J-1 visas are required to participate in an exchange visitor program based in the United States. These nonimmigrant visas allow the recipient to stay in the United States for the duration of their program and offer a grace period of up to 30 days after their program ends to return to their home country.
Generally, anyone who wishes to enter the U.S. on a J-1 visa must start the application process well before their exchange program begins, which can be a difficult process to manage without guidance from a visa attorney. In addition to walking prospective J-1 visitors through every step of the visa application process, a qualified Aurora J-1 visa lawyer could also offer advice and support to the sponsor of a prospective visa recipient.
To apply for a J-1 visa, a prospective visitor must have already been accepted into a program that fits one of the many J-1 categories established by federal law. These categories range from private-sector internship and summer work programs to academic student exchange programs at the secondary or collegiate level. Certain government-sponsored exchange programs require J-1 visas as well.
Once a prospective visitor has been accepted into such a program, received sponsorship from someone associated with that program, and paid the requisite program fees, they can begin the J-1 visa application process. This entails completing the DS-2019 form provided to them by their sponsor and the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form DS-160, submitting both along with a current color photo, and paying associated processing fees.
The last step in the process is usually an interview held at the U.S. embassy or consulate in the applicant’s country of origin. An applicant should bring printed confirmation that they have completed all the previous steps as well as a valid passport allowing travel to the United States. There may be additional documentation requirements that a local J-1 visa attorney could explain in further detail if needed.
Anyone who intends to sponsor a J-1 exchange program participant while they are living in the United States has many obligations they must fulfill before and after the person they are sponsoring arrives at a port of entry. Prior to the J-1 program’s start date, a sponsor must send information to each prospective participant about how the program will work, where they will live while it is ongoing, what fees they will be expected to pay, and other facts they should know while staying in the United States.
Once a J-1 visa holder arrives for their program, their sponsor should provide orientation about what to expect from their experience, including local customs, resources like libraries and public transportation, available health care options, and important program rules. Finally, the sponsor must consistently monitor program participants to ensure both their physical wellbeing and their active engagement in the program. A J-1 visa lawyer in the area could address any questions or concerns a prospective sponsor has about these obligations.
Exchange programs offer valuable opportunities for foreign nationals to have new educational, occupational, and social experiences in the United States. Before you can participate in or help operate one of these programs yourself, though, you will need to know about J-1 visas and what requirements must be met by both program participants and program sponsors.
An Aurora J-1 visa lawyer could provide thorough assistance and advice in both regards, and ensure that your exchange plans proceed without any issue. To schedule a consultation, call today.