STUDY AS J-1 STUDENT AT MIM
Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay or an immigrant visa for permanent residence.
Exchange visitor (J-1) visas are nonimmigrant visas for individuals approved to participate in exchange visitor programs in the United States.
A J-1 visa is a temporary, nonimmigrant student visa that allows foreign post-secondary students to study in the US through an approved, government-sponsored exchange program. Students on a J-1 visa may undertake the study of a degree until completion, non-degree programs or an internship that will provide credit for a degree course in their home country.
HOW TO APPLY
There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you apply. Please consult the instructions available on the embassy or consulate website where you intend to apply.
1. Complete the Online Visa Application
Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160. You must: 1) complete the online visa application and 2) print the application form confirmation page to bring to your interview.
Photo –You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. Your photo must be in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements.
2. Schedule an Interview
You must schedule an appointment for your visa interview, generally, at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. You may schedule your interview at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate, but be aware that it may be difficult to qualify for a visa outside of your place of permanent residence.
Wait times for interview appointments vary by location, season, and visa category, so you should apply for your visa early.
3. Prepare for an Interview
Fees – Pay the non-refundable visa application fee, if you are required to pay it before your interview. When your visa is approved, you may also pay a visa issuance fee, if applicable to your nationality.
Review the instructions available on the website of the embassy or consulate where you will apply to learn more about fee payment.
Gather and prepare the following required documents before your visa interview:
- Passport valid for travel to the United States – Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States (unless exempt by country-specific agreements). If more than one person is included in your passport, each person who needs a visa must submit a separate application.
- Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page
- Application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before your interview
- Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. If the photo upload fails, you must bring one printed photo in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements.
- Form DS-2019 or Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status (J-1) – MIM will send you a SEVIS-generated Form DS-2019 once we have entered your information in the SEVIS database. You and our school director, Alex Stefan, must sign the Form DS-2019. All students must be registered in the Student and Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS).
- Training/Internship Placement Plan, Form DS-7002 – In addition to the Form DS-2019, participants in the J-1 Trainee and Intern categories require Form DS-7002 (based on Box 7 on Form DS-2019).
Additional requested documents may include evidence of:
- The purpose of your travel;
- Your intent to depart the United States after your travel;
- Your ability to pay all travel costs; and/or
- Other documents the consular officer may request.
Evidence of your employment and/or your family ties may be sufficient to show the purpose of your travel and your intent to return to your home country. If you cannot cover all the costs of your travel, you may show evidence that another person will cover some or all costs for your travel.
5. Attend Your Visa Interview
During your visa interview, a consular officer will determine whether you are qualified to receive a visa, and if so, which visa category is appropriate based on your purpose of travel. You will need to establish that you meet the requirements under U.S. law to receive the category of visa for which you are applying.
Ink-free, digital fingerprint scans will be taken as part of your application process. They are usually taken during your interview, but this varies based on location.
When the visa is approved, you may pay a visa issuance fee if applicable to your nationality and will be informed how your passport with visa will be returned to you. Review the visa processing time, to learn how soon your passport with visa will generally be ready for pick-up or delivery by the courier.
TWO-YEAR HOME-COUNTRY PHYSICAL PRESENCE REQUIREMENT
When you agree to participate in an Exchange Visitor Program and your program falls under the conditions explained below, you will be subject to the two-year home-country physical presence (foreign residence) requirement. This means you will be required to return to your home country for two years at the end of your exchange visitor program. This requirement under immigration law is based on Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Two-year Home-country Physical Presence Requirement Conditions
An exchange visitor is subject to the two-year home-country physical presence requirement if the following conditions exist:
- Government-funded exchange program – The program in which the exchange visitor was participating was financed in whole or in part directly or indirectly by the U.S. government or the government of the exchange visitor’s nationality or last residence;
- Graduate medical education or training – The exchange visitor entered the United States to receive graduate medical education or training;
- Specialized knowledge or skill: Skills List – The exchange visitor is a national or permanent resident of a country which has deemed the field of specialized knowledge or skill necessary to the development of the country, as shown on the Exchange Visitor Skills List. Review the Exchange Visitor Skills List 2009.
When you, as an exchange visitor are subject to the two-year home-country physical presence requirement, you must return to your home country for a cumulative total period of at least two years before you can do any of the following:
- Change status while in the United States to the nonimmigrant categories of temporary worker (H) or intracompany transferee (L);
- Adjust status while in the United States to immigrant visa/lawful permanent resident status (LPR);
- Receive an immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate; or
- Receive a temporary worker (H), the intracompany transferee (L), or fiancé (K) visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
Waiver of Two Year Home-Country Physical Presence Requirement
If you are not able to fulfill the home country presence requirement, you may be able to apply for a waiver. Select Waiver of the Exchange Visitor Two-Year Home-Country Physical Presence Requirement to learn more about this requirement and how to request a waiver.