If you want to research, teach or receive training in the United States, you may want to consider applying for the J-1 visa. This exchange visitor visa promotes cultural and educational exchanges between America and countries around the globe. According to the U.S. Department of State, approximately 300,000 visitors get J-1 visas per year.
However, not everyone who applies will get the visa. If you have an interest in this exchange program, here are some basics you should know about it.
1. Meeting the eligibility requirements
The first step to receiving a J-1 visa is determining whether you meet the criteria. In order to get a J-1 visitor visa, you must be coming to America as one or more of the following:
- Research assistant
- Medical graduate
- International visitor
However, this is just the beginning to becoming eligible.
2. Getting a sponsor
Before you start the application process, you must find a sponsor who participates in the J-1 program to accept you. Some sponsors include certain universities, government agencies and private sector companies. You will not be able to apply for a J-1 visa until you secure a sponsor. You can find sponsors on the U.S. Department of State website. An immigration attorney can also help you find a sponsoring organization.
3. Receiving a Certificate of Eligibility
Once you find a sponsor who accepts you, it will send you a Certificate of Eligibility. This document lays out the details of the program, including the cost and duration of it. You will want to carefully review this document to catch any inaccuracies.
4. Attending a consulate interview
The final step is getting approval from an American consular in your country. At the meeting, the consulate official may ask you various questions about your intentions regarding the program and how you will cover the expenses of it. You can prepare for the interview by consulting with an immigration lawyer.