Exchange Students: What You Need To Know About The (J) Visa

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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Dec. 23, 2020: The Exchange Visitor or (J) visa is for people who are approved for work-study and educational exchange visitor programs in the United States. This visa program is successful because of its participants, and there are several legal regulations participants must follow to qualify.

If you’re thinking of traveling to the U.S. for a job or to attend school, here is some important information about the (J) visa you should know.

Determining Eligibility

If your spouse or parent is a J-1 visa holder, you may be eligible for some school or work-study programs. However, the J-2 visa is not permitted for individuals who want to work as camp counselors, au pairs, or for those who want to obtain a summer job in the U.S.

How to Apply

The (J) visa application process is the same as that for the primary visa. The sponsor has to approve the (J) visa applications of the spouse and/or dependents, and each individual must fill out Form DS-2019.

Getting a Job With a J-2 Visa

Individuals with a J-2 visa can enter the U.S. with their J-1 parent or spouse or travel to the U.S. to live with the J-1 holder to participate in an exchange program. Most of the time, J-2 visa holders can seek employment in the U.S. as long as they have an Employment Authorization Document.

This document must be obtained from the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship, and Immigration Services. However, the money the J-2 visa holder makes cannot be used to financially support the member of the family with the J-1 visa.

J-2 family members are dependent on the J-1 visa holder’s status. They can only apply to work in the United States once they have arrived in the country. J-2 visa holders are permitted to stay in the U.S. as long as the J-1 visa holder’s status is active.

More About the Exchange Visitor Program

The main objectives of the Exchange Visitor Program are to permit individuals the opportunity to interact with Americans, learn about the culture, and enhance their English language skills. This is why the J-visa is of high interest for many art students. Getting to broaden their spectrum of cultural knowledge is one of the top priorities for any art enthusiast. Most art courses will introduce a traveling opportunity in the curriculum, however, not many European Universities will allow you to travel outside the continent. The Exchange Visitor Program is one of the easiest ways to experience the American culture, meet new people, and take a lot of new learnings back home. People also participate in this program to gain or improve skills that will help them later in their careers.

There are several categories of the Exchange Visitor Program and most of them are funded privately by the Office of Private Sector Exchange of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Information for Scholars and Professionals

Individuals who are professionals and research scholars can participate in the Exchange Visitor program. Their work will likely be beneficial for both the United States, the J-2 visa holder’s home country, and other parts of the world. Short-term scholars qualify as well.

These individuals can be teachers or students, as well as professionals who come to the U.S. to give lectures, consult with other professionals in their field, or train those who are preparing for leadership or executive positions. Short-term scholars can work in a college or university, or they may be assigned to work in many of the libraries and museums in the U.S. to complete their research or training initiatives.

Information for Trainees

Trainees can take advantage of this program as well. These are individuals who have professional experience and certifications or work experience and want to receive training concerning business practices in the U.S. through a structured program.

Students who are attending college or university or those who have just graduated can also participate in internships and entry-level jobs that provide the training they need for their profession.

If you are not a U.S. citizen and are considering coming to the United States to work or go to school, the (J) visa is likely your best option. Be sure to speak with a qualified immigration lawyer to ensure you have all the necessary documentation to legally work or attend school in the U.S. both before your travel and during your stay.