A J-1 is a temporary, nonimmigrant visa issued to an exchange visitor. There is no statutory cap on the number of J-1 visas available annually, but each year the Department of State allocates a pre-set number of Certificates of Eligibility (Form DS-2019) to program sponsors to issue to potential participants in exchange visitor programs across the country. This certificate, together with other necessary Department of State documents, permits the potential exchange visitors and their dependents to schedule an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate to apply for a J visa to enter the United States.
J-1: Exchange Visitor
The goal of the Exchange Visitor (J) NIV category is to foster mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and other countries through educational and cultural exchanges. The Exchange Visitor Program is administered by the Office of Exchange Coordination and Designation in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. There are numerous programs, each with its own application requirements, which allow applicants to work, study, teach, train, or research in the U.S.
This visa program is for professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, bona fide trainee or intern, college or university student, teacher, secondary school student, nonacademic specialist, foreign physician, international visitor, government visitor, camp counselor, au pair, or summer student in a travel/work program.
At the conclusion of the program, participants are expected to return to the home countries to utilize the experience and skills they have acquired while in the U.S.
J-2: Family Members of J-1 Visa Holder
The spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 accompanying J-1 Visa holders who accompany or later join the J-1 holder in the U.S. can apply for a J-2 Visa. The immigration status of a J-2 Visa ends at the same time as the associated J-1 Visa holder’s status.