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J1 Visa

Bridge USA, previously known as the Exchange Visitor Program (J), 
is a temporary, non-immigrant visa for foreign students and young 
professionals wishing to participate in an exchange program.
 This visa type enables you to complete work-based training 
or studies in the USA for a period up to 12-18 months.
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Overview
Eligibility
Requirements
Benefits & Restrictions
How to apply
Passport and law gavel on USA flag background, close up view.

Overview

The J-1 visa program covers the following: Hospitality students and professionals, Aupairs, Camp Counselors, Interns, Secondary School Students, Summer Work and Travel, Trainees, and Teachers.

Hospitality Academy partners with certified Visa Sponsor Organizations to allow students and young professionals to apply for the J-1 Intern and Trainee categories within the Hospitality and Tourism sector, and receive their J-1 visa. In addition, Hospitality Academy partners with the leading hospitality recruitment company, Placement International, who provide placements at the leading U.S. hotels and restaurants and have been processing the J-1 visa for over 15 years.

The intern and trainee categories allow participants to gain experience in a U.S. organization, in your chosen field, while gaining exposure and understanding of the U.S. culture.
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Eligibility

General requirements:

- Be at least 18 years of age (20+ years for the trainee category).
- Be a foreign national (not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident).
- Be fluent, or possess a high level of proficiency in English.

Intern:

- The intern category is aimed at currently enrolled students or recent graduates (up to 12 months from graduation). In this category, students and recent graduates are eligible to apply for the J-1 visa and travel to the USA to gain exposure and experience in their field of studies.

- You must prove your enrollment in or graduation from a post-secondary institution granting a degree or certificate, outside of the USA.

- Your education must be in a relevant field of the training you will pursue in the USA.
Trainee:

The trainee category is aimed at young professionals who already have work experience in their professional field. There are two classifications of the trainee category.

Trainee 1 Years:

To be eligible for this category, you must:

Provide proof of graduation from a post-secondary institution or certification.

Have completed your studies outside of the USA.

Provide proof of at least 1 year of work experience in the same professional field as your training in the USA.


Trainee 5 Years:
           
To be eligible for this category, you must:

Provide proof of at least 5 years of work experience in the same professional field as your training in the USA.

No post-secondary education is required.

Typical Visa application form and blue pen on paper calendar page

Requirements

At your Embassy Interview appointment for the J-1 visa, you will be required to bring specific documentation to support your application. See the following:

A Valid Passport (should be valid for at least 6 months after your program end date and your departure from the USA).

A printed copy of the Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form, confirmation page.

A printed copy of the Embassy Appointment confirmation.

Receipt of the Embassy Fee Payment.

Receipt of the I-901 SEVIS Fee Payment.

A Photograph (unless you have already uploaded your photo successfully to the DS-160 application).

Your official DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status.

Your official signed DS-7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan.

Benefits & Restrictions

What are the benefits of completing a J1 program?


There are numerous benefits of completing a J-1 program. Not only can you gain invaluable work experience in a well reputed, leading U.S. organization within your field of studies/profession, but your training is also paid at a competitive rate to your american colleagues. You will also have the chance to develop your professional english language skills in a practical workplace setting.

In addition, holding a J-1 visa gives you the ability to apply for a U.S. Social Security Number and the eligibility to obtain a U.S. Driver’s License.

The J-1 program grants you a 30- Day grace period to travel within the USA after the end of your training program. In addition, should you wish to leave and re-enter the USA during your training program, a J-1 visa holder is eligible for Travel Validation for international travel.

After the end of your J-1 program, there is a possibility to complete more than one J-1 program (subject to your eligibility). This category of J-1 visa is not subject to the two year home-country physical presence requirement.
Finally, the J-1 visa allows you to bring spouses or children to the USA on a dependent visa, so your family can join you in the USA during your training program.

Restrictions of the J1 visa to be aware of:

The J-1 visa does have certain restrictions of which applicants and visa holders should be aware of.

1. As a J-1 visa holder you are not permitted to seek alternative employment outside of your training program.
2. During your training, you are not permitted to pause your training program or remain outside of the USA for more than 30 consecutive days.
3. You must maintain communication with your sponsor organization and adhere to their rules and regulations throughout the program.

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How to apply

The J-1 visa application process can seem quite complex, which is why we at Hospitality Academy will assist you through the entire process.

The application process generally takes approximately 6-8 weeks after all necessary documentation is compiled. (This will depend on all parties involved in the process).


The visa application process includes:

Compiling all necessary documentation for the J-1 visa application process.

Verification of eligibility by the U.S. sponsor organization.

Verification of host organization by the U.S. sponsor organization.

Processing of J-1 visa application with U.S. sponsor organization.

Preparation and signing of official DS-7002 (training plan).

Payment of SEVIS fee

Shipment of DS-2019 (certificate of eligibility for J-1 visa).

Filling in the DS-160 application form.

Payment of Embassy Appointment fee.

 Booking and attending an Embassy Appointment at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Visa Sponsor or Sponsor Organization?

To obtain a J-1 visa the US Department of State works together with designated Sponsor Organizations who conduct cultural exchange programs and verify the eligibility of participants wishing to apply for the J-1 visa program.

Your visa sponsor will process your visa application with the US Department of State, and will issue your official Certificate of Eligibility for the J-1 visa (DS-2019), which you need at your embassy appointment to be granted your visa.

In addition, your sponsor organization will be responsible for your well being and training in the USA. You will maintain communication with them throughout your stay in the USA.

What is a Host Organization/ Company?

Your Host Organization/ Company is your site of training within the USA. Your site of training must be verified by your sponsor organization to ensure that they understand the terms of your training program and are able to comply with the requirements of the US Department of State to provide a successful training program for you.

What is a DS-7002- Training Plan?

The DS-7002 or Training Plan is the official agreement between yourself, your sponsor organization and your host organization. This training plan outlines important information regarding your training, such as: your position, training location, stipend, duration of your training, duties, cultural activities, and training rotation at your host organization. This official document will be signed by you, your sponsor and your supervisor(s) at your host organization.

What is a DS-2019- Certificate of Eligibility?

The DS-2019 is your Certificate of Eligibility for the J-1 visa. This document is an official document issued by your visa sponsor together with the US Department of State.

This is a mandatory document, as important as the visa which is printed in your passport.

You will be required to show the DS-2019 at your U.S. Embassy Interview, and will be required to carry this document with you throughout the duration of your stay in the USA. The original, signed DS-2019 form will be shipped to you by your sponsor organization.

What is a DS-160?

The DS-160 is your Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form. This is a multi-page online application form on the U.S. Government website. You will need to fill in and submit this application in order to apply for your visa and book your Embassy Appointment. You will also be required to make the non-refundable Visa Application or Appointment Fee.

What is SEVIS?

SEVIS or the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, is the official government database for all students and exchange visitors. This system maintains records of all nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors and their training, while in the USA. All official information regarding your program is registered in this system by your sponsor organization.

What is an Embassy Appointment?

All applicants of the J-1 visa category must attend an embassy appointment at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. This interview will be conducted with an embassy officer, who will ultimately decide if your visa will be granted. You must bring all required documents with you to the Embassy and answer the questions asked by the embassy officer in order to support your visa application.

What Additional Documents should I bring for the Embassy Appointment?

In addition to the mandatory documents, there are additional supporting documents which you can bring with you to the Embassy, to support your visa application. The role of the embassy officer is to ensure that all applicants are travelling to the USA for justified reasons, and have the sufficient funds to support themselves while in the USA. The embassy officer will need to see that all applicants understand the purpose of the training program and the visa type they are applying for. To be able to prove these factors, it is recommended that you bring additional, supporting documents to prove your financial capabilities, and your ties to your home country.

Examples of supporting documentation:

Proof of residence in your home country or country of permanent residence.
Proof of financial capability: Bank statement of your account, or the account of your financial sponsor. If you are supported financially by another individual, you will be required to show a letter from this person, stating that they will support you financially.
Proof of internship/training: An official letter from your host organization in the USA.
Proof of intent and reason to leave the USA after the end of your training program. This can be in form of a Job Offer in your home country, Proof of continued employment in your home country, Proof of continued studies in your home country etc.

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