In this article, we have outlined a few of the key points that all hospitality professionals must be aware of the J-1 visa. We have provided a quick J-1 visa checklist for all hospitality industry professionals. We have also included some common queries which you might have about the J-1 visa.
It’s important to note that J-1 Visa for Hotel industry professionals allows you to stay up to 12 months. More importantly, you cannot change the employer once you’re in the US.
The US hospitality industry is an extremely attractive market for all those looking for a great career in the hospitality industry. A majority of the organizations in the global top 100 hospitality company list are from the USA and this increases the attractiveness of the hospitality industry of the USA.
Let’s take a look at the J-1 visa checklist now:
- Age: you must be 18+ years old to qualify for an internship program for up to 12 months.
- To be eligible as a J-1 trainee, you must be at least 20 years old.
- In order to qualify for paid hospitality and culinary internships in the USA, you must fulfil at least one of the following two requirements: (1) be enrolled in and pursuing studies at a certificate or degree-granting college or institution outside of the USA, or (2) you’ve graduated with a degree or certificate from a credible hospitality institution in the past 12 months prior to the beginning of the internship.
- In order to qualify for training in the US under J-1 visa for hotel industry professionals, you must: (1) have a professional certificate or degree from a credible academic institution outside of the US and at least 1 year of work-related experience, or (2) have at least 5 years of work experience outside of the USA if you don’t have a degree or professional certificate.
- Language: you must be fluent in English
- You must be sponsored by a visa sponsor from within the US which is officially registered. You would need to be successful in the interview and would require an offer approved by the sponsor.
- Your passport must be valid for over 6 months at the time of entry to the US.
- Form DS-160 and Form DS-2019 (original signed by the official sponsor in the US). Internship and Exchange visitors also need an additional Internship placement plan.
- Evidence of financial resources is also required at the time of application of the visa.
Here’s a quick video about the exchange visitors from the Bureau of Cultural Affairs USA.
Although, the video is over 5 years old but still captures the essential information and J-1 Visa USA Overview for the hotel management internships.
There are several myths that surround the J-1 visa process and US visas in General.
There are a lot of consultancies in various countries who claim to be sponsors of J-1 visa and this is grossly incorrect.
J1 visa Sponsors are from the US only and authorized by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Please find below a few facts that answer general queries about J1 visas
- Only authorized sponsors can provide DS-2019 (certificate by sponsor) and all of these sponsors are based in the U.S
- The application timeline is variable from country to country and depends on the time of the year and the number of applications in the queue. You can check the information about visa timelines of your country from Travel.State.Gov site.
- Many J-1 Visa category doesn’t allow you to carry your spouse or family along with you.
- In a few categories when spouse and children are allowed, they need a J-2 visa which normally doesn’t allow them to take up a job.
- You can’t arrive earlier than 30 days of the start of your programme and have to exit the USA within 30 days of completion of the programme.
- Your sponsor can extend your J-1 Visa by 12 months.
- In the worst case of termination, the employee has to leave the USA immediately.
- You are not allowed to take up any other work as a J1 visa holder.
You can get more information from the official website about the common questions on a J1 visa. Detailed information is also provided in our step by step guide on J-1 visas for hospitality professionals.
The hospitality industry in the USA is probably the biggest among all countries in the world with almost all major hospitality operators operating here. J-1 visa is a unique opportunity for the hospitality industry professionals to get an exposure to the US hospitality industry.
We have provided a quick checklist and answered some common queries on how all hospitality industry professionals can apply for J-1 visas. These are mostly suited to the fresh graduates from all across the world or ones with specialised hospitality experience and the ones with exchange programmes and collaborations.