Figuring out the application process for a J-1 visa can be challenging, so HCC Medical Insurance Services ("HCCMIS") created this easy, five-step checklist to help you as you explore opportunities abroad.
Step 1: Make Sure the J-1 Visa is Right for You
If you are considering working and studying in the United States, the J-1 visa might be right for you. Issued by the United States to promote cultural exchange, J-1 visas are short-term, non-immigrant visas for international visitors enrolled in work-and-study-based exchange programs.
Another option is the F-1 visa, which is for those who wish to study on a longer-term basis and receive a degree from an American institution. If that describes your situation, visit our F-1 Visa page.
However, if you...
- Want to gain work experience in the U.S.
- Intend to learn and exchange ideas with American counterparts
- Plan to return to your home country upon completing your work program
...then a J-1 visa is right for you.
Step 2: Choose a Program
There are 14 distinct programs. Decide which one best applies to you.
For descriptions of each program, visit https://j1visa.state.gov/programs. After choosing a program, your next step is to find a certified sponsor.
Step 3: Find a Sponsor
To apply for a J-1 visa, you must first be accepted by a certified exchange visitor program sponsor. Each sponsor offers slightly different services, so be sure to explore your options to find the best one for your specific program.
Your sponsor will:
- Facilitate your J-1 visa application process
- Be your main point of contact throughout the exchange program process
- Monitor your welfare and progress during the length of the exchange program
All certified sponsors are listed on the government J-1 Visa page.
Once you have decided on a sponsor, begin the application process for that specific program.
Step 4: Begin the Application Process
Although every sponsor has a slightly different process, they all require you to:
- Complete Form DS 2019: You can get this form only from a certified program sponsor
- Interview at a U.S. embassy: Many sponsors will help you prepare for this
- Have travel medical insurance coverage
Your travel medical coverage should include the following minimum benefits*:
- Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
- Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
- Expenses associated with medical evacuation of the exchange visitor of his or her home country in the amount of $50,000
- A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness
Your sponsor will help you with the required forms and interviews. HCCMIS can help you with travel medical insurance.
Step 5: Get travel medical insurance
HCCMIS offers travel medical insurance options that meet all J-1 visa requirements.
- Atlas Travel Insurance: Customizable medical insurance plans for anyone traveling outside of their home country
- StudentSecure Insurance: Comprehensive medical coverage for full-time students or full-time scholars studying outside of their home country
HCCMIS plans also include coverage for many sports activities without any additional costs. When you get travel medical insurance to meet J-1 visa requirements, you also get peace of mind knowing you will save on out-of-pocket medical expenses.