If you are going to travel to the United States then you are going to need a visa. There are many different types of visas, but if you are going to travel as an intern or trainee in a work-placement program, then you are going to need a J1 visa.

Securing your visa is harder than you may think. There are many different steps that you have to go through and a lot of documentation that you need to prepare.

We help hundreds of people just like you secure their visas and travel to the United States to further their careers every year. Our team has experienced just about every hurdle you could expect and we know how to help you navigate them.

Here are some of the top challenges that we have seen as well as advice on how to get through them.

4 Challenges in Getting a J-1 Visa & How to Overcome Them

Sponsorships, host companies, embassy interviews… the list goes on. There are many different steps standing between you and your journey to the United States. Each step presents its own unique challenges and potential delays.

We know what it takes to navigate this process, and we’re here to help.

While it may be possible to secure your visa within just a couple of months, without the right information you could be waiting six months or more. So take the time to learn what you need to do in advance and seek support to help guide you through.

1. J-1 Visa Sponsors

What is a J-1 Visa Sponsor?

A J-1 visa sponsor is an organization that has been approved by the US State Department to issue a Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status.

Why do You Need a Sponsor?

You cannot schedule an interview with your embassy until you have received a certificate of eligibility for exchange visitor status from your J-1 visa sponsor. Your Embassy will be the one that ultimately issues your visa, and they will only do that after the interview.

How do you find a J-1 Visa Sponsor?

We can help! You can contact our team here at HPUSA.

2. Host Companies

What are J-1 Host Companies?

J-1 host employers will extend an offer for cultural exchange paid practical training. This is the company that will offer you employment while you’re participating in the J-1 program. They will have certain requirements that they will need to meet in order to make sure that they and you comply with the J-1 regulations.

Why do you need a J-1 Host Company?

You are entering the United States on an internship or training basis. Before your sponsor will issue your certificate and an embassy will approve your visa, they will want to know that you have successfully secured employment for the duration of your program with a company that understands the requirements they must meet.

How do you find a J-1 Host Employer?

Many employers in the hospitality industry will have information on their website about how they participate in the J1 program. However, if you are working with our staff here at HPUSA, we will find and secure interviews for you with host employers. We help you prepare for your interviews and get all of the documentation together that you’re going to need.

3. Documentation (There’s a Lot!)

What documentation is needed for a J-1 visa?

You will need to supply a lot of documentation to your host employer, your sponsor organization, and your Embassy. This documentation includes things that confirm your identity, confirm your intent, and verify your experience.

Why do you need so much documentation?

The J-1 visa has some very specific requirements. Your host employer, sponsor, and the embassy will all want to make sure that you meet those requirements.

How do I figure out what documents are needed?

As you move through each step of the visa application process, your employer, sponsor, and the embassy will all help to prepare you by letting you know what documents are needed. At HPUSA we have a lot of experience with this process and we will help you gather all of the information in advance. We will also review your documents and make recommendations on how to improve them to give you a better chance of approval.

4. Embassy Interviews

What is the Embassy Interview?

The embassy interview is one of the last hurdles that you have to conquer in order to get your visa. The interviewing officer is going to ask you a series of questions to determine if you are eligible for a J1 visa.

Why do you need an Embassy Interview?

The embassy does not issue your J1 visa without first conducting an interview with you. The interview process may be brief, but you will be required to bring documentation with you and you may wait seven days or more after your interview before being issued a visa.

How do I prepare for my interview?

It’s important to understand the purpose of the embassy interview as you are getting prepared. The interviewing officer is looking to confirm that you do meet the program requirements. They also want to make sure of a few additional things.

  • They will want to make sure that you do intend to return to your home country at the end of the program.
  • You should understand that the job offer you have received is not for work or immigration, but rather is for training to further your career.
  • You should be prepared to convince the officer that this training will help you acquire specific skills that you could not receive if you stayed in your home country.

If you fail your interview, you will not receive your visa. We cannot stress enough how important it is to prepare for your interview ahead of time.

To help, we have created an interview preparation checklist. Download your copy today and get prepared to pass your interview.