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J-1 work visas allow students to work in the US during summers

While it is months away, it is never too early to think about summer plans, especially if those plans include traveling to the United States. For many college students in other countries, coming to Louisiana for summer employment is an opportunity to broaden their horizons while earning money to continue their educations or support their families. However, the first step toward that goal is to obtain a J-1 visa for summer work travel. The complex process for these work visas may take weeks to months to complete.

To be eligible for a J-1 visa, a student must be able to speak English well enough to function in situations where English is the primary language. Additionally, the student must have completed one or more semesters of study and be working towards a degree at an accredited institution in his or her own country. Having a job offer prior to applying is a requirement for applicants from many countries, but the U.S. waives that requirement for some countries, such as the United Kingdom.

There are numerous limitations on what a student with a J-1 visa can do while in the U.S., including the amount of time he or she can remain in the country. Most jobs held by students under the J-1 visa are in the service industry, such as hotels, amusement parks and restaurants, but some may find more skilled positions. Students have rights, too, such as receiving fair pay for their work.

The process for obtaining J-1 work visas can be complicated and confusing. As with many aspects of immigration, any mistakes, missing documentation or missed deadlines may mean delays or rejections for applicants. For a summer program, a delay may mean waiting an entire year for the chance to work in the United States. This is why it is recommended that those pursing any kind of visa to come to Louisiana seek the assistance of an attorney whose practice is dedicated to helping people obtain the appropriate status for their immigration goals.

Source:, "Summer Work Travel Program: J-1 Visa", Accessed on Feb. 21, 2018

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