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I am requesting a US J-1 visa as a exchange visitor for the time of 1 year. I have a fellowship in my home country that will pay me for the time I will be in the US. As part of the application, I am being asked for financial documents that proves I will have enough money to live in the US during my stay. They describe the documents requirements as

Home Government Funds and *Other Organization Funds. Certificate or letter (signed and on letterhead) from funding organization required

  • Date of issue
    • Document must be no more than three months old.
  • Scholar’s name
  • Amount of funding
    • Amount need not be listed in U.S. dollars, but type of currency must be clear.
  • Duration of funding, or confirmation that funding will be provided throughout scholar’s stay at the University of Illinois
    • If specific validity dates are listed in letter, program dates must fall within that time frame, or additional funding documentation will be required

The problem is: They give me a document which contains all the above information, but it is not signed (but it is on letterhead). And they are not being cooperative in giving me a signed document. To make matters worse, I am running out of time, since the start of the fellowship is by the end of next January.

Giving the issue, I am thinking about workarounds. My wife (who will be travelling with me in a J-2 visa) will be keeping her job in our home country as she works remotely. Her salary is bigger than the minimum they request for "personal sponsors". She also has a letter from her company (in English) stating her annual salary.

The question: since she will be travelling with me, would such letter be acceptable as a proof that we have the necessary money to live in the US? I am afraid of looking as she wants to illegally "work in the US" - which would not be the case, since the company she is working for would be in our home country. Of course, I would also include a notarized letter signed by her stating that she is regularly employed in our home country, that her work is remote and that she would be responsible for financing our stay.

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    This site is for short term travel, such as vacations. We have a site called Expatriates where you can ask about living, working and studying in another country. Oct 31, 2022 at 20:03
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    @DJClayworth Oh. I am sorry. I didn't know about it. Maybe this question should be locked or transferred to it. I don't know how to proceed.
    – WilhelmM
    Nov 1, 2022 at 2:28
  • We can get a moderator to migrate it. Nov 1, 2022 at 13:20

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Prior to the bug, you prepared as well as you can to turn in all the relevant documents you have during the interview in the embassy where you equally hand over your passport.*

Then, the U.S. Department of State (DoS) runs all sorts of checks deemed necessary to complement the information provided by you. This includes getting in touch with your university (in case you stay enrolled there)/former university (in case you embark for a postdoc) and the funding agency and the university you are going to (the letter of invitation by the PI you turn in is part of it). During this purgatory, let them do their work. Yes, it may take some time to process (check with the typical Visa Appointment Wait Times published), and in case of being a foreigner in your current country of residence you should not cross a border, etc.

Eventually, either

  • every thing is fine, and you get your passport including the sticker (though the sticker per sé is less important, than all the documentation in the DoS' databases invisible to you); or
  • the embassy sends you a note about documents missing/incomplete; or
  • provision of the visa is denied.

Assuming the best case and subsequently traveling to the U.S.A. for example by air plane, you still have to pass the officer of Custom Border Agency. He/She is going to ask you about the purpose of your intended stay (regardless of your hosting school), already on ground that you might not have (yet) a determined date and ticket to leave the U.S.A. with you. Just answer the questions truthfully. He/She still may deny your entry; however thanks to the visa issued (i.e., the previous background check on you) you may appeal against this decision and seek assistance by a lawyer.

It is laudable your partner files for a J-2 visa to share this period of time with you on site. Note, however, this category is for spouses of the holder of the principal J-1 visa and those dependent to him/to her (e.g., your children). In case the DoS denies your petition for a J-1 visa, subsequent petition(s) for J-2 visa fall flat.

*) Not only the identity card. The passport must be valid at least including the period you intend to stay in the US + some buffer time in addition.

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