A Comparison of J-1 Visa Sponsors: Choose the Best One!

What is a J-1 Visa Sponsor?

The J-1 sponsors are private organizations certified by the US Department of State that verify J-1 applications and issue SEVIS numbers and DS2019.

Your J-1 sponsor is not your U.S. employer. It also may not be the agency with the one you will work with for applying for your J-1. And your J-1 sponsor will not pay for your visa fees. On the contrary, they will need to get paid to do their job: issue your SEVIS number and your DS2019.

The sponsor organizations closely work with J-1 sponsor agencies across the world. And the agencies work personally and directly with candidates and host entities to constitute their J-1 visa application files and submit them to the J-1 sponsor. The sponsor organization will charge the J-1 agency, which will charge the candidate or the host entity for the entire visa-filling services.

The agency will assist you and the company through the entire J1 process, help you and the company collect your documents, constitute your file, write your DS7002, collect signatures, establish additional documents to strengthen your file if needed, submit your file to the certified sponsor, deal with the sponsor about your file till you get your SEVIS number and DS2019, assist your with the DS160 completion and appointment making at the US embassy, help you prepare your interview at the U.S. embassy, and give you guidance on pre-departure and arrival. The agency is your point of contact for your entire J-1 process.

How do I Find a J-1 Agency?

You can find yourself in two situations:

  1. The company has hosted J-1 holders in the past, they already work with a sponsor agency, and they pay for your visa. In this case, you may not have any other choice but to choose that sponsor.
  2. The host company doesn’t have any preference and leaves you the option of which sponsor to choose. We, USponsorMe Exchange, are a J-1 agency and can sponsor you for your J-1!

In the first case, depending on your relationship with the company, you can either accept the sponsor or try to negotiate for a different one. As we will explain below, many sponsors offer the same services but with different prices and varying parameters.

When Should I Find My Sponsor?

You must get an employment letter from a US-based company in order to be sponsored for a J-1. Some J-1 agencies like us also offer placement services, meaning they will find you a J1 opportunity for a fee. At USponsorMe Exchange, we offer placement free of charge. In that case, you’ll need to contact us as soon as you are ready to start your American project. Check our J-1 open jobs, and apply (you will need to create a USponsorMe account).

In that case, the J-1 placement agencies will work on adjusting your resume for the market, find you opportunities, present your profile to the companies, prepare you for job interviews, arrange interviews between you and the company, and follow up with companies.

If you prefer finding a J1 opportunity on your own and only use the agency for filing your J-1 visa, you will need to get in touch with us only once you get an employment letter from a U.S. company.

J1 Visa Sponsor Agencies Comparison Chart for the Trainee Program

To help you, we have collected the three best-known sponsors for the J1 trainee visa, and we compare the three most important pieces of information you need to collect from them: pricing, processing time, and if they allow you to transfer your J-1 to another host company if needed.

J1 Sponsor AgencyRegistration Fee in USD*Placement Fee in USD*Visa & Health Insurance Fee in USD*Total Price
USponsorMe Exchange$190Free of charge$4,876$5,066
Placement International$590$555$4,540 $5,685
The North West Passage$0$995$3,200$4,195

* This is the price for the 18 month-program and does not include the embassy appointment, on-site visit to the company, fast application process (if needed), and all personal expenses (plane, living, etc.).

You have to keep in mind that these prices are changing regularly. The prices mentioned here are valid in January 2020 but are subject to change.

We work with several sponsors, apply for our J1 program.

How to Choose My J1 Sponsor?

If you have the freedom to choose which sponsor best suits your needs and your budget, it’s very important you thoroughly investigate each one and choose wisely. You should focus on three primary elements: pricing, processing time, and J-1 transfer allowance. Your sponsor will be one of your privileged contacts for the duration of your time in the US.

Regarding the pricing, also check with the sponsor organization for what services are included in their price. It’s very important to understand the price details since you will have to pay mandatory fees to apply for the J-1 regardless.

So make sure you are aware of these details because choosing a cheaper sponsor can actually result in paying more, like when their service fees exclude a lot of mandatory fees. Check here to see what the J-1 fees are in detail.

To do this, prepare a list of questions and write down all details about your case. Then call various J-1 sponsors so that you can see different prices, but also, most importantly, what services and fees are included in their price. The sponsor must be willing to clearly answer your questions. If you feel the representative is just trying to rush you to pay, take the time to call another sponsor and compare notes before making a decision.

Is it Mandatory to Have a Sponsor?

It is obligatory for you as a candidate to have a sponsor: you cannot directly deal with the company yourself. The sponsor can help you through the administrative process before you arrive in the United States, provide assistance during your time in the country, and ensure you finish the process correctly.

It is also an obligation for the company to collaborate with the sponsor. They have to respect a certain number of rules regarding the work environment and the employment of foreigners.

Your Sponsor is at Your Side Every Step of the Way

After you get your visa, your J-1 sponsor will be with you from the beginning to the end of the program.

Before You Arrive in the USA

Before you leave for the United States, your sponsor will provide you with a file called DS 2019 (used for both interns and trainees), which means you have been officially approved for a J-1 sponsorship.

For this, the sponsor will ask you to provide a list of documents. They will also conduct an interview to determine if your profile fits the job position and the specifics of the J-1.

When You Arrive in the USA

After you obtain your visa and once you arrive, you must send to your sponsor your travel validation I94, US mailing address, US phone number, and Social Security Number.

During Your J-1 Program

After that, if you have any questions or concerns regarding your program, you have to contact your sponsor. If you wish to travel inside or outside the United States, you have to fill out a form with information about the trip and send it to your sponsor for validation. This is very important: do not book any plane tickets or hotel reservations before you have the sponsor’s approval. You can’t leave if you don’t have approval.

The sponsor will conduct an evaluation halfway through the program with you and your company.

At the End of Your Program

At the end of your J-1 program, your sponsor will make sure you leave the territory legally by providing the necessary documents.

In Conclusion

As we explained before, choosing the best J-1 sponsor for yourself requires research. Focus on getting a sponsor that fits your expectations. You should get in touch with several sponsors, talk with them, ask for quotes, and go online to look at their reviews.

What are the criteria that concern you the most when choosing your sponsor? Share your answer in the comments below!

4 thoughts on “A Comparison of J-1 Visa Sponsors: Choose the Best One!”

    1. Sarah Papasodaro

      Hi Wilda,
      To get an employment letter, there are several options. You can apply for jobs, or distribute your resume, or use your network.
      We provide a job board that list jobs with visa sponsorship for you to apply, and we provide a list of sponsor companies for you to distribute your resume. Here you have: https://app.usponsorme.com/dashboard


    How do I apply and get a biology teacher job in US ? With visa sponsorship?
    Am a Kenyan teacher with 9 years of teaching experience

    1. Alfhie Agbayani

      Hi Joyce, Thanks for reaching out! We specialize in helping international candidates find jobs in the US and secure visa sponsorship. If you’re interested, please complete your USponsorMe resume at https://app.usponsorme.com/myprofile. This will allow US-based employers to contact you and enable us to notify you when a suitable job opening arises.

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