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J-1 Exchange Visitor

J-1 Introduction
The J-1 visa category is used by foreign students, scholars, experts, medical interns and residents, "international visitors," and industrial and business trainees to enter the United States as "exchange visitors," in U.S. government approved "Exchange-Visitor Programs," for the purpose of gaining experience, studying, or doing research in their respective fields.

Benefits
1. Can come to the U.S. as an exchange visitor
2. Your dependents (spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21) can stay with you as long as you are in your J1 status. They can also attend school as J-2 dependent visa holder.
3. You are exempt from Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax withholdings
4. Your dependents are eligible to apply for employment authorization, and may work in the U.S. However, they cannot get work authorization if the money earned is needed to support you.

J-1 Category
1)A student, for the purpose of pursuing formal courses, or any combination of courses, research, or teaching, leading to a recognized degree or certificate, in an established school or institution of learning. Upon receipt of a degree or certificate, a student may be granted up to a maximum of 18 months of practical training provided:
The training is needed to round off the academic studies,
The training is not available in the student's home country,
The training is directly related to the academic program,
The training is authorized in writing by the Responsible Officer of the exchange visitor program involved;
2)A trainee, for the purpose of obtaining on-the-job training with firms, institutions and/or agencies in a specialized field of knowledge or skill for periods not to exceed 18 months;
3)A teacher, for the purpose of teaching in established primary or secondary schools, or established schools offering specialized instruction;
4)A professor, for the purpose of teaching or conducting advanced research, or both, in an established institution of higher learning;
5)A research scholar or specialist, for the purpose of undertaking or participating in research or in demonstrating specialized knowledge or skills;
6)An international visitor, for the purpose of travel, observation, consultation, research, training, sharing, or demonstrating specialized knowledge or skills, or participating in organized people-to-people programs; or
7)A professional trainee, for the purpose of pursuing clinical training in the medical and allied fields.

J-1 Requirements
1)The alien is sponsored by an organization approved by the Department of State (DOS), and granted authority to issue a Form DS-2019 to prospective J1 applicants
2)The alien have sufficient funds to cover all expenses, or funds must be provided by the sponsoring organization in the form of a scholarship or other stipend
3)The alien have sufficient scholastic preparation to participate in the designated program
4)The alien is sufficiently proficient in English to participate in the designated program, or the sponsoring organization has made special arrangements to teach the alien the English language or conduct the course in the alien's native language. The alien may be exempt from this requirement if he or she intends to come to the U.S. to participate exclusively in an English language training program
5)The alien must maintain a foreign residence which he or she has no intention of abandoning.
6)The alien intend to depart the U.S. upon completion of the course of study. He or she may establish this by presenting evidence of economic, social and/or family ties in his or her homeland sufficient to induce him or her to leave the U.S. upon completion of studies
7)The alien's proposed education in the U.S. would be useful in his or her homeland, and therefore induce him or her to leave the U.S. upon completion of studies
8)If the alien is coming to the U.S. to receive graduate medical education or training: he or she has passed the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination in Medical Sciences and the program does not include patient care.

J-1 Two-year Foreign Residence required
J-1 holder may be required to return to your home country and be physically present there for at least two years after the conclusion of your exchange visit before you become eligible to apply for an immigrant or nonimmigrant (H or L) visa if:

1)Your J1 program has been financed in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, by an agency of the U.S. Government or by your government
2)You are a national or resident of a country, which has been designated by the Exchange Visitor Program and Designation Staff as requiring the skills of the exchange visitor.                                                                                                                    

J-1 Wavier
J-1 holder may be able to obtain a J-1 waiver if subject to the Two-Year Rule requirement, and thus be eligible to apply for visas normally prohibited for applicants subject to the Two Year Rule. Waivers of the Two-Year Rule are adjudicated only by the Department of State's Visa Office. This Visa Office is also the final authority on whether an applicant is actually subject to the Rule, regardless of whether it was annotated in your passport or not. Moreover, Even if subject to the two year rule, you may still qualify for the issuance of a tourist visa, or any other nonimmigrant visa except for those noted above.

 
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