J visa category is reserved for people participating in the Exchange Visitor Program managed by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the State Department. Since 1960's, many research scholars, professors, university students and other visitors have enjoyed the convenience of J visas to experience and bring cultural diversity to the United States.
Before applying for a J1 visa, a person must be accepted by a designated sponsoring organization. Upon completion of the exchange program, he or she must return to their home country unless a residency waiver is obtained. Spouse and dependents of a J1 visitor may come to the United States under j2 status.
Note: People who qualify for the Visa Waiver Program must still apply for a J visa in order to participate in an exchange visitor program.
Most exchange visitors must return to their home countries for at least two years following the completion of their programs, and are not allowed to change to H, L or K status, or apply for permanent residency (green card). However, you may apply for a waiver of this requirement if any of the following situations apply to you:
You must submit Form DS-3035, J-1 Visa Waiver Recommendation Application, to the State Department to apply for the waiver. You may file the form online or via postal mail. You are responsible to submit all supporting documents and have all third parties, including your home country government, send necessary paperwork to the DOS Waiver Review Division. The Waiver Review Division will forward its recommendation to the USCIS, which in turn makes a decision regarding your application.
You may contact the Public Inquiries Division at 202-663-1225 regarding your waiver application.
SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, and is used by the Department of Homeland Security to better manage F, M, and J visa holders. SEVIS allows schools and exchange programs to transmit mandatory data through the internet, in order to maintain current information and records of students and visitors.
Yes, but they must be approved by the sponsoring organization as well and must apply for their own J-2 visas.
Yes. Spouses and children in J2 status may study without the need to change to F1 status.
No, unless they obtain employment authorization documents (EAD) from USCIS.
Q visa is another nonimmigrant visa for exchange visitors. The "Q" exchange programs must be designated by USCIS, not DOS. These programs are intended to offer practical training, employment, and cultural exchanges between the U.S. and a foreign country.