How to Travel to the United States as a High School Exchange Student

Hundreds of thousands of young people travel to the United States each year as exchange visitors, to live with an American family and attend a high school in the U.S. The main goal is that these students learn about American culture and share with their new American friends what it is like to live in a different country. Anyone can be an exchange student if they follow the requirements and acquire a J-1 visa.

What’s the Age Range for a Person to be a High School Exchange Student in the U.S

As long as you are between the ages of fifteen and eighteen when you start high school in the U.S. you can become an exchange student in the country. In order to become an exchange student you also must be in school in your home country and not have completed more than 11 years of school.

You must prove that you are mature enough, have a good moral character and are able to excel in school. One of the requirements is to show that you have health insurance that would provide minimum benefits if you became ill or got injured while in the U.S.

If you have already attended school in the U.S. with an F-1 student visa the likelihood of getting a J-1 will be impossible.

How Long is An Exchange Student Allowed to Be in the U.S

Generally, an exchange student enters the U.S. for either half the school year or for a whole year. A recipient of a J-1 visa is not allowed to stay any longer or less than is required. Your visa will permit you to travel into the U.S. thirty days before school starts and allow a thirty days grace period after school ends during which you are expected to pack up your belongings and get ready to leave.

Who are Exchange Students Allowed to Live With

Certain high schools also known as boarding schools grant you the opportunity to live at the school with other students. If you do not want to attend a boarding school, you must live with an American “host” family. The host family is carefully selected to ensure that it consists of good people who are able to take care of you.

Once you have settled in with the host family they must provide you with a bedroom and bathroom, a place to put your clothes in and other things, a place to study, all your meals and transportation to and from school. Usually, you would be the only exchange student living with the family. You are not allowed to live with your own relatives or rent an apartment or live on your own.

As an Exchange Student Am I Allowed to Play on a School Sports Team

Exchange students can play on a high school sports team, unless the local or state government has a rule that says they are not allowed to. However, if you are really good at a specific sport and want to go to a particular school to play there, you have to notify school officials of your desire to go to another school and play in a sports team there. One disadvantage with having athletic abilities is that your program sponsor is unable to help place you in a particular school.

Can an Exchange Student Work After School, on Weekends or During Vacation?

While studying at a high school as an exchange student you will not be able to work either full time or part time. But you might be able to accept money for doing odd jobs here and there that people ask you to do once in a while, for example babysitting or painting a house. Discuss this with an attorney this way you know what to do while you are in the U.S.

Seek the Advice of an Attorney

Before attempting to apply for a J-1 exchange student visa, have an immigration lawyer who knows this type of immigration application well, help you. Gambacorta Law Office and team can assist you and guide you through the process. Dial 847 433 9303 to schedule an appointment.