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F1 Visa to J1 Visa
Samantha Gades

Change from F1 Visa to J1 Visa

Does the following ring a bell: You are a graduate student on an expiring F1 OPT (what is an F1 OPT?) Looking to stay in the US for further training. Well, maybe not completely; There are many reasons to transfer why those who hold F1 visas would like to change to J1 status, including F1 holders with spouses who also want to work in the US (see J2 Visa), etc. Now, Architect-US is specialized in providing J1 visas for internships and training in the U.S. so let’s find out more information about whether changing from F1 Visa to J1 Visa status is a possibility for you. 

First, it is helpful to know that the J1 Intern / Trainee program is intended to give the opportunity to train students/graduates of schools OUTSIDE THE US 

In other words, it is difficult to go from F1 Visa to J1 Visa,  because you would fall in the category of an international graduate of a US school. Generally speaking, the agency will not process any J1 directly after an OPT.

However, there are still possibilities, but it can be tricky. Let’s explore the transfer from F1 Visa to J1 Visa:

  • If you are a graduate on F1 OPT visa looking to become a J1 intern:
    • You must leave the U.S. and pursue a post-secondary education degree 
    • Then, you can apply for a J1 Intern Visa within 12 months of finishing your studies at that institution
  • If you are a graduate on F1 Visa looking to become a J1 trainee:
    • You must leave the U.S. for at least one year of work experience in the field of your study
    • If you do not have education outside the U.S. prior to this F1, you must get a post-secondary education degree outside the U.S.
    • Then, you can apply for a J1 Trainee Visa

These are general guidelines. Below are some more notes on this eligibility:

  • When looking to transfer to J1 Intern status:
    • It does not matter if you have work experience outside the U.S. for 1/1 + years if you are not pursuing a post-secondary education degree outside the US. Your most recent education cannot be in the U.S.
  • Someone who only has a degree from the U.S. cannot become a J1 trainee under any circumstance.

Basically, you have to leave the U.S. for either education or training before applying for a J1.

Interested in pursuing a J1 Visa? Contact Architect-US to get this process started!

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