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The Internship Program allows college and university students to intern for a U.S. company. Made available through the
J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa, the Internship Program allows young people from all over the world to experience U.S. culture. In 2012, the Internship Program paired 20,000 foreign nationals with U.S. employers1. Placements range from construction sites to luxury hotels to medical labs; there are opportunities available of all kinds!
The Internship Program is a part of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa. Through 14 diverse programs, the J-1 Visa provides unique cultural exchanges between foreign countries and the U.S. Currently, there are 170,000 monthly participants in the U.S., working, studying and teaching through J-1 programs2. Some of the most popular programs are:
Learn more about the J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa here!
To qualify for the J-1 internship program:
Step 1: Apply for and be accepted into the Internship Program.
You will need to apply for and be accepted into the Internship Program before you can apply for a J-1 visa. You must find a program sponsor and apply through them. The sponsor will set you up with an internship. You will need to have a sponsor before you can apply for a J-1 visa. The program sponsor issues participants a Certificate of Eligibility which they will need in the visa application process.
Step 2: Receive a Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status and pay the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee
You will need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee of $180 USD upon receiving the Certificate of Eligibility. Be sure to print the receipt after paying this fee; you will need it at the visa interview.
Step 3: Complete Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application and submit to the U.S. Department of State.
You will need to upload a digital passport-sized photograph with this application. If you have trouble uploading the photograph, you can bring one to the visa interview.
Be sure to print the confirmation page after completing the application; you will need it at the visa interview.
Step 4: Pay the visa application fee.
The fee is $160.00 USD.
Step 5: Schedule an interview with a U.S. embassy or consulate in the country where you live.
Step 6: Collect required documents for your visa interview.
You will be required to bring the following documents to your visa interview:
The U.S. embassy or consulate where your interview will take place may request you provide additional documentation, such as evidence of:
Step 7: Attend the visa interview.
The visa interview will take place at the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country where you live. You will be interviewed by a consular officer who will determine if you are qualified to receive a visa. He or she will review your documentation and visa application, ask you questions about your personal history and the reason for your trip to the U.S.
If the consular officer approves you for a visa, he or she will take your passport and have a visa placed in it. When your passport with visa is ready, you will be notified to pick it up or it will be sent to you.
The consular officer should return Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility to you. You will need this to enter the U.S.
In most cases, you will also have biometrics (fingerprint, photograph and signature) taken during, before or after your interview.
Step 8: Pay the visa reciprocity fee.
Depending on your nationality, you may have to pay a visa issuance fee if your visa is approved.
The Internship Program offers internships in the following fields:
Yes. Only after you've been accepted into Internship Program and placed in an internship with a U.S. employer, will you be able to apply for a visa and travel to the U.S.
With a J-1 visa, you can arrive in the U.S. up to 30 days before the start of your program. If you wish to travel in the U.S. more than 30 days before the start of your program, you must obtain a visitor visa. However, this is discouraged as you will have to adjust your status and if there is a delay, you may miss the start of your program.
The maximum duration of the Internship Program is 12 months.
Internship programs are full-time, a minimum of 32 hours of work per week.
J-1 participants should contact their designated program officer to extend their status. Generally, extensions are not granted if it means the participant will stay in the U.S. beyond program's maximum length (12 months).
Along with abiding all federal state and local employment laws, your employer must ensure that you obtain skills and knowledge related to the field of your training.
If you withdraw are terminated your program, you must notify your program sponsor immediately. Your sponsor will enter this information into SEVIS and you are expected to depart the country immediately.
Yes! The J-2 visa is available for family members of J-1 visa holders participating in the Internship Program. The spouses and children of J-1 interns may accompany them to the U.S. on the J-2 visas. They are even permitted to work during their stay by applying for an Employment Authorization Document, commonly known as a work permit.
The other J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa programs are:
1 retrieved Oct. 18, 2012, http://j1visa.state.gov/basics/facts-and-figures/2 retrieved Oct. 14, 2013, http://j1visa.state.gov/basics/facts-and-figures/