Applying for an extended visa to the United States is no longer the tedious process it once was. Programs like the J-1 visa allow scholars, cultural enthusiasts, and researchers from across the globe, including the Philippines, to work in the United States. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the J-1 visa requirements for the Philippines.
Applicants can participate in internships, prestigious scholarly programs, and government-run exchange programs. Applying for a J-1 visa is the most efficient and convenient strategy for traveling to the United States for a cultural or scholarly experience.
The requirements can seem overwhelming at first glance, but once you understand them, you can build a credible application. As a designated sponsor, we’ve helped thousands of hopefuls successfully submit their application from the Philippines, helping to make the process much smoother along the way.
Scoring the right internship program and J-1 sponsor can work wonders for your application, and this comprehensive guide will help you nail the requirements with ease.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about the J-1 visa requirements in the Philippines.
What is the J-1 Visa?
The United States immigration authorities and State Department have designed several visa programs to encourage multicultural exchanges, people-to-people contact, research collaborations and scholarly exchanges.
The J-1 visa is categorized under the non-immigrant visa programs issued by the U.S. government for academics, travel enthusiasts, researchers, scholars, professionals and students seeking internships.
This streamlined visa offers a convenient and straightforward pathway to study, work or train anywhere in the U.S., participate in a research project, or join an internship program. It is important to carefully study the J-1 visa requirements for the Philippines and understand your eligibility criteria.
Applicants cannot apply for the J-1 visa stream without fulfilling the English language proficiency requirements and finding a reliable, government-approved sponsor. Finding a prestigious sponsor, such as a U.S.-based university, research institution, corporation, non-profit enterprise or government-run exchange program, is of the utmost significance.
Intrax Global Internships, for example, is a U.S. Department of State designated sponsor, which simplifies the process of obtaining a J-1 visa. Further, Intrax provides ongoing support for the duration of your academic program. We help applicants overcome this hurdle by helping them:
- Issue DS-2019 within 2 weeks from receiving all completed application J-1 documents
- Work with their host companies to complete the necessary documents
- Support you in applying for a J-2 visa for any dependents
We work with many amazing customers that could be a great host company match for you. A few include:
You can't travel to the U.S. as a J-1 visa Philippines participant without a position. But don't worry, there are many resources to help you get started.
J-1 Visa: Categories & Requirements
The J-1 visa is issued under multiple categories. The requirements for each pathway are unique to the position to be filled once arriving in the States.
The J-1 visa has multiple categories including:
- Au Pair
- Camp Counselor
- Government Visitor
- International Visitor
- Professor or Research Scholar
- Short-term Scholar
The J-1 visa Au Pair stream requires applicants to be at least 18 to 26 years old with proficient English-speaking skills, and secondary school-level education. Au Pair applications are placed with host families anywhere in the United States for a 12-month period. Applicants have the option to extend their visa for 6, 9 or 12 months, and more if they desire to stay longer. If accepted, applicants undergo a training program to prepare them for assisting their host families and teaching their children.
The Camp Counselor category requires applicants to be at least 18 years old with a high level of English proficiency to communicate with their fellow campers without obstacles. Successful applicants work at the best summer camps in the U.S. receive the same financial compensation and benefits (minimum $2,000) given to their American equivalents for their work at camp.
Applicants selected by a U.S. government-run program, federal agency or state government to visit and attend a cultural or scholarly program can apply for the J-1 visa under the Government Visitor category. Under this visa, participants can engage in meetings, workshops, tours, consultations and scholarly endeavors.
Applicants can apply under the J-1 visa intern stream if they are enrolled in a university with a post-secondary degree from an academic institute outside the United States. Applicants who have completed their graduation within the past 12 months can also apply under this stream.
The US government has specified the fields applicable under the intern category. These fields include, but are not limited to:
- Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing
- Arts & Culture
- Architecture & Engineering
- Finance & Trade
- Social Sciences
- Counseling and Social Services
- Healthcare Occupations
- Hospitality and Tourism
- Information Media and Broadcasting
- Management Sciences & Business
- Public Administration
Applicants can apply for an internship through Intrax Global Internships and explore a wealth of programs that align with their academic aspirations and professional goals. Securing a US-based internship opportunity is never easy for international applicants. Unless they have assistance and support from a US-based organization driven to securing the best opportunities to support their ambitions.
Applicants planning to participate in training programs, research projects, consultations or observatory tours must apply under the International Visitor stream. Applicants are required to demonstrate their specialized skills in their chosen field, and they must be a prolific and well-respected professional in their specific academic or professional field. They must also participate in all training and consultation programs mandated under this category.
Physicians applying for the J-1 visa must have completed academic accolades, extensive medical training, and an official statement from their country of origin. These applicants also need a contractual agreement from a US-based medical institute, healthcare facility or research institute. Moreover, they also need to complete the following obligations:
- Part I or Part II of the exam issued by the National Board of Medical Examiners
- The Foreign Medical Graduate Exam
- Step I and Step II visa Qualifying Medical Examiners (VQE)
Professor & Research Scholar
Professors, academicians and research scholars can apply for the J-1 visa if they fulfill the necessary requirements. These professionals cannot choose the J-1 visa stream to secure a tenure track position, and they cannot participate in the professorship program during the last 2 years. Also, the applicants should not have applied under the J-1 visa program during the past year.
Scholars relocating to the United States for a short-term research or scholarly position can secure a 6-month visa under the J-1 Short-term Scholar category. Applicants must be full-time professors or research scholars with extensive academic backgrounds and experience to apply under this stream. If approved, the candidates can participate in research projects and take up semester-long teaching positions at US-based institutions. However, this visa is not applicable for renewals or extensions.
Applicants applying under this stream must be specialized and experienced professionals in their chosen field. They can secure a year-long visa but cannot seek full-time employment in the United States.
College and university students can apply under the J-1 student visa category, provided they have a sponsor and have secured funding from their country of origin or through a US-funded government program, or both. Typically, students can secure a visa for up to two years, but the exact duration varies, depending on the program.
Applicants applying under the Secondary Student category must be between the ages of 15 and 18 years old. Applicants must have 11 years of primary education, excluding kindergarten. Applicants who have participated in a similar program through the F-1 or J-1 visa cannot apply through this stream.
Summer Work /Travel
The J-1 visa offers a summer work permit/travel category to university-going students currently pursuing a degree. Students must have completed at least one semester of their university program to be eligible to participate. It is also important to secure a job, unless the applicant hails from a visa waiver country.
Current teachers with primary or secondary school experiences and a Bachelor’s or equivalent degree in their chosen academic subject can apply under the Teacher category. Applicants must either be working as a teacher in their native country or have at least 24 months of teaching experience.
Applicants seeking a J-1 visa under the trainee category require a degree or professional certificate from a recognized institution. They also need at least one year of work experience or five years of experience in a similar occupational field.
J-1 Visa General Requirements
The J-1 visa requirements and eligibility criteria are unique to each category and position. It is important to examine the category that aligns with your interests so you can fill out the right application.
However, there are some general requirements and documentation to fulfill to apply for a J-1 visa, including:
- A valid passport
- Photo requirements
- A J-1 visa application form
- Visa fee receipt
- Form DS-2019
A Valid Passport
Applicants need a valid passport that remains functional for at least six months after you arrive in the United States.
Applicants must submit a photograph in the online visa application form. Suppose you are unable to upload your photograph online. In that case, be sure to submit a hard copy. The photo requirements are very specific. For example, the photo rules include:
- Your head must be between 50% and 69% of the image’s total height.
- The photo must have a white or off-white background.
- You cannot wear eyeglasses in the photo, except for rare medical reasons.
J-1 Visa Application Form
All participants must fill the DS-160 Nonimmigrant visa applicant form available online. Be sure to carry the confirmation page along when visiting the consulate or embassy for the interview.
Visa Fee Receipt
Applicants required to pay the visa fee before their scheduled interview should carry the receipt along.
Form DS- 2019
Once accepted for an exchange program, applicants will receive a Form DS-2019 indicating that their sponsor has registered them into the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). It is important to pay the form fee upon receiving, unless the program sponsor is covering the cost.
Form DS- 7002
Applicants applying under the Intern and Trainee J-1 visa streams will need to submit a Form DS-7002.
Applicants under the J-1 Visa category must have adequate health insurance coverage. Typically, the responsibility of ensuring the applicant has purchased health insurance falls on the sponsor.
Note: It is wise to consult your local consulate or visa office to see which documents are required for your chosen J-1 visa category. In most cases, applicants may have to provide additional documentation specific to their chosen categories.
Step-by-Step Guide: Applying for the J-1 Visa from the Philippines
Applying for the J-1 visa from the Philippines can feel overwhelming. Don’t worry! We have processed many J-1 visas, so we know the ins and outs on how to get it done.
Here’s a simple step-by-step process to applying for the J-1 visa from the Philippines:
- Submit the application form
- Prepare for the interview
- Submit the application fee
- Prepare all documents
- Intrax conducts pre-departure orientation
- Intrax Issues DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility)
- Sit for the official visa interview
- Obtain your J-1 visa
Submit the Application Form
To apply for the J-1 visa, you must select the right category that aligns with your academic or professional aspirations, and fill out the online application form. Once you’ve filled out the form, be sure to print the confirmation page and carry it with you during the official visa interview.
Take your time filling out the application, and upload a visa photo that aligns with the given requirements.
Prepare for the Interview
Once you submit the application form, you need to schedule a visa appointment with your local Consulate or U.S. Embassy Philippines. Government officials will help streamline the process and schedule your official interview. The timeline and availability of interview slots varies widely. Factors like the frequency of applications, staff availability, location, and the season can affect when the next possible interview slot occurs.
Most importantly, it’s imperative to prepare for the interview questions and organize your thoughts so you’re ready to provide coherent and confident responses regarding your current standing and future aspirations.
Submit the Application Fee
In some cases, applicants are required to submit the visa fee before attending the scheduled interview at the embassy or consulate. If that applies to your case, be sure to carry the receipt to the interview. However, if you are required to pay the fee after, it’s wise to wait until after the interview.
Prepare all Documents
It is important to download the complete list of academic, nationality and professional documents required under your chosen J-1 visa category to avoid delays and rejections. All documents must be in good condition and in the English language. In some cases, applicants are required to submit documents with an apostille stamp. Be sure to check the specific requirements before preparing your documentation.
Intrax Conducts Pre-Departure Orientation
Intrax Global Internships will contact you to schedule a program orientation that will include valuable information on living in the USA, rules and regulations for the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, and guidance on applying and interviewing for the J-1 Visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country.
Intrax Issues DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility)
After your payment and all of your application materials have been received, and Intrax has received confirmation of your placement from your Host Company, Intrax will process and issue your DS 2019 form within four weeks. The DS-2019 form will be sent to you via FedEx.
Sit for the Official Visa Interview
The official visa interview will be held at a US Embassy or Consulate. The interview will be a consular officer, who will determine your eligibility to qualify under the J-1 visa stream.
This is the most important phase, and requires prep! They will ask questions regarding your academic background, professional experience, chosen category, and aspirations behind your extended stay in the United States.
During this stage, applicants are often asked to provide their fingerprints for biometric verification. However, this requirement varies based on the unique visa regime and diplomatic ties the United States has with each country.
Obtain Your J-1 Visa
Once you’ve received your J-1 visa, it’s time to start preparing for your voyage to the United States of America. Applicants must also prepare them for the border patrol checks. They will have to provide their visa, passport and DS-2019 form. Visitors allowed into the United States will be given a paper form I-94 or an admission stamp.
After the J-1 Internship
Traveling to the United States and living independently can seem exciting, scary, and exhilarating all at the same time. It is important to plan your journey after the internship and explore lucrative job placement opportunities to map out your long-term goals.
At Intrax Global Internships, we assist seasoned and young professionals with an abundance of opportunities that align with their chosen academic backgrounds and professional skills.
If you haven’t explored our Intern Pay Calculator, check it out. It is a dynamic tool that will help you understand how much money you’ll be earning in the internship. This calculator will help you track your gross weekly pay, net weekly pay, and total estimated wages through the duration of your internship.
Ready to get started? Request More Information about the many opportunities that await after successfully completing your J-1 visa requirements from the Philippines.
Liked this? Read more about the J-1 process:
- How To Get An Internship: 2023 Official Guide
- J-1 Visa Processing Time
- J-1 Visa Cost
- J-1 Visa Interview Questions