If you want to work in the United States, but live in another country, you will need a special Visa. There are many Visas available for working in the U.S. One of them is the Exchange Visitor (J) non-immigrant visa. This visa is only for people who are seeking to not only work in America, but also study in the country.
More about the J1 Visa
Working and studying in the U.S. under a J1 Visa means that you are part of an academic program. This program provides education and training that is not offered in the country where you reside. For example, if you want to learn how to fly a plane, but your country does not provide that training, you can come to the U.S. for that instruction under a J1 Visa.
While in the U.S., students can work to develop their new skills. After the completion of the program, students must return to their home country. They must stay there for at least two years before they can apply for permanent residence in the U.S.
Qualifying for the J1 Visa
The J1 Visa is part of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). There are specific requirements of the INA to be able to get the J1 Visa. Only the consulate will be able to determine if someone is qualified for the visa. Usually, they have to fall into these criterion:
- Plan to be in the U.S. temporarily
- Able to afford expenses in the country
- Ties to the home country to ensure they will return to it after they complete the program
Documents will need to be provided to ensure those interested meet all of the criteria. Usually, the consular officer at the U.S. embassy in the country of origin will be able to help with the verification process. He will be able to tell you exactly what you need and how to get what you need. The most important thing is to enter into a program that is supported by the U.S. If it is not, you will not be able to enter into the country or get a J1 Visa.
To get the J1 Visa, you have to be part of the Exchange Visitor Program. This program is part of the Office of Exchange Coordination and Designation, which is the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs part of the government. You can learn more about them on their website.
Organizations Sponsoring a J1 Visa
Many organizations in the United States are sponsoring exchange programs for those interested in training. Some of these are:
- North Carolina State University
- Tesla Motors Inc.
- The Humane League
There are thousands more you can work with depending on the job you would like to train for and work. There is a J1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program website that allows you to choose from many different jobs, such as:
- Au Pair
- Camp Counselor
- College and University Student
- Government Visitor
- International Visitor
- Professor and Research Scholar
- Secondary School Student
- Short-Term Scholar
- Summer Work Travel
After choosing one of these roles, you can see a list of organizations/programs offering them. The next step is to contact them to see how to get started with enrolling in the program.
Final Words of Encouragement
As you are going through the process of getting your J1 Visa, remember to have patience. It’s usually not a quick and easy process. The U.S. has to make sure the program is included, and that you are who you say you are, so the country doesn’t put itself at risk. While no one is saying you are trying to harm Americans, others have done this in the past, and that has become a concern when allowing people into the country.
The good news is that you do have this opportunity. Just because you live in a country that doesn’t provide you the possibilities you want and need, it doesn’t mean you can’t pursue your dreams. The U.S. is the land of opportunity, and while you may need to take some extra steps to take advantage of them, it’s worth it. It’s a great way to get the knowledge and skills you need to not only set you up with a good future for yourself, but for your country as well. In addition, if you find that you enjoy America, you can become a permanent resident after two years of working in your country.
Consider the J1 Visa and then see about getting the training you need in the U.S. It may just be the best decision for your life.