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Am I eligible for the J1 visa?

Saturday, November 23, 2013 by

J1 Exchange Visitor Program

Exchange Visitor Program

This is one of the most common questions regarding US visas that we receive. Unfortunately, it is also the wrong question to ask, and as a result, impossible to answer. Why is this so?

The reason is that similarly to for instance the UK Tier 5 visa, the American J1 has a number of subcategories. In the USA, they are called “programs”.

This means that none is or isn’t eligible for “the J1 visa”! Instead, you either are, or you are not, eligible for one of the programs!

So the correct question to ask is “am I eligible for the J1 XXXXX program?”

And what are these J1 visa programs? The list is a part of the 22 C.F.R. Part 62 – Exchange Visitors (CFR means Code of Federal Regulations) and the programs are as follows:

  • Sec. 62.20 Professors and research scholars.
  • Sec. 62.21 Short-term scholars.
  • Sec. 62.22 Trainees.
  • Sec. 62.23 College and university students.
  • Sec. 62.24 Teachers.
  • Sec. 62.25 Secondary school students.
  • Sec. 62.26 Specialists.
  • Sec. 62.27 Alien physicians.
  • Sec. 62.28 International visitors.
  • Sec. 62.29 Government visitors.
  • Sec. 62.30 Camp counselors.
  • Sec. 62.31 Au pairs.
  • Sec. 62.32 Summer Work Travel.

A footnote for those who will spend their time researching the 22 C.F.R. Part 62 regulations and their eligibility. These regulations unfortunately are not the final word when it comes to the programs. They are further clarified and interpreted by “Guidance Directives” issued by U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.


2 Responses to “Am I eligible for the J1 visa?”
  1. Caroline says:

    Hi !

    I have a question for which I find no answer. I am a French national currently enrolled in a Master’s degree in Psychology (in France). I have found a fantastic internship in the US and they’d happily have me intern for them. It is a counseling center for gifted clients (children, teenagers and adults).

    Does the J-1 domain restriction apply to such an internship? The clients aren’t per se “psychological” patients in the sense of having a psychiatric disorder (they’re just gifted) but the supervisor is a licensed psychologist and the center does provide therapy for them. If the restriction applies, can it be worked around by certifying my training will mostly consist of observation or facilitating groups, and that I will by no means be conducting a therapy myself? And should it be mentioned somewhere that I would not be involved in children’s therapy?

    Could you please help me with this? I would love to apply for sponsorship but I want to make sure the occupation field is legal under the J-1 visa. If not, which visa category would you please suggest? This placement is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me.

    Thanks so much!

    • admin says:

      Hi Caroline, Google something like “J1 visa for medical professionals” or something along those lines. But don’t look for information, that won’t help you! Look for an immigration law form experienced in this area. If you find one that’s near your prospective employer it’s even better. No matter what information you find on the Internet, you will always need a visa sponsor and an immigration attorney can get you started on what visa to try for. And if it turns out that you could be sponsored by your employer, they can guide you both through the process. Expect charges from about $2,000 up for the assistance.

Questions? Ask below :-) In English, please.

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