Anyone visiting the US that is a foreign national must first obtain the relevant visa to allow them to enter the country. There is a wide range of different visa types that cover a variety of reasons for entering the US, including student visas F-1,M-1 and J-1. Before you apply for a US visa, make sure that you are applying for the visa that you are eligible for, or your application will be declined and you will need to go through the process of applying for the correct visa from the beginning.
A J-1 visa is for non-immigrants that are exchange visitors, research scholars and professors. The exchange program must promote cultural exchange and must be through a designated sponsor in the US. The screening for participants in the exchange program is conducted by the sponsors and may include an interview and the participant must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Any approved participant will be required to explain how you can cover your expenses through the exchange and also show that you have ties in your home country that will mean you are intending to return to your home country.
Applying for a J-1
The first step is to find a sponsor that will accept you onto their program. There is a list of designated sponsor organizations across the US that you can apply for, ranging from Au Pair companies and working on summer camps, to university exchange programs
If you are accepted by the sponsor onto their program then you will be provided with a DS-2019 form that is part of the application process for a J-1 visa. You also need to pay the SEVIS fee to the DHS if required to do so, as outlined by your sponsor. The sponsor will be able to provide support in your application process and answer questions if you are unsure about any aspect of the application process.
The applicant must apply at the US Embassy in their home country to attend an interview that will determine whether the visa is approved. Different countries require a different set of documentation for processing your J-1 visa application, so you should check with your US Embassy in terms of what they require for you to take to the interview.
Dependents of J-1 visa holders
Dependents of J-1 visa holders can apply for J-2 dependent status if they wish to join the visa holder for their time in the US. In this circumstance, a family DS-2019 can be completed. J-2 visa holders are able to apply for a work permit if they have an EAD approved to enable them to seek employment in the US.