J Visas for Interns and Exchange Program ParticipantsThe J visa is for individuals participating in exchange visitor programs for the purpose of teaching, instructing, studying, researching, consulting, demonstrating special skills, or receiving training (including graduate medical education and training).

The U.S. Department of State operates the Exchange Visitor Program, and designates public agencies and private organizations as exchange sponsors. Individuals participating in exchange visitor programs are issued J-1 visas, and their dependent spouses and children may be eligible for J-2 visas to accompany them in the United States. All J-1 visa recipients must be sponsored by a designated exchange sponsor. Exchange programs are intended to promote the interchange of persons, knowledge, and skills in the arts, sciences, and education.

Examples of exchange visitors include professors, researchers, students, teachers, au pairs, camp counselors, postdocs, and trainees.

Moro Legal, LLC, advises and represents individuals through the J-1 visa process, including applications, J-1 visa waiver requests, and changes of status. Schedule an attorney consultation today to begin your journey, or contact our office for more information.

In order to apply for a J visa, a Responsible Officer with the exchange sponsor organization must provide the applicant with a certificate of eligibility for exchange visitor status. Once the certificate of eligibility has been issued, the applicant may apply for the visa through the appropriate U.S. embassy or consulate. As part of the visa approval process, the J-1 applicant will be interviewed in person by a consular officer. Once the visa is approved, a J-1 visa holder may enter the United States up to 30 days before his or her exchange program begins.

Employment is authorized with J-1 visas only as specified under the terms of the visa holder’s exchange visitor program.

Some J-1 visa holders (and their J-2 dependents) are subject to a two-year home residency requirement, which means they may not be able to obtain permanent residence or adjust status in the United States until they return to their last country of permanent residence for at least two years after completion of their exchange program. The requirement applies to individuals participating in a government-funded exchange program, those who participate in programs involving specific areas of specialized knowledge as enumerated by the U.S. State Department, and those who participate in graduate medical education or training. However, individuals may be able to obtain a waiver of this home residency requirement depending on their circumstances.

A J-1 visa recipient’s spouse and unmarried children (under age 21) may be entitled to a J-2 visa classification to accompany the J-1 exchange visitor, depending on the specific regulations of the J visa holder’s exchange program. J-2 holders are also entitled to receive work permits, however, their income may not be used for the support of the exchange visitor.


Moro Legal, LLC, assists individuals with the J-1 visa application process and related issues, including J-1 visa waivers for those seeking to adjust status or obtain permanent residence. Contact us today to get started.


The content of this website is for general informational purposes only and is not a replacement for legal advice. Immigration law is a complex area of law that is constantly changing and this website cannot cover every facet of the law. Every case is different, and all individuals and businesses should consult with an immigration lawyer prior to filing any petition or application.