The J1 Visa program allows people to come to the United States and train in a field that their home country has deemed necessary for the economy. These fields include Agriculture, business management, child care, etc. You can apply for the J1 program in your home country and depending on the country, they will match you with an employer who needs the help and is willing to train you.
While you are on a J1 Visa
While you are here in the United States on a J1 visa, you are required to work in your field for the duration of the Visa. You can potentially change employers however, you need to let your program administrator know about the change and the new employer should be still in your field of study. Your Visa does have the potential to be cancelled if you fail to maintain a relationship with your program administrator, commit a crime while you are in the United States, or attempt to change status while a residency requirement is in place.
After your J1 Visa
Once your J1 Visa expires, you are required to go back to your home country. If there is no residency requirement for you to work in your home country for X amount of years however, you may change status. Common change of status includes becoming a student or adjusting status based on a marriage to a US citizen. To determine if your program has a residency requirement, you can check the US State Department’s website to determine if your skills are of a special interest to your home country requiring a two-year residency upon completion of your program. Note: If you are claiming asylum after the completion of a J1 program, you are not subject to any residency requirements.
J1 Residency Waiver
In the event you are subject to a residency requirement but have a compelling reason to remain in the United States, you may obtain a waiver from your country’s Embassy. Obtaining a waiver is a complicated process that may require an immigration lawyer, such as our friends at Mughal Law Firm, PLLC, to explain to your home country your compelling need to adjust status or change your visa into another such as a student visa or similar.