The J-1 exchange visitor visa program aims at promoting cultural exchange by permitting foreigners to enter the U.S. to study, teach, receive job training or to conduct research. J-1 non-immigrant visas are for foreign nationals who are approved to take part in exchange visitor programs in the U.S. Only those who are sponsored by a government or a private organization, accredited through the exchange visitor program, can get these visas.
J-1 visitors can travel to the U.S. through sponsor programs approved by the U.S. Department of State, for the above mentioned purposes only, for a certain period of time. J-1 visitors can remain in the U.S. until the end of their programs. They will be permitted to stay back in the U.S. for an additional 30 days, the grace period during which they can prepare for their departure.
To apply for a J-1 visa, a foreigner must have been accepted into one of the exchange visitor program categories. The applicants must show that they do not have plans to permanently live in the U.S. and that they have a residence abroad. They need to have sufficient funds to cover expenses for their trip. Moreover, they must be good in English.
This program aims at increasing mutual understanding between the Americans and people of other countries through educational and cultural exchanges. This program also strengthens the ties between the U.S. and other countries. Every year, hundreds of exchange visitors for full-time and temporary activities are being sponsored by designated organizations. These visitors can hold the J-1 status for a few days or up to five years, depending on their categories.
J-1 visitors can apply for permanent resident cards (green cards) if they are sponsored by employers in the U.S. or by their U.S. citizen or permanent resident relatives. The sponsors must file immigrant petitions for the visitors they are willing to sponsor. Followed by that, J-1 visitors in the U.S. can apply for adjustment of status and get green cards.