J-1 & Q-1 (Exchange Visitors) We've helped thousands of people just like you, and we can help you too.  We speak results! 

J-1 & Q-1 Visa Attorney in New Jersey

Immigration Attorneys Based out of New Jersey

  • Are you a foreign national exchange visitor?
  • Do you have an offer from a US company that will allow you to train in the US for a position abroad?
  • Are you seeking to change your J-1 visa status?

There are two nonimmigrant visa categories for persons who want to participate in Exchange Visitor programs in the United States. The J nonimmigrant visa is for educational and cultural exchange programs designated by the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs. The Q nonimmigrant visa is for international cultural exchange programs designated by USCIS.

Eligibility for J

The J-1 classification (exchange visitors) is authorized for those who intend to participate in an approved program for the purpose of teaching, instructing or lecturing, studying, observing, conducting research, consulting, demonstrating special skills, receiving training, or to receive graduate medical education or training.

In carrying out the responsibilities of the Exchange Visitor Program, the Department of State designates public and private entities to act as exchange sponsors. J-1 nonimmigrants are therefore sponsored by an exchange program that is designated as such by the U.S. Department of State. These programs are designed to promote the interchange or persons, knowledge, and skills, in the fields of education, arts, and s WHO CAN APPLY FOR A J-1 VISA?

The most common applicants approved for this type of visa include:

  • Students pursuing full-time formal course
  • Short-term research scholars coming to the U.S. to lecture, go to seminars, workshops or other educational programs, for as much as six months
  • Trainees or Interns coming for a structured training program presented by a selected sponsor (limited to 12-18 months)
  • Teachers who are teaching full-time in an established primary or secondary school (up to 3 years and 30 days)
  • Professors and research scholars (also up to 3 years and 30 days)
  • Specialists in a field or with a skill (limited to 1 year plus 30 days)
  • Alien physicians who graduated from foreign medical schools wanting training at a U.S. accredited school of medicine (stay limited to 7 years plus 30 days)
  • International visitors, such as potential leaders wanting to engage in discussions, consultations, professional meetings, conferences, workshops and travel (stay limited to 1 year plus 30 days)
  • Government visitors (stay limited to 18 months)
  • Camp counselors (stay limited to 4 months)
  • Au pairs 18 to 26 years old, who are secondary school graduates and who are proficient in English (limited to one year)

The program must be pre-approved by the sponsoring agency and must contain a training program along with a cultural aspect. Some J-1 visas contain a two (2) year home residency requirement after the program ends, many do not.


Some J-1 nonimmigrants enter the United States specifically to work (as a researcher, nanny, etc.) while others do not. Employment is authorized for J-1 nonimmigrants only under the terms of the exchange program. Please check with your sponsoring agency for more information on any restrictions that may apply to you working in the United States.

Family of J-1 Visa Holders

Your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age, regardless of nationality, are entitled to J-2 classification. Your spouse and children are entitled to work authorization; however, their income may not be used to support you.

Extension and Changes while in the J-1 Program

It may be possible for you to change your visa category from a J-1 to a F-1 student visa or J-1 to a B-2 visitor visa. In some cases, you may not have to leave the US.

You can apply, assuming:

  1. You were lawfully admitted and have maintained status;
  2. You were not convicted for any crime that would make you inadmissible;
  3. You apply to change status prior to your I-94 expiration date;
  4. You are not subject to the two (2) year home residency rule;
  5. Your passport is valid through the period requested;
  6. You meet the requirements for the new visa type.

Eligibility Criteria for Q

You may be eligible for a Q-1 nonimmigrant visa if you are seeking to participate in an international cultural exchange program. The Q nonimmigrant exchange program is for the purpose of providing practical training and employment, and to share the history, culture, and traditions of your home country with the United States.
Only employers who administer cultural exchange programs are allowed to petition for Q nonimmigrants. The purpose of the Q nonimmigrant visa is to facilitate the sharing of international cultures. It is an employment oriented program, but an integral part of your duties must have a cultural element. You must be at least 18 years old and be able to communicate effectively about the cultural attributes of your country. The visas are typically valid for 18 months and there is no provision for family members.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you want legal advice and assistance concerning your application call our immigration law office today and schedule an initial consultation. During this time, we will review your immigration history and decide whether you qualify. Additionally, we will look at your complete immigration history along with the immigration status of your family to determine if there is another path available.

Get Immigration Assistance from Our Team

Practicing since 1987, my firm has the resources, knowledge and skills necessary to achieve your goals. We have helped over 10,000 immigrants with their immigration matters. We are committed to providing you with the highest quality legal services and we promise to immediately begin working on your case to achieve those goals. We will always respond to your questions or concerns. In addition, we will keep you informed and educated about the process every step of the way.

Only an immigration lawyer can give you legal advice. Call (800) 909-8129 or use our short online form to speak with us today.

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