Which visa is appropriate?
February 18, 2005 3:42 PM   Subscribe

I have a friend who's in university in Nimes and is coming to the US for a four-week internship in August. She's been told she can come over for the four weeks on a tourist visa and doesn't need the J-1 visa because she won't be here for the two months that would require a J-1. She's asked me for help. Any MeFiers out there understand what I need to find out and who I'd ask to get the definitive word on this?
posted by alumshubby to Law & Government (5 answers total)
I don't know how official this is, but check out Question #6. Of course, it's always best to go to the source.
posted by thejimp at 3:53 PM on February 18, 2005

A family member works at a Visa center. If you don't get a definitive answer by tomorrow, I'll ask her. (She's workin' the second shift now.)
posted by sophie at 4:38 PM on February 18, 2005

Is she doing her internship at a university? They usually have offices for international students and scholars who are very well informed and are there to help with just these sorts of things. Personally, unless your friend has been told this by a US Embassy/consolate, I wouldn't risk it - an internship certainly would be considered employment/training, and that cannot be done on a tourist visa. I know I was told to make sure I crossed the border under my student visa status and not slip through as a visitor (being Canadian that can easily happen), as it could cause a great deal of trouble.
posted by jb at 8:37 PM on February 18, 2005

I understand the hesitation to go for a J-1 visa, as it takes a lot of paperwork (both from the host and visitor). As mentioned by others: if it is anything that closely resembles work versus a holiday trip, she basically has to bluff her way in at immigrations. Of course, you can risk that, but does she really want to risk being sent back and jeopardize her future entrances into the US ? I second the recommendation to check out with her host exchange/visa office.

Does she need a J-1 ? As I understand, for a J-1, the host has to prove that the visitor will be paid enough to earn a living. For e.g. a F-1 (standard student visa), the visitor has to prove that she is capable of supporting him/herself during the stay and intends to return to his/her home country. That might be easier than a J-1.
posted by swordfishtrombones at 8:57 PM on February 18, 2005

You can stay in the US for up to three months on a tourist visa - the only reasons you would need a visa of any sort for a four week trip would be either if you were travelling from a country that requires visas for US entry or if you were earning money.

As I'm pretty sure that the J-1 visa stipulates that you can not earn wages, I think the only reason for your friend to need a visa would be the former.

I would have your friend double check this with someone at his/her local American embassy (which usually provides such information over the phone in pre-recorded format. Very handy.), but I'm almost positive that he/she would not need a visa for a four week stay.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:44 AM on February 19, 2005

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