To enter the United States, citizens of all nations (excluding Canada and Bermuda) must get a J-1 visa. You must provide the following documentation to the US Embassy or Consulate in order to apply for a J-1 visa: Please confirm with the consular office where you will submit your visa application. The rules may have changed since this page was published.
The candidate for a J-1 visa renewal is permitted to travel outside of the United States. However, the applicant must have a valid J-1 visa stamp in his or her passport. If the visa stamp has expired, you must get a new visa before going. In addition, there are restrictions on where an individual can travel and how long he or she can stay abroad.
In general, visitors to the United States may stay here for up to 90 days per entry period. However, if you plan to travel outside of the country during your stay, you should consider the duration of your visit in relation to any foreign office requirements. For example, some countries require their citizens to obtain a visa if they intend to stay more than 30 days.
An individual who wants to stay in the United States longer than the authorized time can apply for an extension. The application process is similar to that of the original visa request; however, there is no fee associated with an extension request.
If your extension request is approved, the new expiration date for your visa will be printed on the approval notice. This notice is called a "Visa Validity Notice." It's important to keep this document for reference purposes. It may be used as evidence of eligibility for future jobs or admissions into American universities.
The new extension period will be effective upon receipt of the approval notice.
A J-2 visa holder can usually work in the United States. To do so, he or she must receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services of the Department of Homeland Security. A J-2 visa holder's earnings cannot be used to support a J-1 visa holder. Instead, the J-1 visa holder must have his or her own income to be able to pay for any expenses related to their participation in a training program.
The amount that a J-2 visitor earns depends on two factors: The classification of the position offered to the trainee and the salary level of such a position. If the position is classified as "professional" or "technical", then it can generally be expected that the trainee will make about $60,000 per year. If the position is not classified, then it can be assumed that the trainee will make about $30,000 per year. It should be noted that the actual salary that a trainee receives will depend on many other factors than just the classification and amount of the visa fee paid by the trainee. For example, there may be additional fees that the trainee must pay to secure employment in the United States. These could include a security clearance or other requirements specific to each employer.
You can go to the United States once you have secured your J-1 visa. Immigration restrictions allow you to enter the country no sooner than 30 days before the start date of your program, as noted in Section 3 of your SEVIS Form DS-2019. There are several ways to enter the United States including but not limited to: flying into one of the airports that has a border patrol station; boarding a cruise ship at a port in the United States; or applying for admission at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
If you are denied entry into the United States, there are options to reapply for a visa. You should do this as soon as possible if you want to be able to continue with your program.
The DS-2019 is not a visa, and a scholar cannot enter the US only on the basis of the DS-2019; to enter the US, the DS-2019 must be combined with a J-1 visa stamp in the passport. If you are not presently in J-1 status, you must pay the SEVIS fee in order to acquire a J-1 visa and visit the United States, or to convert to J-1 status. You can also apply for a B-1/B-2 visa if you want to visit the US for a longer period.
In addition, there are restrictions on scholars' movements within the US, including within any single state. For example, Nebraska and Kentucky bar their residents from entering their boundaries for tourism or business purposes without first obtaining a license or other authorization from the authorities of those states.
A scholar's presence in the US is also not permitted in areas where federal agencies that conduct security checks are present (such as at airports or border crossings). A scholar cannot avoid these checks by exiting and then re-entering the US through different ports or borders agents. Such measures are necessary because passports contain information about both our entry into and our exit from the US, so unless an agent sees you enter one port of entry and immediately exit through another, he cannot know whether you have another type of visa or permit that allows you to be in the US illegally.
Finally, it should be noted that although scholars are allowed to work while in the US, they still need to follow all laws while here.
All J-1 visa holders are able to get a Social Security Number (SSN), and we strongly advise them to do so! J-1 visa holders will require an SSN in order to be paid by their host firm. J-1 participants may arrive in the United States up to 30 days before the program start date and apply for an SSN within this period. However, there is no guarantee that your application will be approved or processed in this time frame. It is recommended to apply for an SSN as soon as you can after your arrival in the United States.
The application process is simple and can be done online at www.sss.gov or by mail. You will need proof of identity, such as a driver's license or passport; proof of residence, such as a utility bill or credit card statement; and proof of birthdate. If you were born after December 31, 1959, you will also need evidence of citizenship. The SSN Office will send your number to the address on file with the SSA. It usually takes only a few weeks to receive it by mail.
As part of its security procedures, your SSN cannot be revealed without your permission. Therefore, it is important for J-1 participants to keep their status private until they return to their home country or when they want others to know their American identity. If anyone asks you for your SSN, you should say it is none of their business and that you prefer not to answer.
The J-1 exchange visitor visa is for candidates who are visiting the United States briefly to engage in an approved program for the acquisition of skills and knowledge before returning home. The purpose of this type of visa is to promote mutual understanding and support economic relations between the United States and other countries through educational exchanges.
J-1 visas are granted by the Department of State in two main categories: short-term (usually one year) and long-term (usually multiple years). Short-term J-1 visas may be valid for up to 180 days, while long-term J-1 visas can be renewed once for another year if not used within that first year.
Short-term visas are useful for individuals who want to take advantage of some of the best universities in the country or participate in training programs. They also provide flexibility for those who need to travel for work or personal reasons. Short-term visas are ideal for people who will only be in the United States for a few months at a time.
Long-term visas are given to individuals who plan to stay in the United States for several years as teachers or researchers at institutions such as universities or government agencies. Long-term visas allow these individuals to apply for permanent residence after being in the country for three years.