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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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Common Questions

  • I am a fiancée of a U.S. citizen living outside the U.S. How can I enter the U.S. to marry?

    Your fiancée must apply for a Fiancée Visa, also known as the K-1 Visa. The visa is for parties who have physically met within the past two years, have an intent to marry, and can document a relationship together. The visa is only for those who are residing abroad and cannot be used if the alien is in the US. The application is filed from within the US and when approved, will be forwarded to the American Consular where the alien fiancée will apply for the visa and be interviewed by an officer - usually about 8-12 months from the date of filing.

  • I live in the U.S. and I am marrying a U.S. citizen. How can I get a green card and become a permanent resident?

    Assuming you have entered the US with a visa or are protected by an old law called 245i, you may be eligible to adjust status to receive a green card from within the US. If you have been illegally present for more than 6 months, you cannot travel until the green card is in hand. Current processing time is about 5-7 months.

  • I live outside the U.S. and I married a U.S citizen. How can I come to the U.S. to live?

    To enter the US after a marriage to a US Citizen, you would go through Consular Processing. Paperwork would be filed in the US and forwarded to the embassy abroad to schedule an interview. The processing time frame from start to finish is between 9-11 months, depending on the embassy abroad. The process is document-intensive and requires careful attention to detail.

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Staying Current to Provide Our Clients the Best Protection

Our Founding Attorney Lloyd E. Bennett, Esq. is one of the rare attorneys with as many as 30 plus years of experience in the field who possess the drive to constantly learn more to better advocate for his clients. Immigration law is a field that changes constantly as world politics unfold, new leaders front the United States and immigration processes change. In order to stay on top of this, Attorney Bennett remains an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) based in Washington D.C. and the New Jersey Chapter of AILA for which he is a former chapter chair. Attorney Bennett constantly attends conferences and presentations which analyze changes in immigration law and procedure to provide the most up to date advice for his clients. He is also a frequent speaker at civic events in New Jersey. His role in the immigration law community keeps his representation on the cutting edge.

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