J1 visa exchange programs are designed for individuals who come to the US to enhance their knowledge and skills. The J1 visa is a non-immigrant visa established in 1961 and issued by the US under the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act. It is designed for research scholars, professors, and exchange visitors taking part in programs that promote cultural exchange. The visa is sponsored by a university, private sector, or a government program.
J1 visa holders may stay in the US till the end of their cultural program, as mentioned in the DS-2019 form. The minimal and maximum duration of the stay is determined by the specific J1 category under which a visitor has come to the US. If J1 visa holders have dependents, spouses, and children, they can bring them under J2 visas.
The J1 visa exchange programs were created to strengthen international ties through job training and educational experience. J1 visa holders get the opportunity to come to the US for a brief stay to receive training or continue their research and implement those skills upon returning to their home country.
What are the J1 visa categories?
Typically, the private sector programs include:
- Student, Secondary School
- Au pair
- Camp Counselor (summer camp)
Typically, the government and academic programs include:
- Student, College/University
- Government Visitor
- International Visitor
- Professor and Research Scholar
- Short-Term Scholar
What are the J1 visa requirements?
As a part of the J1 visa requirement, the J visa holders are required to meet specific requirements laid down by the Department of State.
- Coverage of at least $100,000 per accident or illness.
- Repatriation of remains of at least $25,000.
- Coverage of $50,000 associated with the medical evacuation of the visitor to their home country.
- $500 maximum deductible allowed per illness or injury.
- Plan to be underwritten by an insurance corporation with an A.M. Best rating of A- or above, or Insurance Solvency International Ltd. (ISI) rating of A-I or above. Or a Standard and Poor’s Claims Paying Ability rating of A- or above, or a Weiss Research Inc. rating of B+ or above.
According to the US Department of State’s guidance, all individuals who come into the US on a J1 visa must have J1 visa health insurance for their visit. The insurance must be bought before visitors arrive for their program and should remain in effect the entire time. In addition, J1 visa holders must have educational/professional qualifications and should only be coming to the US to pursue studies/training.
What does J1 insurance cover?
The coverage depends on the plan one chooses. Typically, a J1 visa insurance plan covers the following:
- Medical expenses– J1 insurance covers new medical emergencies, accidents, injuries, or wounds that happen during the short stay in the US. Members can enjoy cashless treatment for eligible medical issues.
- Mental healthcare– If any mental disorders arise, some J1 visa insurance plans can cover counseling and therapy costs as stated in the policy.
- Repatriation of remains– The insurance policy can cover the costs of sending the mortal remains of the deceased back to the home country per the schedule of benefits.
- Evacuation– The plan can cover medical and political evacuations.
- Pre–existing conditions- Some plans can cover non-chronic acute onset of pre-existing conditions, while others can cover pre-existing conditions after a waiting period.
J1 visa applicants must find a sponsor to secure admission to an exchange visitor program. The US Department of State has designated sponsor organizations in the various program categories across the country. Once the applicants find a program, they can apply and secure an offer. They will then be issued a DS-2019 form.
All J1 exchange visitors must be able to speak, understand, read, and write in English. Moreover, the visitors must prove to the US government that they intend to return to their home country after the program finishes. As a part of the evidence, one can show property ownership or investments in their home country. Or letters from the current employer stating that the employee will resume work in the home country once the training program is finished.
All J1 visitors must have adequate medical insurance to cover them during their stay in the US. People can apply for a J1 visa extension. It increases the time that visitors may remain in the US, but they must apply for an extension before their J1 visas expire. The applicant’s sponsor is responsible for submitting the new DS-2019 before the original expires.
As insurance is a mandatory requirement for J1 applicants, it is essential to buy a plan that meets the Department of State requirements. NRIOL.net has affordable and robust J1 visa insurance plans that adhere to the State Department’s guidelines and meet visitors’ travel needs. Call us or drop us an email to know more.