What is J1 visa grace period?

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If you read through any Department of State publications on J1 exchange programs, you’ll soon come across a term called the “grace period”. So what does the J1 visa grace period mean? And, most importantly, is it good or bad news for the international intern?

Here is a question commonly asked by J1 visa holders:grace period joke

How long can I remain in the United States after my program ends?

The Department of State answers answers it with the following:

Upon completion of your exchange program, you have a grace period of 30 days to depart the United States.

Here it is again, the grace period. What is it? First of all, let us say that a grace period is not only good news, it’s fantastic news for international interns as a grace period is basically your reward for successfully completing your visa program, a small “thank you” from the State Department for following through with your exchange program. To sum up,

Grace period allows you to remain in the United States for 30 days after the completion of your J1 visa program and for 60 days after the completion of your F1 visa or OPT training, if you chose to do your OPT.

Turns out, grace period is a wonderful thing, a chance to stay in the United States a little bit longer, but most importantly, to see more of this beautiful country. Not sure where to go? Get in touch, and we’ll be glad to recommend beautiful nature spots and cities for your US adventure. To start dreaming about your grace period dream, visit our Pinterest board dedicated to beautiful places in the United States.

Things to note

Here are some important things to note as you plan your grace period

  • You must, must, must depart the Untied States before your grace period expires, or else you may have trouble with your future US visa applications.
  • Your are not legally authorized to work in the United States during your grace period. Your work authorization expires when your J1/OPT program expires.
  • Don’t forget to remind your training supervisor to send your final performance evaluation to your J1 visa sponsor.
  • You may not apply for extension of your J1/F1 program during the grace period – you need to do it ahead of time, at least 3 months before your program end date.
  • You may not study during the grace period. Once the grace period starts, you basically have the same privileges as a US tourist visa holder.
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International education will change the world! J1 visas, F1 visas, OPT - been there, done that. Worked for a J1 sponsor, owned a technology business. Trail runner. Love search engines and Soviet history. Have a question about internship programs? Let's connect!


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