1. What is a J1 visa?
The J1 visa is a non-immigrant visa issued to research scholars, professors, part-time teachers, au-pairs, students, and other visitors who have come to the US to participate in cultural exchange programs. The exchange visitors receive training, gain experience, and pursue education, which they can utilize after returning to their home country or country of residence.
2. What is a J2 visa?
J2 visa holders are the dependents of J1 visa holders. It is a non-immigrant visa issued to the spouses and children of J1 exchange visitors. A J-2 visa holder is permitted to work after they file Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization with the USCIS. After approval of this application, the J-2 visa holder is permitted to work.
3. Is it mandatory for J-visa holders to carry health insurance?
J visa holders must buy insurance that meets US State Department’s guidelines. The plans must cover medical expenses for new illnesses and injuries. These plans must also cover medical evacuation, repatriation of remains, political evacuation, acute onset of non-chronic pre-existing conditions, COVID-19, and more.
Here are the guidelines that one must follow:
- Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
- Repatriation of remains of at least $25,000
- Expenses 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 an 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.
4. Can J-visa holders come to the US without J-visa insurance?
No. Without J-visa insurance, exchange visitors cannot come to the US. J-visa holders must buy insurance that meets the US Department of State’s guidelines. The basic requirement includes $100,000 for medical benefits per illness or accident, $25,000 for repatriation of remains, $50,000 for medical evacuation, and not more than a $500 deductible per illness or accident. There could be more insurance requirements by the sponsor along with these requirements.
5. Who can apply for J-visa programs?
Au pair, camp counselor, government visitor, college or university student, intern, international visitor, physician, professor, research scholar, secondary school student, short-term scholar, specialists, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) students, teacher, trainer, summer work travel are some J-visa programs that you can enroll in.
6. What does J1 visa health insurance cover?
Based on the plan you choose, you will receive various medical benefits. Most plans cover doctor’s visits/consultations, hospitalization, prescription and drugs, surgical procedures, emergency ambulance, physical therapy, lab, and diagnostic tests at varying degrees depending on the policy maximum. Some health plans also cover dental, AD&D (Accidental Death & Dismemberment), acute onset of a pre-existing condition, and evacuation and repatriation. Many plans with maternity coverage are available only if the J1 requires this coverage. If you wish to purchase maternity coverage for J2, the J1 visa holders need to be included in the plan.
7. What documents are needed to apply for a J-1 visa?
You need to provide Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility) issued by your program sponsor, your passport, Form DS-156 (Non-Immigrant Visa Application), Form DS-157 (Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application), and Form DS-158 (Contact Information and Work History), photographs, and other supporting documents. Also, you are required to pay a processing fee of $160 for each application.
8. What is the duration and extension of the J-visa?
The duration of the J-1 status depends on the Exchange Program. For example, an au pair can live in the US for 12 months, with the option to extend for 6, 9, or 12 more months. College professors, research scholars, and schoolteachers for 36 months, international and government visitors for 12 months, specialists for 12 months, and summer work/travel for 4 months. College and university students can stay up to their duration of studies/training program. Medical residents/interns receiving medical training can stay up to the duration of the residency program, a maximum of 7 years.
The J-1 program sponsor who issued the original Form IAP-66 (Certificate of Eligibility) may extend your J-1 Status by completing a new IAP-66 with the extended expiration date, provided the date falls within the maximum duration period. They must notify the State Department of the change.
9. How can J1 visa holders get a visa for dependents?
If you want your spouse/kids to be eligible for a J-2 visa, your program sponsor must approve their accompaniment. They must issue DS-2019. The application procedure for a J-2 visa is the same as that for a J-1 visa. However, the J-1’s spouse/child is not allowed to enter the US before the J-1 visa holder arrives.
10. How to obtain J-1 status?
Before you apply for a J-1 visa, you must be accepted to one of the Exchange Visitor Program categories and must have a sponsoring organization. These are the following criteria for a non-immigrant visitor applying for an exchange program:
- You must fall under one of the J-1 visitor categories, such as professor, scholar, au pair, etc.,
- You must have sufficient funds to cover expenses for the trip.
- You must be fluent in English.
- You must maintain medical insurance for accidents and illnesses for yourself and your dependents, if any.
- You must have a residence abroad that you have the intention of returning.
To obtain a J-1 Visa, you must apply for the visa at a United States embassy or consulate abroad. Once you are granted a J-1 visa, you may enter the US for not more than 30 days before the start of the program and be on valid J-1 status.
11. Which are the top J1 visa insurance plans?
Patriot Exchange, Atlas America, Study USA, Student Secure, Geoblue Navigator, and Student Health Advantage are some popular plans.
For more concerns and queries, feel free to contact NRIOL.net. We have several J1 visa insurance plans that can help you with your requirements.