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J-1 Visas For Exchange Students

Our immigration attorneys at Wilson Law Group in Minneapolis can help students who are studying in the United States as an exchange student.

J-1 exchange students may come to the United States to attend colleges as well as secondary schools. Foreign college/university students more specifically have the opportunity to study at degree-granting post-secondary accredited academic institutions in the United States or participate in a student internship program that will fulfill the educational objectives of the student’s degree program in his or her home country. In addition, secondary school students may travel to the United States to study at an accredited public or private high school and live with an American host family or at an accredited boarding school.

What Are The Requirements For J-1 College/University students?

J-1 college/university students must meet one of the following conditions:

  • Be financed directly or indirectly by the U.S. government, the government of their home country, an international organization of which the United States is a member by treaty or statute, or supported substantially by funding from any source other than personal or family funds.
  • Be carried out according to an agreement between the U.S. government and a foreign government or according to a written agreement between U.S. and foreign educational institutions, a U.S. educational institution and a foreign government or a state or local government in the United States and a foreign government; or the student is participating in a student internship program that will fulfill the educational objectives for the student’s degree program in his or her home country.
  • Pursue a non-degree program full-time in a prescribed course of study. The maximum duration of a non-degree program is 24 months inclusive of academic training.

Can J-1 College/University Students Work In The United States?

J-1 college/university students may engage in part-time employment under certain conditions, including good academic standing at their host institution. These students may participate in academic training with or without wages during their studies with the approval of the school and the responsible officer at their sponsor organization.

What Are The Requirements For J-1 Secondary School Students?

Students must be between the ages of 15 to 18-and-a-half by the first day of school, or not have finished more than 11 years of primary and secondary school, not including kindergarten; and not have previously participated in a secondary school student academic year or semester exchange program or attended school in the United States in either F-1 or J-1 status.

Notes On J-1 Students At Secondary Schools

Students may take part in school activities, including after school sports programs. The school district and the state office in charge of deciding athletic eligibility must approve the exchange student’s participation. Students may not work part-time or full-time jobs. However, they may accept occasional work, like yard work or baby-sitting. Exchange students are not allowed to live with relatives.

Does The Two-Year Foreign Country Residency Requirement Apply To J-1 Exchange Students?

Likely. If the J-1 student comes to the U.S. by receiving funding from the government of his or her home country or from a U.S. agency, then the residency requirement will apply. Foreign country residency is also required (but may be waived) if the subject of studying is listed on the “Skills List” published by DOS.

Consult An Immigration Attorney For Free

The J-1 requirements can be complex. Our immigration lawyers are available to to respond to your questions and assist. Please contact our office for a free initial consultation by calling 612-430-8022 or sending us an email through our website.