The J-1 visa is designed to provide educational and cultural exchange programs, and to promote the sharing of individuals, knowledge and skills in education, arts and sciences. Participants in this visa category include students, teachers, research scholars, trainees and foreign physicians who are coming here to teach, study, observe, conduct research, consult, or receive training. Spouses and/or unmarried children under the age of 21 may apply for entry under J-2 status.
A very important consideration — Certain J visa holders are subject to a requirement that they must return to their home country or country of last residence upon completion of their training in the U.S. before they are eligible to adjust status, apply for an immigrant visa, apply for an H or L visa, or change status inside the U.S. There are waivers available to this “two year home residence requirement”, but those can be extremely difficult to obtain.