J-1 Exchange Visas
The "J" exchange visitor visa is a nonimmigrant visa given to foreign participants in a "J Visa Program" - a program designed to promote the interchange of persons, knowledge, and skills in the fields of education, arts, and sciences. Participants include students at all academic levels; trainees obtaining on-the-job training with firms, institutions, and agencies; teachers of primary, secondary, and specialized schools; professors coming to teach or do research at institutions of higher learning; research scholars; professional trainees in the medical and allied fields; and international visitors coming for the purpose of traveling, observing, consulting, conducting research, training, sharing, or demonstrating specialized knowledge or skills, or participating in organized people-to-people programs. A J-Visa Program will serve as an exchange visitor sponsor who will sponsor the foreign participant(s), so that they may receive a J Visa.
Immigration Law Associates, PC has considerable experience with the J-1 visa category. Having assisted companies to bring trainees or research scholars in a variety of areas and disciplines, we can provide the strategic immigration planning that may yield a tremendous business advantage in the global marketplace. We can offer the tactical immigration guidance that can allow individuals to meet their professional as well as personal goals in the United States.
Elements of J-1 Visas:
- The J-1 Visa Is A Very Broad Category: Because it includes participants in an immense variety of educational and cultural programs, the definition of a J-1 exchange visitor is quite broad. All J exchange visitors must have a residence in a foreign country that they have no intention of abandoning. The spouse and minor children of a J-1 exchange visitor may also come to the United States under J-2 status.
- Twelve J-1 Exchange Categories: There are twelve (12) categories of J-1 exchange visitors. Each category has its own requirements for eligibility and duration of stay. Except for the short-term scholar category, all categories have a minimum required stay of three weeks:
- Professors and Research Scholars;
- Short Term Scholars;
- College or University Students;
- Secondary School Students;
- Foreign Medical Graduates;
- International and Government Visitors;
- Camp Counselors;
- Summer Work/Travel Students;
- Au Pairs.
- The Training Program MUST be "J-1 Designated" by the U.S. Department of State: J-1 Exchange Visitor programs are designated by the U.S. Department of State and must satisfy strict legal and financial requirements in order to receive such designation. Under current regulations, an exchange visitor sponsor must be:
- An agency of a United States local, state, or federal government;
- An international organization or agency of which the United States is a member and which has an office in the United States; or
- A reputable organization that is a "citizen of the United States." (See Below)
To be eligible as an exchange visitor sponsor, a non-governmental organization must be:
- A general or limited partnership organized under the law of the United States or any state, the majority of whose partners are citizens of the United States;
- A for-profit corporation created and organized under the laws of the United States or any state that:
- Has its principal place of business in the U.S.; AND
- Is either publicly traded on a U.S. stock exchange or, if privately owned, is majority-owned by U.S. citizens.
In the case of a U.S. subsidiary of a foreign corporation, the subsidiary may have to show that its stock is traded publicly on a U.S. exchange, either on its own or bundled with the stock of the foreign parent company. Absent trading on a U.S. exchange, however, a majority of the officers, board of directors and shareholders must be "citizens of the United States" for the corporation to be considered a "citizen of the United States." Fortunately, EVEN PERMANENT RESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES ARE CONSIDERED "CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES" FOR PURPOSES OF DETERMINING THE CITIZENSHIP OF A COMPANY, SO THAT FOREIGN COMPANIES MAY BE ABLE TO QUALIFY AS J-1 SPONSORS BY OBTAINING PERMANENT RESIDENCE FOR SOME OF THEIR OFFICERS, DIRECTORS, AND SHAREHOLDERS.
- A non-for-profit association or other legal entity organized under the laws of the United States or any state that:
- Is qualified as a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code;
- Has its principal place of business in the United States; AND
- Has U.S. citizens as a majority of its board of directors or other management.
- An accredited college, university or other post-secondary educational institution created or organized under the laws of the United States.