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The Department of State may grant a J-1 Visa, otherwise known as an Exchange Visitor Visa, to those who wish to enter the United States and stay on a temporary basis for the purposes of studying, teaching, consulting, conducting research, attending graduate medical school. There are many programs that the J-1 Visa covers that have their own rules and eligibility requirements that a legal professional could help explain. If you wish to pursue one of these exchange programs, you may need a Oak Brook J-1 Visa lawyer to help you avoid any common mistakes during the application process.

Types of J-1 Visa Programs

There are a wide range of exchange programs covered under the J-1 Visa, and this type of visa can be offered to scholars, professors, researchers, students, physicians, au pairs and camp counselors. The duration of time the participant is permitted to stay in the United States depends upon the particular program, and it is possible to obtain a J-1 Visa for temporary seasonal employment.

The length of time J-1 Visa holders are permitted to remain in the United States after their program has ended also varies. Most J-1 Visa holders are permitted a 30-day grace period to remain in the country following the completion of their program. A lawyer in Oak Brook who has experience helping applicants maneuver through the multitude of J-1 Visa programs could help an individual determine which one best fits his or her unique situation.

J-1 Visa Requirements

According to the Immigration and Nationality Act, the general qualifications for J-1 Visa eligibility include:

  • An applicant must not intend to abandon his or her foreign residence
  • An applicant must have received a Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor from the program sponsor
  • An applicant who has completed the program must then return to his or her home country and reside therein for a minimum of two years

It is important to note that the requirements for obtaining a J-1 Visa depend on the particular program.

Waiving the Foreign Residency Requirement

The two-year Foreign Residency Requirement requires physical presence in one’s home country. However, a J-1 Visa holder may apply for a waiver to the requirement when certain conditions are met. The types of waivers to the Foreign Residency Requirement include:

  • No-objection Waiver
  • Interest U.S. Government Agency Waiver
  • Fear of Persecution Waiver
  • Exceptional Hardship Waiver

Under the no-objection waiver, an applicant’s home country must issue a No Objection Statement through its governing body, stating it does not object to the applicant’s request to waive the two-year residency requirement.

If the applicant is working on an assignment that is of interest to the Federal U.S. government and the residency requirement would have a negative impact on this interest, the government agency may apply for an Interest U.S. Government Agency Waiver on the applicant’s behalf.

If it is likely that the applicant will face persecution upon returning to their home country because of his or her race, religion, or political option, a Fear of Persecution Waiver may be issued.

Finally, if an applicant can prove exceptional hardship to his or her U.S-based spouse or child that surpasses mere separation, he or she may be eligible to apply for an Exceptional Hardship Waiver. As certain conditions apply to each waiver, it may be beneficial to contact a Oak Brook J-1 Visa attorney for a more in-depth review and analysis of an applicant’s specific circumstances.

A Oak Brook J-1 Visa Attorney Could Help You Enter the Exchange Program of Your Choice

If you wish to take part in an exchange program within the United States from abroad, it is important to begin the J-1 application process early to prevent any interruptions or delays to your work and/or study program. A Oak Brook J-1 Visa lawyer could walk you through the intricacies of the application process and help you obtain a waiver if you are eligible. For more information, contact us today.

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