J-1 visas are issued by the U.S. government to people taking part in academic or cultural programs sponsored by schools, businesses, organizations and institutions. Individuals are granted a J-1 exchange visitor visa if they are visiting the U.S. as an au-pair, nanny, student, scholar, trainee, teacher, professor, research assistant, medical graduate or international visitor, and participating in a program of study, training, research or in a cultural enrichment program.
J-1 visas are for people who are approved to participate in exchange visitor programs in the U.S. under provisions of U.S. immigration law. This means that before you can apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a J visa, you must first apply, meet the requirements, and be accepted for one of the Exchange Visitor Program categories through a designated sponsoring organization. If you are accepted as a participant in an exchange program, the sponsor will provide you with information and documents necessary to apply for the J-1 visa to enter the U.S.
For J-1 Visa holders, health insurance is not an option--it's a requirement. Students entering the U.S. on J-1 visas must have valid health insurance that meets certain health insurance requirements for a J1 Visa set by the Department of State/Visa Authorities. If you are applying for a U.S. visa as an exchange visitor, you may want to consider your health insurance first.