J-1 Student Visa – J1 Visa Requirements, & Application

You might be wondering about using the J1 student Visa to go to the US for educational reasons and what are the requirements and if it is possible for any dependent to join you while you’re studying too.

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What Is a J-1 Student Visa? 

The J-1 visa, also Exchange Visitor Visa or J-1 student visa and is for anyone that is outside the US who wishes to be part of the study and work-related exchange programs approved by the Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The J-1 student visa holder is sponsored by an educational or nonprofit institution.

The J-1 visa has categories of roles and/or programs that are eligible, some of the  types are:

  • Au Pair
  • Camp Counselor
  • College and University Student
  • Secondary School Student
  • Government Visitor
  • International Visitor
  • Physician
  • Professor
  • Research Scholar
  • Short-Term Scholar
  • Specialist
  • Summer Work Travel
  • Teacher
  • Trainee
  • Intern

When you are applying for a J-1 student visa under the College and University Student Program category, you can study at a college or university in the US and still be in the country for the duration of your course or degree program. 

The time you stay in the US on a J-1 student visa depends on the program you choose to pursue.

Anyone under the J-1 visa is required to return to their home country after graduation and live there for at least two years. You will be permitted to return to the US after fulfilling this requirement. In any case of emergency or special circumstances related to returning to your home country, this requirement can be waived.      

Can You Work in the US with a J-1 Visa?

Yes, you can! students under the J-1 student visa are allowed to work while studying, but they will have to obtain work authorization. There are some restrictions, like working part-time on campus for a maximum of 20 hours per week. Students are allowed to work full time during academic breaks.

What Are the J-1 Visa Program Requirements?

you are to meet the following J-1 visa student requirements when you want to  submit your application:

Maintain your funding source

At most 50% of your funding for your program must be provided by an accredited sponsor that is not a personal friend or family member.

Meet English language proficiency requirements

You are to get the required English language proficiency score of the university or college where you hope to enrol.

Maintain valid insurance

You and any dependents are to have medical insurance which goes with the minimum standards outlined by your host university.

Pre-arrival information and attend orientation

Your sponsor is expected to give you and any dependents any information about the selected program and give an orientation with any information about the region where you will study.

Listen to J-1 visa rules

You and your sponsor are to ensure that you follow all J-1 student visa requirements and are actively maintaining your status as a J-1 student visa holder. Your sponsor is to provide you with an emergency 24-hour contact.

Home residency requirements

When you are done with your program, you must go back to your home country and live there for a minimum of two years.

Valid passport

You and any dependents are to have a passport that is valid for US travel for at least six months ahead of your program completion date.

Full-time enrollment during the academic year

though you can work full time during academic break periods, you are to make sure that you enrolled in the full-time study when the academic year is in session.

Work restrictions

If you find the need to work while you study, work only on campus as a part-time job for a maximum of 20 hours per week. You can however work full time during academic breaks.

Address is updated

In any case, where you change your residence, you are to update both your sponsor and your university of the address change within 10 days.

How Do You Submit a J-1 Visa Application?

for you to be able to submit your application, make sure you have read the J-1 visa requirements and prepared all required documents:

  • DS-2019 form, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status
  • DS-7002 form, Training/Internship Placement Plan
  • DS-160 form, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application
  • Valid passport
  • One 2×2 photograph

You can be asked to give additional documents for the review process, when you have submitted your application, always get a payment receipt to present at your visa interview.

How to apply

The steps on how to apply for a J-1 student visa are quite simple all you need to do is to follow these steps:

1. Get a Sponsor

one of the main conditions of a J-1 student visa is actually getting a sponsor, the program needs a sponsor who is not a personal source.

You will have to find a sponsor who is willing to fund your program. know that the sponsor must be accredited by the United States Department of State.

2. Submit Your DS-2019 Form

After applying to a sponsor and you get into the program, you will have to submit the DS-2019 form, because it is your Certificate of Eligibility for you to apply for J-1.

The form is given by your approved sponsor and if you are a dependent, you will get a different  DS-2019 form it is important to make sure you have received the correct form.   

3. Pay the Required Fees

apart from your program fee, there are various fees you may need to pay during the application process. One of the fees is the  Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) I-901 fee and it has been paid to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Some of the other fees include a nonimmigrant visa application processing fee and a visa issuance fee; both can be done at the US embassy in your home country.

You are not required to pay these fees if your program is sponsored by the Department of State, US Agency for International Development (USAID), or a US government-funded educational and cultural exchange program.

4. Schedule a Visa Interview

If you want your application to be accepted, you will have to be interviewed by a consular officer at your local US Embassy or Consulate.

You are to schedule your appointment as early as you can because the waiting times vary depending on your country. If you have dependents, you can also make an appointment for them to accompany you for your interview. 

5. Attend Your Visa Interview

When coming for your interview you are to bring the documents that are with you and be prepared for the question that you will be asked.

You will be asked questions about your business visa such as the purpose of the visa, what business will you be doing in the United States, if you have an intention of returning to your home country. Your answers should be very specific and straight to the point

What you need while coming for your interview.

  • When you are going for  your  interview, you should bear in mind to bring:
  • A valid passport
  • A copy of the photo you will use for your visa
  • DS-160 and I-901 SEVIS payment confirmation receipts
  • I-20 form
  • Diploma, school transcripts, and official standardized test scores
  • Bank statements you used to complete your college application

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