Are you considering the possibility of traveling to the United States to work abroad some time soon? If so then you will ned to do some research on your eligibility to work in the U.S. and find out the best ways to go about getting a J1 visa, this is the most common short term work abroad visa for the US and is a visa which is acquired each year by the several thousand young adults who travel to the States for short term job placements.
There are numerous different visas which you can apply for if you are looking to work in the US, H visas F visas, E visa....there is practically one for each letter of the alphabet! For most short term job opportunities such as working at a summer camp or taking part in an internship the J1 visa is the best option.
What is a J1 Visa
Basically a J1 visa is an exchange visa which allows students and young people to travel to the US to take part in short term work abroad programs. With a J1 visa you can legally work in the United States for 4 months and then stay on for an additional month to travel around and explore the country. Therefore the visa allows you to be in America for a maximum of 5 months.
J1 Visa Rules
Like with most visas that you apply for when looking to travel to the US there are a number of rules and restrictions. With a J1 visa you can only apply for certain jobs, more information on the exact jobs can be found on the J1 Visa Website. There is also a restriction on your country of residence and when you can apply for a J1 visa, generally applicants from the northern hemisphere can only apply during June - October and if you are from the southern hemisphere then you can only apply to go during November - March. You must also go through a specific sponsoring organization - Work Abroad Programs that have been approved by the US government. These programs will act as a middle person and charge you a small fee for processing the application.
J1 Visa Process
The process to getting a J1 visa is not extremely lengthy and is way easier than applying for some other types of visa. Basically you will want to find a specific job in the US or contact a work abroad program which finds candidates employment in the US. You will then work with this organization to get your paperwork processed. You will need to submit some basic information, obtain some references and also have a police background check. All of this information will then be submitted to the US embassy in your home country and you will then schedule an interview at the embassy where you will be assessed to eligibility. The interview is normally just a formality and not something that you should panic about. After the interview you will be contacted and notified of your visa application status. The whole process from beginning to end takes less than a couple of months, but does require you complete various pieces of paperwork and obtain the required information.
Are there different J1 visa?
Well there is only one J1 visa but you can apply for a slightly different type of J1 visa. The most common one is the 5 month summer camp visa, however you can also apply for the J1 work abroad visa which gives you more flexibility to work in a regular job and then there is also the J1 internship visa. These other options allow you to stay in the States for over a year but there are additional requirements and restrictions that you must meet.
Can my spouse travel with me?
If you are married and looking to travel to the US it is possible to apply for the J2 visa which is for spouses of J1 visa participants. Again there are numerous restrictions related to the visa and all of that information can be found on the J1 visa website listed above.
Good luck getting a J1 visa and we wish you all the best for your time traveling and working abroad in the US. You will certainly have a fantastic time and discover an amazing country!
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