19 September 2010
A review of US Dept. of State insurance requirements for J1 & J2 visas. Contains minimum coverage requirements, details about DS2019 form and obligations of sponsors.
The J-1 visa is primarily an exchange visa for people interested in exchange visitor programs in the U.S. Through this exchange program, it is hoped that these individuals will return home at the end of their stay and help spread global understanding through educational and cultural exchanges. At any given time, there are 170,000 or more people who have travelled to the United States on work or study exchange programs!
Exchange visitors may stay in the U.S. for the duration of their program, with the minimum and maximum duration of the exchange visitor’s stay determined by the specific category of their J-1 visa program. Visa applicants must show their eligibility for a visa at an interview conducted by the consular officer at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their country of residence.
Who can travel on J-1 Visa
If you are looking forward to spending time in the U.S., then J-1 visa is the most popular category that allows you to work as well as study in the U.S. It gives you an opportunity to become an exchange visitor as a short term scholar, au pair or an intern, teaching, studying or getting on the job training ranging from a few weeks to a few years.
Au pairs, camp counselors, college and secondary students, research scholars, interns and teachers and professors can apply for a J1 visa to gain valuable education and experience in the U.S. All these categories of travelers offer both the exchange visitors and those that host them, with a rewarding, mutually beneficial, multi-cultural experience. Additionally, when you receive your J1 visa, you can also obtain a J2 visa for your spouse or dependent children who will be traveling with you.
Everyone in your party must be covered by health insurance for the full term of issuance for the visa. Make sure you have an insurance plan that conforms to the minimum requirements of the U.S. Department of State.
Role of sponsors
Before applying for a J-1 visa, one must be accepted into one of the certified exchange programs approved by the U.S. Department of State. The first step in applying for a J-1 visa is to find a sponsor who can guide you through the process. You can find a list of designated J-1 visa sponsors on the website of the U.S. State Department. Sponsors are responsible for choosing participants for the exchange visitor programs, according to the eligibility criteria of each program category. All participants must have sufficient English language proficiency and also satisfy insurance requirements. Sponsors should give the participants specific information about the program and any contractual obligations before their departure from their home countries. Sponsors are also required to offer an orientation to the participants and their dependants after their arrival in the U.S. The orientation should provide information about the region and state where the participant is going to reside. The sponsoring organization is also entirely responsible for supporting and monitoring participants during their period of stay in the U.S.