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Who Qualifies for the J1 Visa?

The J-1 program aims at promoting the interchange of person, knowledge, and skills. This is applicable to the areas of education, arts, and science and is known as the “Exchange Visitor Program.”

Foreign individuals who want to teach, study, receive training, or demonstrate special skills in the U.S. need to obtain a J-1 visa. The J-1 visa is available for aliens who wish to enter the U.S. under the designation of “Exchange Visitor.”

J-1 visas can either come with a “Home Residency Requirement” (HRR) or without a HRR. However, J-1 visas that require a HRR can be waived under certain circumstances.

In order to obtain a J-1 visa, the sponsor must be accredited through an Exchange Visitor Program, which is designated by the U.S. Department of State (DOS).

J-1 sponsored individuals must fall under any one of these categories:

  • Specialist
  • College/university student
  • Secondary school student
  • Government visitor
  • International visitor, who need to move into the U.S for the purpose of travel, research, observation, consultation, sharing etc.
  • Physician
  • Short-term scholar
  • Intern
  • Au Pair
  • Camp Counselor
  • Professor and research scholar
  • Teacher of primary, secondary and specialized schools
  • Summer work travel
  • Trainee: Those who obtain eligibility for on-job training in institutions, agencies and firms

The J-1 visa holder is restricted to performing only the activity that is approved by the exchange visitor program. They need to return to their home country and stay there for a period of two years after the completion of the J-1 visa period.

A complete list of the sponsoring organizations is available with the Department of State (DOS.)

Contact our office today to speak with a lawyer to learn more about your options and to begin the visa application process.

Updated on January 15, 2020

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  1. Hi,

    A licensed secondary teacher here from the Philippines with 9 years of experience. I would just like to ask if it’s possible for me to apply? I also have a daughter who is currently a secondary school student. Can she also be eligible to apply? If so, will we be allowed to be in the same school? Please advise as we are both interested for the J1 Visa.

    Thank you very much for your time. Looking forward to hearing from you soon.


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