USA: Eligibility - How to Become a Trainee or Intern

How to Become a Trainee or Intern with International Internships LLC


Step 1: Understanding Sponsorship 

If you are a foreign national and wish to enter the U.S. to participate in a J-1 training or internship program, you must be accepted by a Department of State-designated organization that helps ensure that you and your proposed program satisfy all requirements. Only U.S. Department of State-designated sponsors like INTERNATIONAL INTERNSHIPS LLC's visa office are authorized to issue and send to you the DS2019 and DS-7002 forms necessary to obtain the J-1 Visa.

Step 2: Understanding the J-1 Trainee/Intern Program 

The purpose of the J-1 Trainee/Internship Program is to provide international participants with opportunities for professional development, insight into American know-how in the field of training, and a greater understanding of American society and culture. Trainees and Interns are expected to share the cross-cultural and professional knowledge they have gained in the U.S. upon returning to their home country at the end of their programs. The J-1 Program is also intended to allow Americans to learn about the culture and expertise of the participant's home country. 

Note: Using the J-1 Visa Program to immigrate into the U.S. and/or to fill the position of a regular staff member is strictly prohibited by U.S. Department of State regulations. 

Step 3: J-1 Trainee and Intern Eligibility 
To be eligible for Sponsorship on the J-1 Trainee/Intern Visa, you must:
  • Have INTERNATIONAL INTERNSHIPS LLC secure you a placement in the USA
  • OR secure a placement on your own


  • Apply as an "Intern" if you are foreign national who (1) is currently enrolled in and pursuing studies at a degree-or certificate-granting post-secondary academic institution outside of the United States or (2) graduated from such an institution no more than 12 months prior to the program begin date, and intend to enter the United States to participate in a structured and guided work-based internship program in your specific academic field.
  • Apply as a "Trainee" if you are a foreign national who has either: (1) A degree or professional certificate from a foreign post-secondary academic institution and at least one year of prior related work experience in your occupational field acquired outside the United States, or (2) Five years of work experience outside the United States in your occupational field, and intend to enter the United States to participate in a structured and guided work-based training program in your specific occupational field.
  • Be between the ages of 18 and 38
  • Know English well enough to perform successfully in the proposed traineeship/intern position. 
  • Plan to leave the U.S. within 30 days after completion of your program. 

Your Host Company must:

Offer to you traineeship for up to 18 months or an internship for up to 12 months in one of the following subject fields: Information, Media, Communications, Management, Business, Commerce, Finance, the Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics, Industrial Occupations, Public Administration or Law.  Click here for more information about the types of traineeships that INTERNATIONAL INTERNSHIPS LLC's visa office sponsors on the J-1 Program 

Provide you with a structured traineeship/internship program plan that must both be suitable to your qualifications and background and be approved by INTERNATIONAL INTERNSHIPS LLC's visa office (as required by J-1 Program regulations).

Ensure that you engage in a traineeship or internship, and do not perform work that a part-time or full-time staff member of the company would otherwise be responsible for. As a J-1 Trainee/Intern you are not allowed to make final decisions about, or carry the full responsibility for, major tasks, assignments or projects. However, you may provide assistance in such activities since on-the-job training is encouraged as an important learning tool.

Step 4: Applying for Sponsorship for the J-1 Trainee/Internship Visa 

Complete an application for an INTERNATIONAL INTERNSHIPS LLC program.  INTERNATIONAL INTERNSHIPS LLC will contact you via e-mail with a program acceptance and fee invoices if you meet all eligibility requirements.  You will then be asked to commit to your program by paying a program deposit.  At that time, a placement search will begin.  You will participate in phone/skype interviews scheduled by our New York City Placement Coordinator.  When a host company makes an offer and you accept, the placement is confirmed.  At that time, the balance of your fees, including program balance, visa fee, and health insurance fee will be due.

*Please note:  If INTERNATIONAL INTERNSHIPS LLC is unable to find a suitable placement for you, commensurate upon your background, education, and experience, your deposit will be refunded and no other fees will be due.  Please see the INTERNATIONAL INTERNSHIPS LLC Refund Policy for details.

INTERNATIONAL INTERNSHIPS LLC and its visa office will e-mail to you further information and will send to your prospective supervisor all materials that your host company needs to complete and return to us.

If your complete application is received and accepted by INTERNATIONAL INTERNSHIPS LLC's visa office, we will issue and send to you the DS-2019 Form along with visa application forms and important orientation materials. 

The processing time for the at the visa office is typically 4-6 weeks. However, the entire application process (including program application, placement search/interviewing, and visa application) may take up to 4 months, depending on how quickly you and your host company provide INTERNATIONAL INTERNSHIPS LLC with all necessary materials and information. 

Step 5: Applying for your J-1 Visa and Making Travel Plans

Submit the DS-2019 Form and DS-7002 form along with your other application materials to the U.S. embassy or consulate with jurisdiction over your place of permanent residence.

We suggest you keep your travel plans flexible while your visa application is being processed (e.g. by choosing a flight that allows you to change dates or obtain a refund in case of trip cancellation). The U.S. embassy or consulate provides no guarantee that the J-1 Visa will be issued to you, and the processing time may take up to four or more weeks in some countries. If your visa application should take longer than expected or be rejected, it may save you time and money if you have not finalized your travel arrangements.

Once you obtain your J-1 Visa, you may then travel to the U.S. to begin your training! INTERNATIONAL INTERNSHIPS LLC will be there to respond to any questions, concerns, or problems you may have in connection with your training.