The United States government issues a J1 exchange visitor visa to people taking part in academic, work-based or cultural exchange programs sponsored by schools, businesses, organizations and institutions. If you're coming to the U.S. on one of these visas, you'll definitely want to purchase medical insurance for J1 visas.
Who Needs J1 Visa Health Insurance?
The following is a list of the most common J1 visa holders:
- College and university students
- Camp counselors
- Au pairs
- Interns and trainees
- Government visitors
- Educators and research scholars
Whether you're visiting the U.S. to work or are looking for J1 student health insurance to cover you while you're studying in the United States, you are most likely required to have health insurance for J1 visa that meets certain requirements.
What Should I Look for in a J1 Visa Insurance Plan?
The following three features are most important:
- Medical benefits
- Return of mortal remains coverage
- Medical evacuation coverage
Individual sponsorship programs may have other specific insurance requirements, so be sure to check with your sponsor before purchasing a plan. J1 visa holders are also required to provide adequate proof of insurance that meets these requirements. If J1 or J2 visa holders fail to meet the necessary medical insurance requirements, it may be grounds for termination from the exchange program.
Why it Matters
Having J1 visa insurance for the U.S. is important not only because it's required for the immigration process, but also because if you become sick, get injured or are involved in an accident, the subsequent medical bills could cost up to hundreds of thousands of dollars without insurance. Medical care is often much more expensive in the U.S. than in other countries, so it's imperative to have insurance to help cover the costs.
If you don't have adequate insurance, you or your sponsor may be held responsible for paying the expense out of pocket. This becomes even more an issue if you were to come to the U.S. as an au pair, since your sponsor would be a family and not a business. In this instance, you'd definitely want health insurance for au-pair work.
The unexpected can happen anytime and anywhere, so it's important to protect yourself and your sponsors by having a quality J1 visa medical insurance plan for the extent of your stay.