Each year, the J-1 Visa Program provides the incredible opportunity for almost 300,000 foreign internationals to experience life and work in the United States. There are more than 200 countries and territories in the J-1 Visa Program, including France. If you’re considering embarking on the journey of a lifetime and applying for a J-1 visa in France, this guide has all the information you need to get started. We’ll cover: 

  1. J-1 visa basics, including categories and requirements
  2. How to apply for a J-1 visa from France
  3. Required documents for your J-1 visa in France
  4. How to navigate your J-1 visa interview
  5. J-1 visa fees and timelines for French applicants

At Intrax Global Internships, we make it easier for international talent like yourself to obtain a J-1 visa and study, intern, or work in the United States. As a State Department-designated J-1 visa sponsor, we’ll support you with all the documents you need and guide you smoothly through the entire visa process. Start your J-1 visa journey here! 

J-1 Visa Basics

The J-1 Visa Program, overseen by the U.S. Department of State, is designed to promote cultural exchange by allowing U.S.-based companies to recruit internationally. It provides foreign nationals with the opportunity to participate in educational and cultural programs in the United States. 

Aimed at fostering mutual understanding and cooperation, the J-1 visa opens doors to so many different experiences, including academic pursuits and professional training. Before we dive into the specifics of J-1 visas for French nationals, here’s some background on the J-1 Visa Program.

What Does a J-1 Visa Offer?

The J-1 visa is not just a ticket to the United States; it's a key that unlocks many work opportunities. Participants in the program have the chance to experience life overseas and gain hands-on experience in their field of study or expertise, through: 

Beyond the professional development aspect, the J-1 visa allows you to immerse yourself in American culture, build international networks, and return home with a broader perspective and some incredible memories. 

J-1 Visa Categories

The J-1 visa encompasses various categories, each tailored to specific purposes and participants. Some of the most popular categories within the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program include: 

  1. Summer Work Travel Program
  2. Intern and Trainee Programs
  3. Camp Counselor Programs
  4. Professor and Research Scholar Programs

Understanding the nuances of each category is important if you’re considering applying, as it determines the type of experience that you can pursue and the eligibility criteria you must meet.

J-1 Visa Requirements

Securing a J-1 visa and work permit involves meeting specific U.S. Department of State requirements. These requirements vary based on the chosen visa category and the country you’re applying from, but commonly include: 

  • Having a J-1 visa sponsor (like Intrax Global Internships)
  • Proof of proficiency in English
  • Health insurance coverage for the duration of your stay
  • A detailed program itinerary
  • A valid passport and all other necessary travel documents
  • Good legal standing and no criminal convictions
  • Evidence of financial ability to support yourself during the stay

You might also need to provide documentation from your sponsoring organization, demonstrating their commitment to overseeing the cultural exchange experience. If it all sounds a bit confusing, don’t worry! That’s why Intrax Global Internships is here – we can help you navigate the complexities of your J-1 visa and find an opportunity in the US that suits your skills and interests. Click here to get started! 

How to Apply For a J-1 Visa From France

Obtaining a J-1 visa from France is your first step towards joining an international internship program in the United States. Here’s an overview of the initial steps of your J-1 visa application, which include finding a host company and finding a visa sponsor

Finding a Host Company

Locking in a host company is a pivotal first step of the J-1 visa application process. Whether you’re pursuing a U.S. internship for international students or a training opportunity, your host company employs you throughout your time in the United States. It’s important to find a job with a host company before finding a J-1 program sponsor

At Intrax Global Internships, we can help you find a position in a company that matches your skills, interests, and goals. If you’re looking for an internship, you can use our internship database to search for available positions, and apply to those that interest you once you’ve set up your Intrax Global Internships account. 

We have jobs across a range of different categories and industries, including hospitality and tourism, sales, business and accounting, arts and culture, engineering, and more! 

Visa Sponsorship

The second step in obtaining your J-1 visa from France is finding a visa sponsor. In a majority of cases, the visa sponsor is not the same as the host company that employs you while you’re working in the United States. While some large companies do manage their own J-1 visa programs and act as sponsors, a majority outsource this to companies that specialize in visa sponsorship and international hiring, like Intrax Global Internships.

This outsourcing benefits everyone, as companies don’t need to become overly familiar with the legal intricacies of the J-1 visa process, and applicants can navigate the tricky application process with the help of an expert team. 

Applying With Intrax Global Internships

Intrax Global Internships is an experienced sponsor organization for J-1 applicants from all over the world. We’ve made the application process as simple as possible – just start your Intrax application here and our teams will handle everything behind the scenes. 

When you apply with Intrax Global Internships, you’ll find multiple program benefits, including: 

  • Fast processing, with DS-2019s issued within two weeks of payment 
  • Easy correspondence and online document submission
  • Affordable fees and no extra charge for time spent in the US before or after your program
  • Straightforward communication and support for both you and your host company

With more than 20 years of experience, we’re the perfect partner to put everything in place for a smooth transition to your incredible experience overseas. 

Required Documents For Your J-1 Visa in France 

Navigating the documentation and paperwork involved in obtaining a J-1 visa from France is one of the most challenging aspects of acquiring your visa and position in the United States. Although the required forms vary depending on the category of J-1 visa you’re applying for, there are three main visa documents you should become familiar with: 

  1. DS-2019
  2. DS-160
  3. DS-7002

Next, we’ll outline what you need to know about each of these forms, and why they are required. 

DS-2019

The DS-2019 Form is also known as the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status. Issued by the sponsoring organization, this form outlines the details of the exchange program, including the participant's information, program start and end dates, and a brief summary of the internship program information

Prospective J-1 visa applicants in France will receive the DS-2019 Form from their sponsoring organization, and it must be presented during the visa application process. This document serves as proof that the participant is eligible for the J-1 visa category specified in the form.

DS-160

The DS-160 Form is a comprehensive online application that must be completed by all J-1 visa applicants. This form collects biographical information, travel history, and details about the purpose of the visit. You’re also required to upload a passport-sized photo as part of the DS-160 submission. 

Once completed, the form generates a confirmation barcode, which is crucial for scheduling your visa interview. Make sure you take the time to properly review and verify all information entered on the DS-160 Form before you submit it, as any discrepancies may result in delays or complications during the visa application process.

DS-7002

The DS-7002 Form, also known as the Training/Internship Placement Plan, is specific to certain J-1 visa categories,  international intern and trainee programs. This document outlines the details of your training or internship, including the goals and daily activities. 

The DS-7002 Form must be completed and signed by both the participant and the host company, to show that everyone’s on the same page. This form provides crucial information to the U.S. Department of State and confirms that the cultural exchange aligns with the objectives of the J-1 visa program.

Once you submit the relevant information and provide us with all the necessary information through our online portal, Intrax Global Internships can prepare your DS-2019 and DS-7002. We file these forms as quickly as possible, and can issue your DS-2019 within two weeks of receiving all completed application documents, conducting a phone interview with you and the host company, and receiving your payment.

A Note on J-1 Visa Interviews in France

Once your paperwork is filed and you receive your DS-2019, you’ll need to schedule your visa interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in France. Let’s take a closer look at the J-1 interview, including: 

  • How to prepare
  • What to bring
  • What to expect
  • Where to find embassies and consulates 

The J-1 visa interview is a crucial step in the application process, serving as an opportunity for the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to assess your eligibility and intentions. 

How to Prepare for Your J-1 Visa Interview

Preparation is key when facing a J-1 visa interview. Start by thoroughly reviewing your application documents, including the DS-2019 Form and DS-160 Form. Familiarize yourself with the details of your international program, whether it’s an international internship for college students, study experience, or job, and be prepared to articulate your goals and intentions during your time in the United States.

Take a look at some common J-1 visa interview questions and practice your responses. Make sure you can explain how you’ll finance yourself while in the United States, what makes you qualified for this opportunity, and how this experience fits into your greater career goals. Be professional, friendly, confident, and honest during the interview. 

What to Bring to a J-1 Visa Interview in France

Arriving at the J-1 visa interview with the necessary documents is crucial for a smooth process. Make sure you bring: 

  • A printed copy of your DS-160 confirmation page
  • The photograph you submitted with your DS-160
  • The DS-2019 issued by your sponsoring organization
  • Your DS-7002 (if applicable)
  • Your valid passport
  • SEVIS fee payment receipt

Just to be on the safe side, you might also like to bring your interview confirmation, your academic transcript or diploma, an up-to-date resume, and evidence of financial ability to support yourself during your stay in the United States. You may not need any of those, but they’re good for added peace of mind! 

What to Expect at a J-1 Visa Interview

The J-1 visa interview is a brief but critical meeting with a consular officer. Expect questions related to your internship visa, intentions in the United States, and ties to France. The consular officer will assess whether your participation in the J-1 program aligns with the visa category and if you are likely to return to France upon completion of the program.

U.S. Embassies and Consulates in France

Currently, all J-1 visa applicants in France must do their visa interview at the U.S. Embassy in Paris. While there are U.S. Consulates around the country (including in Bordeaux, Lyon, Rennes, Toulouse, Marseille, and Strasbourg), interviews are currently only being held at the embassy in Paris. Find all the details here

J-1 Visa Program Fees for French Applicants

A majority of J-1 visa applicants from France are required to pay the $185 visa application processing fee. If your visa is sponsored by certain U.S. government agencies, the fee may be waived, but it’s necessary for almost all other visa applicants. Applicants from certain countries are also required to pay visa issuance or “reciprocal fees,” but French applicants are exempt from this. 

The other main fee to be aware of is the $220 I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee. This covers the cost of an online database that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and designated sponsor organizations use to keep track of temporary visitors to the United States. If Intrax Global Internships is your visa sponsor, you don’t need to worry about paying the SEVIS fee – it’s included in our program fees. 

J-1 Visa France Timelines

In general, visa processing times are known to be lengthy. While the J-1 visa is actually one of the fastest, there are still a few different steps involved that can slow down the process. If you’re applying from France, your application process and J-1 visa processing timeline will look a bit like this: 

Step 1: Gather Documents and Submit DS-2019

As we outlined earlier, the first thing you need is your DS-2019. Before Intrax Global Internships can issue your DS-2019, you’ll need to: 

  • Submit all required J-1 visa documents
  • Complete and submit a training placement plan with your host company 
  • Pay all the required fees for your program
  • Confirm your placement with your host company

Once you’ve completed those steps, we can process and mail your DS-2019 to your home. Our processing times are typically two weeks, but it will also take you some time to gather the necessary information and complete your training placement plan first. So, this first step of obtaining your DS-2019 can take around a month. 

Step 2: Your Visa Interview

Once you have your DS-2019, you can complete your DS-160 and schedule your interview. Interview wait times vary significantly between and even within countries. The current wait time for a J-1 visa interview at the U.S. Embassy in Paris is 10 days, but this can change based on staffing, appointment cancellations, and general demand. View estimated wait times here. In general, though, prepare to wait up to several weeks for your interview in Paris. 

Step 3: Visa Processing (How to Track Your France J-1 Visa Progress)

Once you complete your J-1 visa interview, the process is out of your hands. The Embassy staff may be able to provide you with an estimate of their processing times – don’t be afraid to ask them! Some embassies approve your visa on the spot, handing your passport back to you. However, others take your passport and mail it back with your visa, a process that may take several weeks. 

Timelines vary for a J-1 visa in France, but in general, it can take 2-4 weeks to obtain your DS-2019, 2-4 weeks to book your interview, and another 2-4 weeks for visa processing. A safe estimate is that you can expect your J-1 visa application in France to take 6-12 weeks from start to finish. Then, it’s finally time to join your international internship program!

Secure Your J-1 Visa From France With Intrax Global Internships

A J-1 visa unlocks the incredible chance to train or study in the United States. You’ll develop valuable new skills to aid in your professional development, and return to France with new connections, new experiences, and a new global perspective. Now is the time to seize this unique opportunity!

At Intrax Global Internships, our mission is to connect international talent (you!) with experiences in the United States that benefit both you and the company you’re working for. We simplify the J-1 visa application process and help you land the opportunity of a lifetime in the United States. 

Ready to get started? Apply here to begin your journey and discover what you can achieve with some help from Intrax Global Internships!

Posted 
Mar 6, 2024
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