H-1B or J-1?

May 21, 2011

The immigration attorneys at the Law Offices of J Craig Fong are often asked by foreign job seekers whether there are options other than H-1B for living and working in the US. Given the difficulty of finding an appropriate H-1B employer these days, many people have asked specifically whether the J-1 exchange visitor is a good option.

Although there are several types of J-1 exchange visitors, this blog will focus on the J-1 internship category.

Here are a few pointers to follow when looking for a J-1 sponsor:

1. Is the J-1 subject to the 2 year home residency requirement?
2. How long will the J-1 term last?
3. Can I choose my own internship?
4. Will the J-1 sponsoring organization work with the employer to create a J-1 program?
5. If you are abroad, will the J-1 sponsoring organization prepare you for the visa interview?

For some J-1 visa holders, J-1 internships provide a great opportunity for hands-on work experience and an opportunity for making contacts in a specific job field, which can be critical for H-1B hopefuls. ---ecf