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J-1 Visa


The Exchange Visitor (J) non-immigrant visa category is for individuals approved to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs in the United States. It encompasses the following categories:

Professors/Research Scholars: These categories promote the exchange of ideas, research, and linkages between research and academic institutions in the United States and foreign countries.

Short-term Scholars Professors, scholars, and other accomplished individuals traveling to the US on a short-term visit to lecture, observe, consult, train, or demonstrate special skills at U.S. research and academic institutions, museums, and libraries.

Trainees: Professionals with a degree, professional certificate, or relevant work experience wishing to exposure to U.S. culture and receive training in U.S. business practices

Interns: College and university students or recent graduates wishing to gain exposure to U.S. culture as they experience U.S. business practices in their occupational field.

College and University Students: Students wishing to study at a U.S. degree granting post-secondary accredited academic institution

Teachers: Educators participating in fulltime teaching at a U.S. accredited primary or secondary school or in an accredited pre-kindergarten program.

Secondary School Students: High school students wishing to participate in a high school exchange program and live with an American host family for 1 year

Specialists: Experts in a field of specialized knowledge wishing to observe U.S. institutions and methods of practice and share their knowledge with their U.S. colleagues.

Foreign Physicians: Foreign medical graduates seeking to pursue graduate medical education or training at a U.S. accredited school of medicine or scientific institution

Camp Counselors: Post-secondary students, youth workers, teachers or others with specialized skills coming for the purpose of supervising American youth at U.S. camps.

Au Pairs: For young adults wishing to experience U.S. culture while providing child care

Summer Work Travel Program: College and university students at foreign universities wishing to work in seasonal or temporary jobs and travel in the United States during their summer.

Government/International Visitors: Distinguished international visitors coming to develop and strengthen professional and personal relationships with their American counterparts

212(e) 2 Year Foreign Residency Requirement

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act 212(e), certain J-1 visa holders cannot change status in the U.S., obtain H, L, K visas or lawful permanent residence until they have returned to their home country for at least two years, or received a waiver of that requirement. Such waivers can be obtained under five separate bases: Exceptional Hardship or Persecution, Conrad Program, Interested Government Agency, or No Objection Statement (Not available to Physicians). Please feel free to contact our offices if you require immigration counsel regarding the J-1 visa or if you are subject to the two-year home residence requirement and need to apply for a waiver.

Physician J-1 Visa Waivers

J-1 physicians interested in a medical career and permanent residency in the United States must obtain a "J-1 visa waiver", or return to their home country for two years, prior to seeking employment in the U.S. There are four legal bases by which a J-1 physician may request a waiver:

    • Through the Conrad 30 Program, which provides all 50 states with 30 J-1 visa waivers per year;
    • At the request of an Interested Government Agency;
    • Through a Persecution Waiver, applicable if a J-1 physician believes that he or she will be persecuted based on his/her race, religion, or political opinion if he/she were to return to his/her home country; or
    • Through an Exceptional Hardship Waiver, applicable if a J-1 physician can demonstrate that his or her departure from the United States would cause exceptional hardship to his or her U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident spouse or child.

We have years of experience in the preparation of J-1 visa waiver applications, H-1B petitions, permanent residence applications and national interest waiver petitions. If you would like to speak to us regarding your case, you may schedule a consultation online, or call 847-763-8500.