Imagine you have signed up for our J1 Visa Program because you really want to gain experience in the USA and you’re already applying for our Exclusive Offers or searching through our Weekly Openings and everywhere else on the world wide web for opportunities in American companies. But how can you be sure that even if you do get an offer, you’ll be able to go there with the J1 Visa?
It’s a good question and one more people should ask. Everyone asks us if they are eligible for the Program, but few ask about makes a company eligible or not. (And this goes for all companies in the USA, not just the architectural ones, if you’re wondering…) Some criteria depend on the visa sponsor so here go ours! BUT please know we review case by case so in case of doubts, it’s best to directly email us at firstname.lastname@example.org !
At least 3-4 full-time employees
The most important criteria to look out for when searching for opportunities in the USA, as an international, is the size of the company.
I understand those that want to go help a person build up their company from scratch, but in such a scenario there is no guarantee that you will be paid regularly and be able to afford the American lifestyle while on your J1 visa program. So we can’t accept as Host Companies those with less than 4 full-time employees (3 in exceptional cases). When we say “full-time employees” it means on the company’s payroll – so contractors and freelancers don’t count.
In the case that the company is a large one with various locations, the one you would be joining must have at least 3-4 employees there, so that they can guide you, supervise you and help you grow professionally, as is the goal of the program.
If the company has less than 25 employees, then a “Site Visit” will be necessary. This means that an Area Rep will schedule a visit to the office to verify the work conditions and size of the company, so that your experience has the maximum potential to be amazing and without any problems!
Minimum of 32 Hours per Week
The American company must make sure you get the most out of your experience, so the best would be that you “work” (well, “train”) full time – so 40 hours per week. If not, the minimum you are allowed to do is 32 hours per week. So make sure the company needs you not just for a couple hours a day for the odd task, but will actually involve you in the projects and the day-to-day functions.
Minimum Salary is $1300
We don’t accept unpaid opportunities unless you are going to get other compensation such as credits (for a class), if you are still studying, but then you will have to prove you will be able to afford living in the USA without an income. But in general, we always encourage hard work to be rewarded and so we always recommend you insist on a fair salary according to your experience and skills, with the minimum established by the U.S. Department of State is $1300.
English Must be the Main Language
In order to live out the full authentic American experience, we insist the primary language spoken in the office you will be joining be English. It might sound like an obvious requirement but some companies that have an office in the USA but their headquarters are elsewhere, often have employees from that original country which could mean that the day-to-day communications are not in English. So even if it sounds tempting, remember that you are going to the USA to grow professionally and improving your English language level is part of the amazing challenge that will change your life!
Valid Insurance Policy
Whether it’s a Workers Compensation Policy or a Certificate of Liability Insurance – it’s something the company must have in order to qualify as a Host Company. But don’t worry about this one – we’ll ask them directly – and most companies do have it! It proves that the employees are insured in case anything happens. Yes, as I said, leave this criteria to us, we just wanted to let you know it can be grounds for rejecting an American company.
Commitment to your Experience
Even if you are an experienced professional, remember that the J1 visa is a program meant to help you grow professionally through training in a U.S.-based company. So although the mere fact of living in the USA for a given period of time sounds amazing enough, you will be there mainly to learn so it’s vital that the company understands that. It must commit to supervising you continuously and to encouraging your immersion in the American culture, so that when you leave you have no regrets…