have to show that he or she is:
1. Would be subject to persecution on account of race, religion or political opinion
2. Departure from the U.S. would impose an exceptional hardship
3. No objection waiver. Here, the Applicant's home country can issue a no objection letter regarding the applicant's decision to not return home.
4. Request by the applicant to a U.S. Agency.
File an application with correct Government agency.
Example: USDA is an example for some physicians
1. A letter of concurrence from the State Dept.
2. Letter from employer describing its facility, the program, the rural area in which it is located, and the criteria needed for the alien's services and the impact of a waiver of denial.
3. USIA Data Sheet
4. Evidence that area of employment is HPSA
5. Evidence of Alien's qualifications: all IAP-66 forms, Curriculum vitae
6. Evidence of recruitment efforts
7. Employment contract (minimum of three years)
8. Statement from Physician (Notarized) that he is not applying with any other Agency
The USDA will forward a statement to the U.S. Department of State who will then forward the Alien a letter requesting payment of the Waiver process.
Duration of Visa
The J-1 visa is valid for the length of time the employer requires the alien's services, up to a maximum of 18 months with no renewal for Business/Industrial trainees. Professors and scholars are limited to 3 years with one 3 year extension given for exceptional circumstance.
Status of Spouse and Minor Children
A spouse or unmarried child of a J-1 visa holder is entitled to an J-2 visa. Spouse and children are subject to the same residency requirements of the J-1 visa holder. The spouse and children have this requirement waived when such is approved for the J-1 holder.