The J-1 visa (sometimes known as the nanny visa or J1 exchange visitor visa) is granted to visitors to the United States or non-immigrants who are taking part in a cultural exchange or professional exchange program. These may include foreign nationals participating in medical education training, for example, or it can refer to exchange students. In fact, there are many types of J1 exchange visitor visa holders participating in different types of private sector and government programs. In terms of private sector programs, J1 visa holders include au pairs, nannies, EduCare professionals, summer camp counselors, physicians, interns, high school students, teachers, trainees, and other individuals. In terms of academic and government programs, J-1 visa holders typically include professors, government visitors, research scholars, international visitors taking part in government programs, specialists, college students, and other academics.
In order to secure a J1 exchange visitor visa, an applicant must file an application with the USCIS, but the government program agency or the school sponsoring the foreign exchange national must also submit documentation and an application form in order for the J1 visa to be issued. Once a J-1 visa is issued, it is important to note that both the sponsoring agency (or school) and the J1 visa holder are responsible for notifying the government of any important changes to the J1 visa holder – such as change of address, change of status in a program, or change of name.
The length of time for which J-1 visas are issued varies, but once the visa expires, applicants generally need to leave the US within 30 days of expiry. However, in many cases, a J-1 visa can be extended or an applicant’s immigration status can be changed in order to allow him or her to remain in the country. For example, students who participate in healthcare education programs are sometimes permitted to stay if they are working within the healthcare field that is experiencing professional shortages. Plus, in some cases, foreign exchange workers may remain in the United States if a government agency or school deems that they project they are participating on would suffer due to their departure.
If an applicant can prove that they would suffer persecution or severe hardship by leaving the United States, the J1 exchange visitor visa may be extended or an alternate immigration status may be granted. Applicants who wish to remain in the United States after their J1 visa expires should seek the help of a qualified United States immigration attorney well before their J-1 visa expires.