J-1 Visa Insurance
The J-1 Visa is for those looking to enter an educational exchange program. Before applying for a J-1 Visa, you must apply, fulfill the requirements, and be accepted for one of the exchange visitor program categories approved by the U.S. Department of State.
Differences in Education/Student Visas
Before you decide the J-1 Visa is the right student visa for you, you need to understand that there is another student visa that may be more applicable to your situation. You need to apply for the visa that you are more qualified and suitable for. Here is some more information on each program:
J-1 Visa: The J-1 Visa is an exchange visa and applies to more than just students. It is an encompassing visa that allows sponsors to accept students, workers, visitors, scholars, and trainees. You must qualify, apply, and be accepted to a certified exchange program before you can apply and receive your visa. You will find more information about the different exchange visitor programs below.
F-1 Visa: The F-1 visa is for students who wish to attend a university, college, high school, or other educational institution. In the case of the F-1 visa, you do not have to qualify for an exchange program. However, you have to apply and be accepted to an accredited institution. Once you are accepted, you are free to study at that institution for the time permitted on your specific visa. In order to receive your F-1 Visa you must be enrolled full time at the institution.
In short, the J-1 Visa is for those who are looking for a short-term exchange program, and the F-1 Visa is for students who wish to study on a longer-term basis or receive a degree from an American institution.
Choosing an Exchange Visitor Program
The U.S. Department of State lists 14 distinct kinds of Exchange Visitor programs approved for obtaining the J-1 Visa. Unless you already know which program you plan on participating in, choosing from such a long list can be tough. Learn more about which visa is right for you. As you look for the right program, keep in mind that you will, at some point in the process, be required to provide proper documentation to consular officers in order to receive your visa. One of those documents may be proof of J-1 Visa insurance, which will keep you safe as you travel to the U.S. on your exchange program. J-1 Visa insurance will provide you with a peace of mind as you travel and learn about the wider world.
We’ve compiled this list of approved programs, complete with a brief explanation of each program type, to help make your decision process a little easier.
Au Pair: Participants stay with a host family to provide reliable and responsible childcare while they are continuing their education. To qualify for the au pair program, you must prove your proficiency in English, have graduated secondary school, and be between the ages of 18 and 26.
Camp Counselor: Foreign post-secondary students and youth workers can work with American youths at summer camps. To qualify, you must prove you know enough English to interact with American youth, and you must be a post-secondary student, a youth worker, teacher, or have a specialized skill. You must also be at least 18 years old.
Government Visitor: Foreign government officials can develop and strengthen relationships with U.S. counterparts. Those who qualify to be government visitors must be selected by a government entity; engaged in tours, meetings, conferences or workshops; and they must be influential or considered a distinguished person.
Intern: College and university students can gain hands-on experience in U.S. business practices. In order to be an intern on an exchange program, you must be enrolled in a post-secondary institution not in the U.S. and have graduated in the last 12 months.
International Visitor: Participants seek to develop and strengthen professional and personal ties to Americans and American institutions. The U.S. Department of State selects international visitors, and you must be a person of potential leadership in a specialized field.
Physician: Foreign physicians can attend U.S. medical institutions or receive training at a medical institution. To qualify for the physician exchange program, you must show adequate training and educational background, be competent in oral and written English, have passed standard medical tests, and have an agreement or contract from an accredited medical institution in the U.S. that will claim responsibility for your training.
Professor and Research Scholar: The exchange of professors and scholars serves to promote the exchange of ideas, research, enrichment, and to link academic institutions. Those seeking this particular exchange program must not be on a tenure track, and they cannot have completed a scholar program within the last 24 months.
Short-Term Scholar: Scholars travel to the U.S. to lecture, observe, consult, and train at research institutions, museums, libraries, or post-secondary institutions. The qualification for the short-term scholar exchange program is that you must be a professor, a research scholar, or someone with a similar education and experience as the other two.
Specialist: Participants are experts in a field who exchange ideas with American counterparts. First and foremost, you must be an expert in a specialized field. But, you must also be traveling to the U.S. with the intent to learn and exchange ideas with other experts in a non-permanent position.
Student-College/University: Foreign students study at post-secondary academic schools or an internship program. As a college or university student, you must have substantial funding other than personal or family funds and must be pursuing a non-degree program that is no more than 24 months.
Student-Secondary: Participants stay with a host family while studying at a public or private high school. In order to qualify as a secondary student, you must be between the ages of 15 and 18 and 6 months, have not completed more than 11 months of primary school, and not participated in any exchange program previously.
Summer Work Travel: Post-secondary students come to the U.S. to travel and work during the summer holiday. Besides being a post-secondary student, you must also show proficiency in English.
Teacher: Foreign teachers teach in primary and secondary schools in the U.S. You must meet the qualifications of being a teacher in your home country, have a minimum of three years’ experience, satisfy the U.S. standards in the state in which you will be teaching, seek a position in a primary or secondary school, and show sufficient English skills.
Trainee: Participants receive training in U.S. business practices. Before you can enter a trainee exchange program you must possess a degree or certificate from a post-secondary institution and have at least five years of work experience in the field in which you are seeking more training.
Atlas Travel® Insurance and the J-1 Visa
Individuals traveling on a J-1 visa are required to have medical insurance while in the U.S. Atlas Travel insurance meets J-1 visa requirements and has many great medical benefits to cover your medical expenses while in the U.S. Individuals looking to travel to the U.S
Key Benefits of Atlas Travel
|Coverage for pre-existing conditions||Partially: Only for an acute onset of a pre-existing condition, with all other expenses for pre-existing conditions excluded. $100,000 lifetime maximum for eligible medical expenses on overall maximums of $100,000, $200,000, $500,000, or $1,000,000. Otherwise $50,000 lifetime maximum for eligible medical expenses. See the Description of Coverage for more details.|
|Guarantee issue||Yes: No medical underwriting is required for eligible individuals. See the Description of Coverage for full eligibility.|
|Zero coinsurance outside the U.S.||Yes: We will pay 100% of eligible medical expenses after the deductible, up to the overall maximum limit of the policy. See the Description of Coverage for more details.|
|Zero coinsurance inside the U.S. if within the PPO Network||Yes: If you use a doctor in the PPO network; otherwise, it is 80/20% up to $5,000 then 100% thereafter to the overall maximum. See the Description of Coverage for more details.|
|Complete online enrollment capabilities & immediate fulfillment||Yes: Selecting 'Yes' to online fulfillment when purchasing will ensure your policy information will be available to print once your application has been processed and your credit card approved.|
|Sports coverage||Yes: Coverage for eligible injuries or illnesses related to sports activities. See the Description of Coverage for more details.|
|Emergency medical evacuations||Yes|
|Crisis response coverage||Yes: $10,000 certificate period maximum covers losses resulting from kidnapping or express kidnapping.|
|Personal liability coverage||Yes: $10,000 lifetime maximum covers member losses due to third-party injury or damage/loss of third-party personal property or related-third-party personal property. This benefit applies only for court-entered eligible judgments or approved settlements.|
Unlike many insurance plans who may also meet J-1 visa requirements, Atlas Travel insurance includes coverage for many sports activities without adding additional cost to your plan.
Finding the Right Sponsor
After you have identified which exchange visitor program best suits you and your needs, you can start looking for the right sponsor. It is important to find a good sponsor because each one offers you a little something different. You also need to understand and find a sponsor that is certified for the exchange program. Whether you want to teach, research, study, or receive job training, it’s really about the right program for you. The U.S. Department of State provides lists of certified sponsors for every type of exchange program. Simply visit the J-1 Visa Program website, click on your desired program, and then search for the sponsor link.
Your Life as an American Student
Your college or high school life may be very different in the U.S. than it was in your home country. New people, new places, and new subjects to study can be intimidating, but your new family and friends will be there to support you. Keeping an open mind will be a key to success in your new life.
Staying with a Host Family: If you are staying with a host family, they should meet you at the airport when you arrive. While the first meeting can be awkward, remember that this family wants you there with them. Your host family is there to support you while you study in a foreign country. Always remember to be respectful of their hospitality. You will be expected to follow whatever rules they set for you, and you should always be courteous.
American Culture: You will be in a new country, which means you will be experiencing a new culture. You may find this new culture intimidating, so before you leave your home country, it might be advisable to study the culture. One of the biggest differences will probably be language, but you can prepare ahead of time by studying our list of common American slang.
Remember to Ask Questions: Since your visa is technically a student visa, you should do your best to learn everything you can. If at any point something confusing happens, or you learn something you don’t understand, you should ask questions. Your experience will be more fulfilling if you learn all that you can and confront challenging situations with an open mind.
The J-1 Visa allows you to experience American culture while furthering your knowledge basis in the classroom, as an intern, with practical experience, or through constructive conversations. As you begin looking at the different program options, do not forget that you may need to find student insurance that will keep you safe as you study abroad. If you desire to stay in the U.S. and learn, then perhaps the visitor exchange program is the right study abroad option for you!
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HCC Medical Insurance Services, LLC (HCCMIS) is a service company that is a subsidiary of HCC Insurance Holdings Inc. HCCMIS is regulated by the State of Indiana in our capacity as Third Party Administrator. HCCMIS has authority to enter into contracts of insurance on behalf of the Lloyd's underwriting members of Lloyd's Syndicate 4141, which is managed by HCC Underwriting Agency Ltd.