21 Apr J1 Vs F1 Visa: Which one you should choose?
The USA is undoubtedly the first choice for many students across the world to study. With different visa options for students, there is always some confusion. The common doubt that arises is between choosing an F1 or J1 visa. These are the common visas available for an international student to study in the US. However, it is not so easy to choose the right visa without knowing the pros and cons of them. An expert immigration consultant can suggest you the right visa based on your requirements and your immigration situation. Let’s look at the difference between F1 and J1 visa to understand which is better.
Who Should Choose J1 Visa?
The J1 visa or the Exchange Visitor Visa is for the individuals who hold a sponsoring program that is authorized by the Department of State. This visa mainly aims at helping people acquire skills from the US and take it back to their homeland. Any individual willing to apply for secondary school, college and university student, Short-term/research scholar, intern, specialist, summer work visit, doctor, professor, teacher, and international visitor can apply for J1 visa.
Firstly, you need to find a designated sponsor to enroll you in their J1 program. A list of designated sponsor organizations is available in the United Stated Department of State. Post the acceptance of sponsorship, you should submit the DS-2019 form (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status), issued by your sponsoring organization. Next step is to pay a SEVIS I-901 fee and Non-Immigrant Visa Application Processing fee followed by an interview with the US consulate.
Who Should Choose F1 Visa?
Unlike the J1 visa, F1 visa is meant exclusively for the students. There are two types of student-specific visas that includes F1 and M1 visa. The M1 visa is for the students who apply for vocational schools. Whereas with the F1 visa, one can study, live, and also work in some cases within the USA for the duration of your educational program. This visa is for the students who wish to enroll in a high school, private elementary school, college, and university.
To be eligible for F1 visa, one must show that you maintain a permanent residence in any country other than the US. This should convince that you can return to your country post the completion of your visa. You should prove that you have a strong reason to return to your countries such as property, car, family, or a job offer. It’s crucial to prove that you are financially safe during your stay in the US. Most importantly, an institution or university should sponsor you for your student visa.
Work in the US with J1 Visa
An individual with the J1 visa is allowed to work with work authorization. Yet most programs permit you to work only on campus for 20 hours per week as a part-time employment. You must contact your institution first to know about the available vacancies. One can work as an assistant in the library, bookstore, food service, custodian, teacher’s aide, and also as a security as a J1 student.
Work in the US with F1 Visa
The F1 student can work off-campus as well but not for the initial 1 year. After the completion of the first year, you can choose between CPT, OPT, or STEM OPT. CPT (Curriculum Practical Training) is a part of the school curriculum which includes both paid and unpaid internships. OPT (Optional Practical Training) is of two types namely pre-completion or post-completion OPT to let you work while you study. This should be directly related to the field you study. Post-completion OPT lets you stay in the US for 1 whole year after the course completion. STEM OPT (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) permits you to stay in the US for 2 whole years post your course completion.
Understanding the different types of visas, its requirements and complexities are very hard. Choosing the right visa is very important when moving to another country as it may impact one’s career and future as a whole. Therefore, you must consult with an immigration consultant who has a thorough knowledge of the immigration law to assist you to take a safe and right decision.
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