What is the J-1 Visitor Exchange Program?
The exchange visitor program for trainees (J-1) was created to promote educational and cultural exchange between the U.S. and other countries. J-1 status can be obtained by individuals who wish to enter the U.S. to receive training, teach, study or work for a U.S. employer as an intern or trainee. J-1 status can effectively be used as a U.S. work permit since J-1 visitors can accept payment from their U.S. employer while working in the United States.
Designated Sponsor Organization
To obtain a J-1, the applicant must be sponsored by a Designated Sponsor Organization (‘DSO’), which is an organization that is certified and authorized by the U.S. Department of State to sponsor J-1 applicants. Once the DSO sponsors the J-1 applicant, the applicant may work for the U.S. employer as a J-1 visitor.
Duration of J-1 Status
The applicant is permitted to work in the U.S. on a J-1 for up to 18 months.
B. J-1 Application Process
The process for applying for a J-1 is as follows:
a. Complete and file the DSO Applications: Our office will complete and file the DSO applications.
b. Prepare J-1 Application: Once the DSO has approved the applicant’s sponsorship, our office will prepare the applicant’s J-1 application.
c. Obtain J-1 at a Port-of-Entry: If the applicant is a Canadian citizen, she will need to present her J-1 application at a port-of-entry (i.e. a U.S./Canada land-border crossing point or the U.S. Customs Preclearance point at an international Canadian airport, such as Pearson Airport) while entering the U.S. to begin his employment. Upon receipt of the applicant’s application, U.S. Customs will issue the J-1 on the spot.
If you are interested in obtaining a J-1, allow our Calgary U.S. immigration lawyer, or any one of our U.S. immigration lawyers within our Canadian offices, to assist you with the process.