As part of the J1 visa application process, one needs to attend a J-1 visa interview at a U.S. consulate or embassy. An important thing to remember is that the J-1 visa is a short term visa, therefore during your interview you will most probably be asked about your plans while staying in the U.S. As part of your visa application, you will also need to show proof of your health insurance coverage. Remember that the wait time for the visa processing and your interview is different for different countries and also depends on your circumstances. To avoid unnecessary delays, apply as soon as possible; you can know more about visa processing time and interview time by visiting the official website.
Here is a list of documents you will need for your visa interview:
- The Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility) issued by your program sponsor
- Other supporting documents for which you can contact the specific embassy or consulate or check their website
- A valid Passport for travel to the United States
- Your completed online non-immigrant visa application, the Form DS-160
- Fee receipt showing the payment of your visa application fee of $160 (please check here for the latest fees)
- A 2×2 photograph, meeting specific format requirements
J-1 visa health insurance requirements
Besides getting the J1 visa through a sponsor, there are a few other requirements for those wishing to come to the U.S. as exchange visitors. According to U.S. Federal law, people visiting the U.S. on a J1 visa and their dependents are required to have medical insurance for the entire duration of their program. It is wise to make insurance arrangements before leaving one’s home country. It is good to look for a plan with good health insurance coverage for yourself and accompanying dependents; be sure to look for exclusions in the plan, where the insurance provider will not pay for certain conditions.
Here are some of the requirements that one should keep in mind when buying health insurance and the coverage outlined below has been defined by U.S. federal regulations:
Your insurance plan must offer benefits of at least $50,000 for an accident or illness; this will include all eligible medical expenses such as emergency treatment of an illness or injury with no hospital stay, charges incurred at a hospital for in patient medical treatment or charges by a physician or a surgeon for medical services. The cost of medical expenses, that means the portion not covered by insurance that the insured has to pay should not be more than 25%.
For each instance of a medical emergency or an illness, the deductible should not be greater than $500. According to health insurance requirements, coverage of emergency evacuation expenses should be $10,000. In cases where necessary medical treatment cannot be provided locally or transportation by any other means puts the insured person’s life at risk, then the insurance company will provide coverage for emergency medical evacuation. The insured person will get emergency air transportation to the nearest medical facility, where he or she will receive medical treatment.
Some plans include medical evacuation that also covers air transportation to the insured person’s home country if that is his option. In case of a serious illness or injury, if one must be sent home on the advice of a doctor, the insurance policy must pay for the expenses of the travel. For repatriation of remains, the coverage should be $7,500. In case an illness or injury results in the death of the insured person, the insurance provider will reimburse the costs and expenses incurred to send the person’s mortal remains to his or her home country.
The insurance guidelines for the exchange visitor program for scholars mention that the health insurance policy may establish a waiting period before it can cover pre-existing conditions, that is any health problems that you had before buying the insurance. However, the waiting period should be reasonable by current standards in the insurance business.
Once you have purchased your health insurance, you can get a letter of proof from your insurance provider. Collect and prepare all your visa documents well in advance, as there is nothing worse than knowing you were denied a visa because you did not have the correct paperwork.
Deductibles and Coinsurance
Everyone has unique needs when it comes to health insurance and it helps to understand what the usual insurance terms like deductibles and co insurance mean. Here is how they work together: