I thought I’d try to squeeze one more very important post in here before the Dawn Education Expo this weekend. This article was sent to me by Stratford University so I’m getting off easy with the writing bit this time!
Last year, the J-1 visa was pretty new with not many people having heard too much about it. Fast forward a year later and now it’s out in the open, a lot of questions being asked and a lot of questions that will be asked during the expo so hopefully this will help you in understanding the J-1 visa a little better.
There are two types of entry visas issued to non-immigrant students who intend to study full-time – the F-1 Student visa and the J-1 Exchange Visitor visa. A student’s accompanying spouse and children are given an F-2 or J-2 visa.
- Source of Funding – J-1 Exchange Visitor status is available to those students who are supported substantially by funding other than personal or family funds. Such funding may include that which comes from the U.S. government or the student’s home government, an international organization, or the University. Students who are supported by personal or family funds are ineligible for J-1 immigration status, and must come to the U.S. to study in F-1 immigration status.
- Foreign Residence Requirement– Students in J-1 immigration status and their J-2 dependents may be subject to a “foreign residence requirement“. This applies to those who have receive U.S. or home country government funding or those who are on the “Country Skills List”. The foreign residence requirement means that upon completion of the J-1 program they must reside in their countries of last legal permanent residence for two years before they are eligible to apply for entry into the U.S. on a specialized work visas (H or L) or an immigrant visa.J-1 students who receive direct or indirect U.S. or home government funding, or who are studying in fields for which personnel are considered in short supply in their home countries (most developing nations have “Country Skills” lists of varying lengths), are ineligible to apply for a change to another non-immigrant status (except A or G) or permanent residency in the U.S. until they have satisfied the “two year home country physical presence requirement”. To see if your country is on the Skills List and which fields of study are included, consult the Exchange Visitor Skills List in PDF format.There is no foreign residence requirement for F-1 student status. Refer to the Department of State’s web site for additional information on the Exchange Visitor Program.
- Medical Insurance – Students in J-1 status and their J-2 dependents are required to have comprehensive medical coverage in order to fulfill U.S. government regulations governing the J Exchange Visitor status. If you purchase insurance other than the insurance offered through the University for your dependents or yourself, it may cost as much as $3,000 per year in excess of the usual living expenses.
- Work Permission – Students in either F-1 or J-1 immigration status may work part time (up to 20 hours per week) on campus with permission from the ISSO or the IAO. For both statuses, permission to work off campus based on economic need may be requested only after the first full academic year of student status, and only under extraordinary circumstances of unforeseen need. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) authorizes F-1 students to work off campus, whereas J-1 students submit an application for work permission to their visa sponsor, i.e. the agency or school that issued the DS-2019 form.
- Practical or Academic Training– Students in F-1 and J-1 immigration status are eligible to engage in differing lengths of practical or academic training during their studies and at the completion of their academic programs.Practical training, a privilege of F-1 immigration status if you are eligible, is employment in one’s field of study. Those in F-1 immigration classification may be eligible for “curricular” practical training (which is authorized by the ISSO or IAO) during their programs, in addition to one year of “optional” practical training that may take place during or after one’s program of study. Permission to engage in practical training may be granted only after you have been in valid student status for one academic year. The ISSO and the IAO recommend optional practical training and the USCIS authorizes it. Refer to the Practical Training Overview for complete information on both curricular and optional practical training.Academic training, a privilege of J-1 immigration status if you are eligible, is employment which is integral, not just related, to one’s field of study. One is eligible to apply for permission to engage in academic training after one academic term in valid student status. The period of time allowed for Academic Training cannot exceed the length of the program of study. In most cases, there is a maximum of 18 months with the exception of some postdoctoral research and teaching positions that may qualify for up to 36 months. An application for academic training is made to the J-1 student’s Exchange Visitor program sponsor. Refer to Academic Training Authorization for Those in J-1 Exchange Visitor Immigration Status for complete information.
- Dependent Employment – Immigration regulations allow no circumstances under which the spouse (F-2) of an F-1 student can apply for work permission while in the U.S. The spouse (J-2) of a J-1 Exchange Visitor, however, may apply to USCIS for permission to be employed, if he or she can demonstrate a need for supplemental support for self or children. The spouse cannot obtain work permission in order to support the J-1 student. Form I-765, required to apply for J-2 work permission, may be filed electronically. The form may also be obtained from the ISSO or the IAO.
So there you have it – the differences between the F-1 and J-1 Status! If you have any questions, feel free to ask or come see me at the Dawn Education Expo this weekend!