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How “flexible” is the J1 visa in comparison to other visas?

As an employer it is always important to understand all the tools you have at your discretion. We have created a quick rundown for you to understand how “flexible” the J1 visa is in comparison to the H1B and O1 visa. It is especially important during these times to understand how your current and future J1 participant might be impacted by sudden changes such as COVID-19.

As the dynamics of the market change and the Architecture industry looks to adapt to the new circumstances, it is always important to take into account what options you have available as a company. We are here to help you with any concerns you might have about the differing flexibility and adaptability that each visa provides for professionals.

There are already new changes that are being considered for the H1 B Visa in 2020, and the lottery cap maximum has already been reached. To put it into more technical terms, UCIS only issues 65,000 H1-B visas per year (to all countries and all disciplines) and since 2013 they registered more than 100,000 applications the same day application opens! That means there is stiff competition for these spots, and on top of that they have rigid and limited timeframes.

Delayed Travel
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What do I mean by rigid? You can only apply for an H1-B visa on April 1st and if approved you’ll be only able to start working on October 1st. With the current conditions the 3 year terms that H1B provides might be too long for companies to commit to. As the market changes from year to year, it may be ideal to have a shorter term option available.

Another option that many of our host companies and participants reach out to us about is the O1 Visa a.k.a. the Artist visa. Given its name, one would think that it is the perfect visa for an architect. In many ways it is, but to attain this visa you have to demonstrate extraordinary abilities. Meaning you must have been nominated or a recipient of awards for excellence or demonstrate to be the Author of articles in relevant media and professional publications. We have seen a high rate of success for our J1 participants getting accepted into the O1 Visa, but only after they have made more of a presence within the industry.

Visa Passport
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The J1 Visa provides a resource that can address short term needs for companies, while also giving the J1 participant a great opportunity to learn from the best. Some of the key benefits that the J1 provides is:

  • a flexible start and flexible program length: between 3 and 18 months
  • very easy and short processing time: 4-6 weeks (standard) 2 weeks (expedited)
  • Host company is not required to pay any visa fees
  • Health insurance is covered by the participant and is mandated by the State Department

The U.S. Government Exchange J1 Visa Program can provide you with the flexibility you are looking for as a decision maker at a firm! Please contact us at Architect-US if you have any questions or concerns regarding your next move.



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