Do you want to embark on a new adventure abroad? Our J-1 visa programs are designed for young professionals who wish to take their careers to the next level! Here is a detailed guide to the J-1 visa process in 2022!
The J-1 visa allows students and professionals to learn more about their industry in the United States through a cultural exchange program. This is especially helpful for hospitality workers, as the U.S. is at the forefront of innovation. Unlike similar internships around the world, a J-1 intern will be required by law to earn, on average, the same salary as their American counterparts!
This is a great opportunity to study abroad in the States! Not only is the USA a beautiful country, but it also offers exceptional experiences. However, there is one obstacle that tends to trip up many potential visitors: the visa process.
This alone is enough to make some think twice, Placement International can help! Candidates can already sign up here to receive personalized J-1 assistance from our team. For years, the company has been helping students obtain a J-1 visa!
What is the J-1 visa?
The J-1 visa allows students and professionals to learn more about their industry in the United States through a cultural exchange program. This is especially useful for hospitality workers, as the U.S. is at the forefront of innovation and professionalization. Best of all, a J-1 intern will earn an excellent salary, the same as an American.
Step 1: apply to a sponsor
Use this link to create a profile on Placement International’s website and apply for internships in the US and elsewhere! Once a position has been secured, candidates will be referred to one of Placement’s visa specialists. The visa specialist will be your lifeline throughout the process, answering all of your questions, submitting documents, and guiding you through the process.
First, the team will assign one sponsor organization. Sponsors are third-party organizations designated by the Department of State to issue the documents to obtain the DS-2019 form. The sponsor will require candidates' documents to get started. The paperwork will likely vary depending on the sponsor, but it will look something like this:
- Reference letter/s (with English translation if in a different language)
- Diploma in higher hospitality education and translation
- Educational transcripts and translation
- Passport copy at least 2 years from the current date
Once these documents have been sent, the process of applying through an assigned sponsor begins!
Step 2: The DS-2019 form and Training plan
Once a candidate has gotten through the process of applying through the visa sponsor, they will be assigned a DS-2019 form and a training plan. The training plan will be created by Placement International in collaboration with the host company and visa sponsor. The purpose is to ensure that candidates begin their placement with accurate expectations. Once the training plan is created and approved by the sponsor, it will be sent for final approval and signatures by the candidate and the host company. This will act as the “contract” throughout the stay in the USA!
When the training plan is signed by all parties, the candidate will be issued a DS-2019 by the sponsor. This is essentially the form that will act as an “entry ticket” at the US border upon approval at the embassy interview. Between Placement International, the sponsor, and the candidate, the delivery of the DS2019 will be arranged.
Step 3: Fees & embassy appointment
Prior to the delivery of the DS- 2019 document, the candidate must pay the Students and Exchange Visitors Information System (SEVIS) fee. It is the main database that the US government uses to monitor and regulate J-1 visitors. This fee will need to be paid in order to get the DS2019 form. In the case of some sponsors, this fee will be covered by Placement International and/or the sponsor.
In addition to the SEVIS fee, the candidate will also need to pay a fee directly to the embassy, the DS160 fee. As the name suggests, this fee is $160 and can be paid directly to the US embassy. During the process, Placement International will guide candidates with filling the form and paying the fee in the local currency via the embassy website. For more information, check out this article here.
The next step in the process is booking the embassy appointment. To avoid a costly reprint, Placement International will ensure the appointment is booked early enough to allow time to travel before the start date.
Step 4: The Appointment
This is arguably the most daunting stage of the process. The majority of candidates tend to succeed in providing their documents, so don’t worry too much about it!
These are the necessary documents to bring:
- Two (2) passport photos – check the U.S. Embassy website for dimensions
- DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status: obtained from the program sponsor in the United States, and DS-7002 Form or Training Plan
- Printed SEVIS fee receipt
- Evidence of financial resources
While most of those who apply to the J-1 with the correct documents do pass, it is not a guaranteed success. There will be a short character interview in which the officer will ask various questions. The questions will tend to vary depending on the officer and embassy, but in general, they are trying to figure out the answer to the following questions:
- Will you return home after your training program finishes?
- Are you going to the USA for the correct reasons? (As mandated by the J-1 visa)
These are generally the two main things that officers are looking for. They will ask various questions to determine whether or not the candidate understands the purpose of the visa.
- Whether you have a professional interest to train in the USA
- You have the financial means to sustain yourself and return to your home country
Does this sound daunting yet? Don’t worry! Placement International's visa team will schedule a coaching call to make sure all candidates fully understand everything. More information can be found here.
Step 5 Departure
Congratulations, the visa interview has been successful! The first thing a candidate must do is inform Placement International as soon as the visa is approved. That way the host company can be informed. The next step is to book a call with Placement International. The aim is to inform the candidate on what to do upon arrival, such as to activate their SEVIS status upon arrival.
The process of getting a traineeship in the USA can be daunting, time-consuming, and confusing, which is why Placement International is here to help! If you would like to find out how we can help you too, then just submit your CV here and Placement International will be happy to assist!