Temporary Work Visas
J-1 Nonimmigrant Visa for Interns or Trainees
The J-1 visa is designed to accommodate a wide range of training and educational activities in the United States, including specialized, subject-matter training and internship opportunities for foreign-born professionals accepted for training at U.S. businesses, research organizations and other qualifying private or public entities (commonly known as “host” organizations). The J-1 visa program (Exchange Visitor Program) is administered by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) Office of Exchange Coordination & Designation, Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, which designates specific third-party organizations to participate in the program as formal “sponsors.”
In order to qualify as an exchange visitor, the beneficiary must meet the following eligibility requirements:
J-1 Intern – The candidate for J-1 internship must: (a) be currently enrolled in and pursuing studies at a degree- or certificate-granting post-secondary academic institution outside the U.S.; or (b) have graduated from such an institution no more than 12 months prior to the start of the proposed internship. J-1 interns are admitted to the United States for a maximum period of 12 months.
J-1 Trainee – The candidate for J-1 traineeship must: (a) have a degree or a professional certificate from a post-secondary academic institution outside the U.S. and at least one (1) year of prior work experience in an occupational field related to the proposed training; or (b) have at least five (5) years of work experience outside the U.S. in an occupational field related to the training. J-1 trainees are admitted to the United States for a maximum period of 18 months.
An applicant applying for a J-1 visa at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad must meet the following requirements, including:
- Acceptance to a designated exchange visitor program;
- Sufficient funds, or adequate arrangements, to cover expenses;
- Sufficient proficiency in the English language to participate in the program;
- Present intent to depart the United States at the conclusion of the program; and
- Possession of qualifications for the program offered.
Lastly, all exchange visitors must maintain health insurance coverage for themselves and any accompanying spouses and children, including medical benefits of at least U.S. $50,000 per person per accident or illness.
Spouses and children of J-1 exchange visitors are eligible for and receive J-2 visas. J-2 holders may be eligible for work authorization in the United States.