I completed my PhD in June 2020 and recently received a postdoc offer and all the documents to start in the US. I am now completing my application for a J1 visa.

In the "current employer" section of the DS-160 form, should I write "not employed" since I am not currently working (since last year)? When asked to explain, what should I say?

Should I explain that I couldn't find a job after graduation due to the Covid-19 pandemic and how it affects my chances of obtaining a J1 visa for the postdoc?

1 Answer 1


You must complete the form truthfully. At the time you're completing the form — now — you are not employed because your postdoc has not yet begun. Therefore, the correct response is "not employed."

If you think the examiner may wonder why an unemployed person is seeking a J1 visa, then add that you couldn't find a job after graduation because of Covid19, but have now been offered a postdoc. That statement is also true.

Whether this will affect the examiner's decision is only knowable by filing the application to see if it is granted. In any event, however, you must state only true things in your application.

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