- Can the GACC California also be a partner for other visa types besides J-1 visa?
The GACC California is primarily focused on handling DS-2019 forms, which is the key document for J-1 visa applications. However, we have knowledge and resources to support other visa requests, such as B-1, L-1 or E-1. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further details or questions you may have.
- Can the GACC California guarantee that I will receive my DS-2019?
No, there is no organization that can provide you with such a guarantee. The success of your DS-2019 request depends on whether your selected internship or training host organization and yourself are suitable for the J-1 visa, and whether all necessary information is submitted in time. Visa agencies issuing the DS-2019 must act strictly in accordance with the criteria and guidelines provided by the U.S. Department of State. Reasons for a DS-2019 rejection vary greatly. Possible reasons may be: Your selected company does not cooperate with the visa agency; your internship/training mission is not relevant to your studies; you seem to have insufficient funds to pay for your stay in the U.S.; it appears you do not intend to go back to your home country after you completed your internship/training with the U.S. company.
- Do I really need a visa to perform an internship in the U.S.?
Yes. You need a valid J-1 visa covering the entire period of your internship or training in the US. The J-1 visa allows you to legally participate as well as to reside in the U.S. for the duration of your internship/training. Without the J-1 visa you cannot enter in the USA and cannot start your internship.
Please be aware that the J-1 visa is tied to a specific host organization and can only be issued for one explicit, previously approved internship or training. Once you are in the U.S., you can only change your host company or make adjustments to your internship or training length under very limited circumstances, and only after approval.
- How should I compare various visa agencies services?
Comparing various visa agencies and their services is always worthwhile. However, don’t compare by price alone!
While one service can appear to be a great deal, the important factors to a successful visa application are often in the small details of a company’s services. Most of the time a customer will only realize this once they have already chosen the service and by then it is already too late and your visa application may suffer. Here is a list of things to consider in deciding upon the right service for you:
- How qualified and experienced is the company providing the visa application service?
- What will the total cost over the entire application be?
- How long will the entire visa application process take from beginning to end?
- How much help will you receive in filling out the necessary forms, e.g. will your host organization receive the relevant support and assistance in understanding the U.S. State Department rules and regulations?
- Is insurance purchase through the visa agency optional or mandatory, or can you choose your own insurance? What are the terms of the insurance? How high are the deductibles?
- How many documents and forms will you have to gather and complete? How bureaucratic is the program, e.g. how many letters of references will you need?
- How many stipulations and requirements are to be fulfilled to participate in the program? For example, do you have to be a full-time student, can you participate after having only completed 2 semesters at a university, etc?
- Is it possible for my spouse/children to accompany me to the U.S. during my internship/training?
Yes, generally it is possible for your spouse and/or your children (under the age of 21) to accompany you. Each relative needs to apply for and be granted a J-2 visa in order to be able to do so. We will gladly assist you in completing such an application.
- What does “have a sponsor” mean?
The U.S. authorities are outsourcing most of the visa procedure in the J-1 visa program to designated organizations, hereby authorizing them to act as legal sponsors during your internship/training. Sponsors are responsible for reviewing and processing your J-1 visa request. You cannot apply for a J-1 visa without having such a designated sponsor.
With our visa application program, we will support and assist you throughout your J-1 visa application. Our visa agency partners, U.S. State Department designated sponsors, will review your application documents according to U.S. State Department rules and regulations. If your application and your internship/training offer meet all of the outlined requirements, your designated sponsor will approve your application and issue you a form called “DS-2019". Legal sponsors are the only institutions allowed to grant a DS-2019 form. With this form you may then schedule your interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate to request a J-1 visa.
The process of applying for a J-1 visa is always as follows: First, secure an internship or a training placement, then, apply for your DS-2019 with a designed sponsor, and finally, apply for a J-1 visa with the U.S. embassy or consulate.
- When should I begin applying for my J-1 visa?
Our experience has proven that from program registration to receipt of the DS-2019 form, the application process can generally be completed within 4 weeks in our PREMIUM Service and 8 weeks in our SELF Service. In order to avoid delays in your internship or training start date, we therefore strongly suggest to begin the application process as early as possible to allow sufficient time for your U.S. embassy interview, processing of your visa, as well as travel logistics.