J Visas and Waivers

The J-1 Visa allows those who are approved to participate in an “exchange program” to temporarily remain in the U.S. for the duration of the program. J-1 program categories range from au pair, scientist, student to physician, and can also provide for summer employment. Often, but not always, the J-1 nonimmigrant is expected to return to his home country for two years after completion of his program, in order to utilize the experience and skills he had acquired. However, this two-year requirement only applies to obtaining an H or L visa or permanent residence in the United States.

Often, it is possible to obtain a J Waiver to eliminate this two-year requirement.

The J program is administered by the US Department of Status.  In order to apply for a J-1 visa, you need to obtain form DS-2019 from your sponsoring agency.  You need to ask either the Responsible Officer (RO) or the Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) what documents you need in order to obtain form DS-2019.

Spouses and children of J-1 visaholders  may be obtained J-2 status.  Persons in J-2 status may apply for employment authorization documents although their income may not be used to support the J-1 visaholder.  Persons in J-2 status should apply for their work permits using form I-765.

J waivers may be obtained by the following means: (1) No Objection Letters (Not for IMGs); (2) Exceptional Hardship; (3) Persecution; and (4) Interested Government Agencies (IGAs).

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