Let us simplify the complexities of immigration law.

Photo of attorneys and staff
photo of Fok Immigration Law Staff and Attorneys

J-1 Visas: Opening Opportunities For Work And Study-Based Exchanges

The Exchange Visitor (J) nonimmigrant visa category is for approving individuals to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs. In addition, the J-1 visa Exchange Visitor Program provides opportunities for approximately 300,000 foreign visitors from 200 countries and territories per year to experience U.S. society and culture and engage with Americans.

Common Questions And Answers About J-1 Visas

Who is eligible to apply for a J-1 visa?

J-1 visas are nonimmigrant visas issued by the United States. To research scholars, professors and exchange visitors. The design of the J-1 visa is to promote cultural exchange. In other words, including obtaining medical and/or business training within the United States.

What are the criteria for a J-1 visa? 

Applicants must have a sponsor by a university, private sector company or a government program.

Can I stay in the United States after my J-1 visa expires?

There is a 30-day grace period for individuals to stay in the United States after their exchange program ends.

What if I want to change my status after having been on a J-1 visa? Do I need to leave the United States?

Pursuant to Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Some J-1 persons have a requirement that he or she goes back to their home country for 2 years. Also known as, the 2-year home country physical presence requirement. Therefore, for J-1’s with the two-year home presence requirement, a change of status or applying for a green card is not possible until fulfilling the residency requirement or receiving a waiver.

Can you waive the two-year mandatory home-country physical presence requirement?

Yes, waiving the two-year home-country stay can be complete if 1) Issuing a No Objection Statement (NOS) by the J-visa’s home country; 2) In addition, the J visa holder can demonstrate that their departure would cause an exceptional hardship. To their U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident dependents; 3) After that, they would suffer persecution in their home country; 4) In addition, an interested government agency has determined that the J-1 person is working for the agency’s interest and their departure would be detrimental to its interest; or 5) The Conrad Program, in which a foreign medical graduate has an offer a full-time employment in a health care facility designated in a health care professional shortage area.

Fok Immigration Law Can Answer Your Immigration Law Questions

At Fok Immigration Law, our California immigration attorneys have the experience you need to navigate the complex visa process. Call our San Jose office at 408-606-8911, or contact us online. We offer free initial case evaluation.