Opening opportunities for knowledge and skills exchange is essential to the career of any student or professional. These opportunities may not always be limited to the Philippines– in fact, broadening one’s horizon in a foreign country is an experience that many should take advantage of. If you’re a student or professional in the Philippines, visa concerns remain one of the biggest hurdles to taking up further studies and training abroad. The visa application process can be long and arduous, and only proper preparation can result in an approved visa.
The Philippines has friendly relationships with a lot of countries, which at the very least increases the chances of visa approval. One of the types of visa Filipino citizens can apply for is the J-1 visa. The U.S. Government’s Exchange Visitor Program and J1 visa means that participants have the opportunity to engage with U.S. culture, strengthen their English language skills, and learn and build new skills that will help them further their careers. The J1 visa stands out from other visa types by allowing successful applicants the opportunity for professional growth that may not have been available to them otherwise.
Overview: What Is the J-1 Visa?
The Exchange Visitor Program’s J1 Visa is designed to promote and allow the exchange of knowledge, skills, and persons in the fields of the arts, sciences, and education. The United States Government welcomes foreign students and professionals who wish to come to the U.S. and participate in such exchange programs.
The Exchange Visitor Program has fifteen different categories of participants. Of these fifteen, thirteen categories include privately-funded programs implemented under the Office of Private Sector Exchange in the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The United States Department of State has designated over 1,500 for-profit, non-profit, or federal, state, and local government entities to conduct these private sector programs.
If you’re a participant and exchange visitor in the private sector programs, you are allowed to do the following for the duration of your visa: study, teach, conduct research, share specialized skills, or receive on-the-job training. You can undertake this period of exchange for a span of a few weeks to several years.
Is it easy to get J1 visa?
You can be approved if you fall into certain program categories. Program categories under the Exchange Visitor Program include the following:
· Secondary School Students: If you’re a secondary student from the Philippines with a visa, you can study at an accredited public or private school, as well as live with an American host family or at an accredited boarding school
· College and University Students: For applicants in the Philippines for this visa category, you can continue your studies with a post-secondary academic institution granting U.S. degrees, or participate in a degree, non-degree, or student internship program
· Camp Counselors: If you fall into the category of the post-secondary students, youth workers, teachers, or others with specialized skills, you can interact with and supervise American youth at U.S. youth camps
· Summer Work Travel Program: If you’re a college or university student of the Philippines then this visa will open you to the opportunity to work in seasonal or temporary jobs. You can gain firsthand experience for your resume, and travel in the United States for the duration of the summer.
· Interns: Are you a college or university student from the Philippines? Or did you graduate recently? If so, this visa type is perfect for you. Successful visa applicants can gain exposure to U.S. culture while experiencing U.S. business practices in the occupational field of their choice.
· Trainees: On the plus side of this visa, if you number among the ranks of professionals with degrees, professional certificates, or relevant work experience , you are able to receive training in U.S. business practices for the development of your career through a structured and guided work program
· Teachers: Another benefit of this visa type to the applicants is available for teachers. If you count yourself as one, you’re n luck. For educators with an approved visa, you are able to teach full-time at an accredited U.S. primary or secondary school, or in an accredited pre-kindergarten program.
· Au Pairs: If you are a young adult, you can live with a U.S. host family for 12 months while providing child care or other services to the children of the family while taking courses at the accredited U.S. post-secondary institutions
· Short-term Scholars: For professors, scholars, and other accomplished individuals, you are able to travel on a short-term visit to lecture, observe, consult, train, or demonstrate special skills at U.S. research and academic institutions, such as museums, schools, or libraries
· Professors: This category promotes the exchange of ideas, research, and linkages between research and academic institutions in the United States and foreign countries
· Research Scholars: This category promotes the exchange of ideas, research, and linkages between research and academic institutions in the United States and foreign countries
· Specialists: This category is for experts in a field of specialized knowledge. Participants will observe U.S. institutions and methods of practice and share their own knowledge with their U.S. colleagues
· Alien Physicians: Foreign medical graduates are able to pursue graduate medical education or training at a U.S. accredited school of medicine or scientific institution, or pursue programs involving observation, consultation, teaching, or research.
· Government Visitors: Distinguished international visitors are able to develop and strengthen professional and personal relationships with American counterparts in U.S. federal, state, or local government agencies
· International Visitors: This category is reserved for State Department-sponsored and funded exchange participants
J-1 U.S. Visa History
Approval of the J1 visa by the Department of State can be a fantastic opportunity for you. This system allows for over 300,000 participants from over 200 countries and territories per year to come to the U.S.A. Participants are able to partake in and observe U.S. society and culture, as well as learn skills for their own professional growth and careers.
The United States Government introduced the J-1 visa under the Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961, also known as the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act. It was administered by the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) to strengthen relations between the U.S. and other countries. The exchanges that have taken place under the Exchange Visitor Program have assisted the Department of State in furthering the foreign policy objectives of the United States.
The J-1 program initially began by bringing scholars and researchers into the United States temporarily. It soon extended to several other Exchange Visitor Programs, including the Au Pair, Government Visitor, Professor, Research or Short-term Scholar, and Trainee programs.
J-1 U.S. Visa and Dependents
While spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 are allowed to accompany or join the principal visa holder of a J-1 visa to the United States, there are certain restrictions that they need to follow. Spouses or children who intend to reside in the United States with the principal visa holder must have J-2 visas. Spouses or children who do not intend to reside in the United States with the principal visa holder, but will visit for vacations only, are eligible to apply for visitor B-2 visas.
A spouse or child of an exchange visitor in the U.S. may not work while under a J-2 visa unless they have filed Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must have reviewed the Form I-765 and given permission for the J-2 visa holder to work. Further details are available on the USCIS website.
How long does it take for J1 visa to be approved?
Overall, expect a period of around 6 to 10 weeks before receiving your visa. The Consulate General will have to review your application, and after that process it may take up to 7 days before your passport with visa results arrives in the mail.
What is J 1 visa requirement?
You may click here for the list of J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa requirements and supporting documents.
How much does a J 1 visa cost?
The U.S. Embassy will charge a Visa Application fee of US$ 160 for a nonimmigrant visa. However, this fee is subject to change, so make sure to inquire at the embassy about the updated processing fee and other charges.
Is it easy to get J1 visa?
Like other visas for study and for travel to the United States, each applicant will have to prepare their documents before applying. The applicant will also have to make an appointment for an interview. You can click here for the list of J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa interview requirements and possible questions. If you want to know what else that you will have to prepare for besides the interview appointment, click here for steps on how to apply for a J-1 Visa.
James Gonzales is a Filipino-American travel enthusiast and writer currently based in the Philippines. After living and working in New York for 10 years, James decided he wanted to see more of the world and leave the city behind. In the course of saving up for what would become an epic trip across Asia, he wrote about previous traveling experiences for various travel websites and publications based in the Lower East Side.
James focused on journeying through the Philippines in the hopes of understanding his roots, and began Daydreaming in Paradise to share his thoughts and experiences. He’s always looking for like-minded travelers to trade stories and swap tips with, and he hopes you’ll join him on his journey.