How to Obtain a Tourist Visa After J1 Visa

If you’re someone who’s been a J1 visa holder and wants to head back to the US for a vacation, you are going to need a tourist visa. The process of obtaining a tourist visa after a J1 visa, however, can be challenging, especially if you don’t know where to start.

Don’t worry! In this article, we’ll walk you through everything that you need to know about the tourist visa application process.

Key Takeaways

  • A J1 visa holder can switch to a tourist visa status to re-enter the US for a vacation.
  • The application process can take some time, so it’s important to plan ahead.
  • You may need to show proof of ties to your home country to qualify for a tourist visa after a J1 visa.

1. Determine if You Are Eligible

First things first: determine if you’re eligible to apply for a tourist visa.

As a J1 visa holder, you can apply for a tourist visa after your program lasts provided you meet the eligibility requirements. This tourist visa may be used to visit the US for leisure or other personal reasons.

2. Prepare Your Documents

If you’re eligible, prepare the following documents before beginning your application:

  • A valid passport.
  • A digital photograph that follows photo requirements.
  • The current DS-160 application form.
  • The J1 visa holder will also have to provide a copy of their DS-2019 form, which is the certificate of eligibility for the J1 visa.
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3. Schedule an Interview

After submitting the DS-160 form and gathering all the required documents, you’ll have to schedule an interview with the US embassy or consulate in your home country.

It’s crucial to do this as soon as possible as the wait times for an interview slot vary widely depending on your location.

4. Attend the Interview

At the interview, the consular officer will ask about the purpose of your visit and will verify that you have a residence outside of the US that you do not intend to abandon.

Be prepared to provide evidence such as employment documents, property deeds, or family ties to your home country.

5. Receive Your Visa

If your application is successful, you will receive your visa by mail. Visa processing times vary and can take several weeks or months, hence, it’s important to plan ahead.

Common Difficulties Faced

One of the biggest challenges faced by J1 visa holders when applying for a tourist visa is proving strong ties to their home country. As a J1 visa holder, you are considered a temporary visitor in the US, and the consular officer may want to be sure you will return to your country of origin after your trip.

Therefore, it’s important to bring robust evidence that you have a residence in your home country and that you’re not planning to stay in the US forever.


Obtaining a tourist visa after a J1 visa doesn’t have to be a daunting process if you know what steps to take. Follow the steps above and you’ll be on your way to returning to the US for an exciting vacation.

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Q1. How long does the visa processing take?

A: Visa processing times are subjective and can range from a few weeks to several months. It’s best to plan your trip way ahead of the desired travel date.

Q2. Can I apply for a tourist visa while I’m still in the US on a J1 visa?

A: No. You must return to your home country and then apply for the tourist visa.

Q3. What happens if my application is denied?

A: If your application is denied, you may reapply anytime, but additional documentation may be required.

About the Author

Latasha W. Bolt

Latasha is a travel writer based in Atlanta, Georgia. She has a degree in journalism and has been traveling the world since she was a teenager. Latasha is experienced in navigating the visa and passport application process and shares her knowledge and experiences on the blog. Her articles are personal and engaging, providing readers with a unique perspective on the joys and challenges of international travel.

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