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. A J2 visitor visa is usually given to the dependents and spouses of individuals visiting the US on a J1 visa.
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
If you are visiting the US for any of these reasons, you are most likely required to have J1 visa insurance that meets certain requirements. As of May 15, 2015, new requirements have been set by the US Department of State for J1 visa holders.
What Should I Look for in a J1 Visa Insurance Plan?
The following three features are most important:
- Medical benefits
- Return of moral 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 medical insurance is important not only because it is 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, depending on the ailment. Medical care is often much more expensive in the US than in other countries, so it is imperative to have insurance to help cover the costs, otherwise you or your sponsor may be held responsible for paying the expenses out of pocket.
The unexpected can happen anytime, anywhere, so it is important to protect yourself and your sponsors by having a quality J1 visa medical insurance plan for the extent of your stay.