J1 Visa: Types, Requirements & Fees

The U.S. is a very popular destination for students from all over the world. There are several student visas that are available to them. The J1 visa is designed for students and exchange program attendants traveling to the United States temporarily. After one is accepted for a study or work exchange program via an assigned sponsor in the U.S, one can apply for a J1 visa. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know the J1 visa, such as requirements, fees, documentation, etc.

J1 Visa
J1 Visa

Various Types of the J1 Visa 

There are several categories of J1 visas. Below we explain the various types and J1 visa eligibility. 

Au Pair and EduCare

  • Applicant must be between 18-26 years old
  • Fluent in spoken english 
  • Be a secondary school graduate 

The J1 visa holder will work with children as an Au Pair with the host family for 12 months. They will have the option to extend the visa for 6, 9, 12 months or more. The J1 visa holder has to attend a training program before joining the host family.

Camp Counselor 

  • Fluent in english
  • At least 18 years old

The camp counselor will be paid and receive all the advantages that the American counselors receive. 

Government Visitor 

If the applicant is selected by a US federal agency or local government to fortify the ties with America, they will be eligible for the government visitor visa. In this time the applicant can engage in:

  • Observation tours
  • Discussions 
  • Consultations
  • Professional  meetings
  • Workshops


  • Applicant needs to be enrolled at present at a university or certificate-granting post-secondary academic institution outside the U.S. 
  • Or the applicant should have graduated from such an institution within the last 12 months. 

The internship is offered in particular fields including:

  • Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
  • Arts and Culture
  • Construction and Building Trades
  • Education
  • Social Sciences
  • Library Science
  • Counseling and Social Services
  • Health-Related Occupations
  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • Information Media and Communications
  • Management
  • Business
  • Commerce
  • Finance
  • Public Administration and Law
  • The Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics
  • Industrial Occupations 

International Visitor

The United States Department of State has to select the applicant for the J1 visa. The international visitor will participate in :

  • Consultations
  • Observation
  • Research
  • Training
  • Demonstration of special skills

The international visitor needs to be an individual that is recognized within a special field. 


Applicant must:

  • Have completed their education
  • Have adequate medical training for the program
  • A statement from the applicant’s country explaining why they need to attend the program and that they will not overstay. 
  • An agreement or contract from a U.S. accredited medical, hospital or scientific institution. 

The applicant needs to complete one of the following:

Part I or part II of the National Board of Medical Examiners ExaminationThe Foreign Medical Graduate ExamStep I and Step II Visa Qualifying medical Examiners (VQE)

Professor and Research Scholar

To obtain a J-1 visa as a professor and research scholar, you must meet various criteria: 

  • you must not be a candidate for a tenure track position
  • you must not have been a part of the professorship program in the last 24 months
  • you must not have participated in a J-visa program in the last 12 months unless exceptions apply.

Short-term Scholar

This J1 visa usually allows a stay of up to six months. The short-term scholar J1 visa requires the applicant :

  • to be a professor or research scholar or have a comparable educational background and experience.
  • to be able to contribute to special research projects
  • To teach a semester at a college or university

The short-term scholar J1 vis does not permit the holder to extend their stay  or change their category. 


To get a J-visa for the specialist category the applicant must: 

  • be an expert in your field
  • not be searching to be employed full-time in the United States. 

This category of J1 visa  usually allows the holder to stay for a year.

Student, college/ university

This category of visa requires the applicant to be sponsored. They can have their stay funded by their home country through a government program, by the U.S or by both governments. This visa allows a stay of up to two years. The validity of this particular J1 type depends ont he program you are attending. 

Student, secondary

For this visa type the applicant must:

  •  be at least 15 years old, but cannot be older than 18 years and six months before the program starts
  •  must have less than 11 years of primary school education, not including kindergarten and must have not participated in a previous similar program under an F-1 visa or J-1 visa

Summer Work Travel

The applicant  can get a summer work visa if:

  • they are a student enrolled in a university and pursuing a degree
  • they must have completed at least one semester of your program to qualify for this visa 
  • they must have a job secured before you enter the US unless you are from a visa waiver country.


The applicant:

  • must have the qualifications to work in a primary or secondary school
  • must have a degree equivalent to a US bachelor’s degree in education or the academic subject they intend to teach
  •  must be either employed in a teaching position in their country at the time of application, or you must have a minimum of 24 months of work experience as a teacher.


For this category, the applicant:

  • must have a degree or a professional certificate from a university or a similar institution
  • Must also have at least one year of work experience related to their occupation before applying for the program or five years of experience in the occupational field where they are seeking training

Application for a J1 visa 

1. Fill in the visa application form.

2. Set up an interview with the embassy/consulate.

3. Pay the application fee.

4. Prepare your required documents.

5. Attend your visa interview.

6. Enter the United States.

J1 Visa Application Form 

The applicant needs to fill out the application online. The online application requires the applicant to upload their visa photo. If this upload fails, then they can bring a copy of their photo to the interview. They also need to print out the confirmation page. The applicant must bring the confirmation page with them when they attend the visa interview as well. . 

Interview with the Embassy/Consulate for J1 visa

Once the applicant fills out the application form, they need to schedule their appointment with the local embassy or consulate in order to attend their visa interview. The amount of time it takes to get an appointment is variable. 

Application Fee for J1 visa

A J-1 visa fee is approximately $160. This fee is variable depending on the country and J1 visa category. The applicant may have to pay the visa fee before they attend the interview. If so, they need to bring their receipt with them to the visa office. Some programs will pay for the applicant’s visa expenses. 

Required Documents for J1 visa

  • Passport: The passport must be valid for at least six months after departure from the country unless there are specific exemptions depending on where the applicant is from.
  • Photograph: The applicant must submit their photograph when they complete the visa application form online. If their photo is not uploading, they can bring a physical copy but, please must make sure to follow the instructions on how to take your visa photo.
  • Nonimmigrant visa application form. The applicant has to fill in form DS-160 online and bring the confirmation page with them to the embassy/consulate.
  • Visa fee receipt. If they are required to pay the visa fee before their interview, they must bring the receipt.
  • Form DS- 2019. After the applicant is accepted into their exchange program, their sponsor registers them into SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System). Afterwards, they will receive this DS form, and may be required to pay a form fee- they have to check with their program sponsor since they might cover the expenses.
  • Form DS- 7002. If they are  attending the J-1 trainee and intern categories, they will also need this form.
  • J1 visa health insurance. The applicant must have health insurance coverage and it is the sponsor’s responsibility to ensure that they have purchased one.

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How much does the J1 application cost ?

A J1 visa fee is approximately $160. This fee is variable depending on the country and J1 visa category. The applicant may have to pay the visa fee before they attend the interview. If so, they need to bring their receipt with them to the visa office. Some programs will pay for the applicant’s visa expenses. 

How many categories of J1 visa are there ?

There are 14 categories of the J1 visa.

Can I bring my dependents on a J1 visa ?

You can only bring your children and your spouse. Your family members have to apply separately for a J2 visa to join you after you go to the US.

Can I change the category of my J1 visa ?

Yes it is possible to change the category if you have good reasons for changing the category and maintain the original goal for the exchange program. Your officer needs to send an electronic request to change the category to the Department of State on your behalf. The Department will request a fee of $367 to approve the request.

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