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J-1 Trainee visa basics

J Pathways helps companies explore whether a J visa might solve some of their most complex and time-sensitive visa challenges.

If we determine that a J visa may solve a company's problem, we can:



Our services allow companies to immediately enroll qualified foreign professionals, on work-based training assignments in almost any position or location in the US. Rapidly. 

Leave the details and complexities to us.


Immediately help the company obtain a J-1 visa on an expedited basis.

Provide the short-term or long-term structured, and work-based training that J visas require.


Qualifications and obligations

In order to qualify for a J Trainee visa, Trainees must have:​​

  • Knowledge of the English language sufficient to undertake the training program.
  • Significant experience in their occupational fields. 

A Trainee's significant experience may be demonstrated by either:

01. A degree or certificate in their occupational field from a foreign post-secondary degree institution and 1 year foreign related work experience


02. 5 years of related foreign experience in their occupational field.  All such qualifying work experience must have been gained outside of the US.

The Trainee must be coming to the US primarily to participate in a work-based training program that enhances their skills and expertise, rather than merely to work.  As such, the Trainee must not displace a US worker. Their training is required to be hands-on, in their occupational field.  And not merely additional work experience.

The maximum length of the training program (and visa) is up to 18 months.  A Trainee’s dependents may also accompany the Trainee to the US and are entitled to work in the US on a J-2 visa.

The following occupational categories are eligible to participate in the Trainee program: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing; Arts and Culture; Construction and Building Trades; Education, Social Sciences, Library Science, Counseling and Social Services; Health Related Occupations; Hospitality and Tourism; Information Media and Communications; Management, Business, Commerce, and Finance; Public Administration and Law; and The Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics, and Industrial Occupations.


More about the J visa

For Immigration Professionals and Attorneys, Human Resource Professionals, Recruiters, Relocation companies and Trainees

Unlike other commonly used visas, such as H's, J's, L's and O's, an employer does not "sponsor" a Trainee’s visa. Rather, the employer is considered to be the Trainee’s “Host Company”. 

J visas are "sponsored" by a State Department approved third-party.  We maintain robust relationships with third-party sponsors.  These often enable us to obtain visas on an accelerated basis.

Employees may move from F-1 Occupational Training to J-1 Trainee visa.  

(Requires visit Embassy or Consulate outside of the US to pick J visa.)

In limited instances, the Trainee’s J-1 status may impact their ability to pursue an immigrant visa or permanent residence (green card), K, H or L visa.  Such limitations are only imposed upon Trainees whose participation in the program was financed by the US or foreign government OR whose services or skills have been identified as being clearly required by their country of nationality or last residency.  We immediately determine whether these limitations apply and handle the process for obtaining a waiver of these requirements, if they do apply.

Employees may move from F-1 Occupational Training to J-1 Trainee visa.

(Requires visit Embassy or Consulate outside of the US to pick J visa.)

Host companies must be able to provide an on-site supervisor and have at least two employees working at the program work site.

Site visits are required of companies with less than 25 employees or $3 million of annual revenue.  Workmen's compensation insurance is required to be carried by host companies.

Staffing/employment agencies are not eligible to participate in the program.

Unskilled positions, those requiring the provision of a child or elder care, those involving patient care or contact or health care professionals are prohibited from participating in the program.

Want an even deeper dive into the J-1 visa Exchange visitor program?
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