J-1 Trainee


J-1 Trainee Visa | U.S. Business Immigration Law Firm, Manila, Philippines

Foreign degree holders, including Philippine professionals, are allowed to come to the United States through a trainee program under the Exchange Visitor or J-1 Visa. This nonimmigrant visa is designed to promote mutual understanding between individuals of the United States and the people of other countries through the interchange of knowledge and skills, usually in the areas of education, arts, and sciences.

A J-1 trainee visa holder will be given the opportunity to receive business training in the academic or occupational field he or she wishes to practice, while gaining exposure to U.S. culture. By participating in a structured and guided training-based program, it is also beneficial in enhancing the skills and expertise of exchange visitors while in the United States.

Application for J-1 Trainee

Prior to applying for a J-1 visa, applicants must be accepted into a program by an authorized program sponsor. The petitioning U.S. educational institution will then forward the necessary approval documentation to the applicant, who then uses this documentation in the application. A trainee must be a foreign national who has accumulated a degree or professional certificate from a foreign post-secondary academic institution and has at least one year of prior related work experience in his or her occupational field outside the United States. Those who have five years of work experience in the occupational field in which they seek training in the U.S. can also be eligible to apply for a J-1 visa.

Extensions of the J-1 Visa

The validity period of a J-1 visa for business trainees is typically 18 months. Depending on the agreement between the holder and the program sponsor, a J-1 visa can be extended by completing a new Certificate of Eligibility or IAP-66. Extensions normally happen when the total stay period stated in the initial IAP-66 does not exceed the maximum duration of stay for the program. The State Department must be notified of extensions.

Should the spouse or unmarried children (under 21 years of age) of the principal J-1 visa holder wish to reside in the United States for the duration of the training, they can do so through a J-2 visa. If the intention is to visit for vacations only, a Visitor or B-2 visa can also be possible.