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J1 Exchange Visa: Scholar & Teacher Visa

If you are a scholar or teacher looking to continue your studies and teachings in the U.S., the J-1 exchange visas might be just what you need.

Known as the J-1 exchange visitor program on USCIS, this program is a special visa process that aims to help scholars or other educated individuals in the field with immigration. In other words, this program is intended to help those who participate in approved programs for the purpose of teaching, instructing, studying, researching, or consulting in acceptable educational fields.

Why does USCIS want to help these teachers and scholars? Why do they deserve the J-1 exchange program?

In addition to helping intellectuals and scholars, this program more importantly serves to help facilitate the exchange of ideas, cultures, and methods around the world. As the technology continues to shrink the world, we are increasingly becoming a global economy that is intertwined with global forces. With that in mind, USCIS understands that borders and politics may hinder advancements in medicine, technology and society.

With the J-1 visitor exchange program, USCIS is trying to allow scholars from around the world with brilliant and innovative solutions to transcend these borders.

This program is intended to make travel and immigration easier for qualified scholar, researchers, and teachers. With visas more accessible to this group of individuals, the scholars who participate in the J-1 program will inevitably add value to the United States. From bringing new perspectives, to suggesting fresh solutions, these scholars from overseas are valuable assets to the U.S.

Now that we've discussed the basic tenets behind the J-1 program, what is the first step to your application?

The J-1 exchange visitor program is mainly conducted by the U.S. Department of State, that requires a submission of form DS-2019. This required forms, along with others that you may need, should be provided by your sponsoring agency. These forms are very important for the visa process, so they should be filled out with good faith and great detail.

In addition to the complicated application process, there are also many unique stipulations regarding future employment and family members. For example, some J-1 nonimmigrants enter the United States specifically to work. On the other hand, others looking to do the same without the correct authorization/agreement may be unknowingly working illegally.

For those J-1 applicants with family members (spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age), the USCIS has entitled them to J-2. These family members are entitled to work authorization, but their income cannot be used to support the primary J-1 applicant. Again, little nuances like J-2 classifications only adds more things to consider in an already-complicated program.

If you are unsure about this process, it is very important that you seek legal counsel. With a process as complicated as the J-1 exchange program, one misstep and you can yourself with a compromised application.

It is advisable to seek legal guidance from our office today as we strive to help guide you with your specific case. 

Attorney Ramona Kennedy cares about your case and will fight for you.

You can contact attorney Ramona Kennedy Law Offices (Kennedy Law LC) for an initial consultation and case evaluation. The first consultation is free of charge. 

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