USA J-1 Sponsorship FAQ
1) Do I apply as an "Intern" or a "Trainee"?
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.
MAXIMUM INTERN PROGRAM DURATION: 12 MONTHS
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.
MAXIMUM TRAINEE PROGRAM DURATION: 18 MONTHS
2) Why do I need a visa sponsor and the DS2019 form?
Only U.S. Department of State-designated sponsors like International Internships' visa office are authorized to issue and send to you the the DS2019 form. You need this form in order to apply for the J-1 visa, which allows you to be a trainee/intern in the USA.
Sponsors help ensure that your prospective host company's training or internship program matches your education and experience and complies with U.S. Department of State regulations. Sponsors also check whether you are qualified for a training/internship on the J-1 Visa, monitor your program, and provide you with important orientation materials as well as contracts between you, your host company, and the sponsor.
3) How long does it take to get the J-1 Visa?
The total time required to process your J-1 sponsorship application depends on how quickly you and your host company provide International Internships with all necessary materials and information.
Once you receive the necessary documents from International Internships' visa office, you will need to apply for the J-1 Visa in-person at a U.S. consulate or embassy in your home country. This process may take anywhere from one day (if you can apply in person) to four or more weeks, depending on the specific consulate or embassy where you apply.
We recommend you submit to International Internships' visa office your application for J-1 sponsorship well in advance of the desired start date of your training to avoid possible delays. Please remember that securing sponsorship for the J-1 Visa does not guarantee that you will actually be granted the J-1 Visa by a U.S. consulate or embassy.
4) What is "SEVIS?"
On February 15, 2003, the Department of State introduced the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) in an effort to improve the tracking of J and F Visa holders during their stay in the U.S. When International Internships' visa office approves sponsorship for you, we will issue to you the DS-2019 Form by registering you in SEVIS.
When you submit your J Visa application to a U.S. consulate or embassy, the consular officer handling your application will have access to the data that International Internships' visa office entered into SEVIS.
Whenever there is a change in your U.S. contact information or in your program or visa status (e.g. when International Internships' visa office approves a program extension or when you finish your program early), International Internships' visa office updates your SEVIS record. If you are terminated from the J Program, your SEVIS record will reflect this and may have a negative impact on future visa applications.
To maintain your visa status and SEVIS record, it is very important that you inform International Internships in advance of any potential changes to your original program as well as your and your supervisor's U.S. contact information.
5) In which subject fields does International Internships' visa office sponsor trainees/interns on the J-1 Visa Program?
Click here for detailed information about the subject fields in which International Internships' visa office sponsors trainees/interns on the J-1 Visa Program.
6) What are the application requirements?
To be eligible for International Internships' visa office Sponsorship on the J-1 Trainee/Intern Visa, you need to:
Have secured a training or internship position with an organization in the USA, either through your own accord or through International Internships LLC placement services.
Have qualifications for Training or Internship according to FAQ #1 above regarding university level education and previous work experience in a field directly related to the proposed program.
Know English well enough to perform successfully in the proposed training/internship position.
Plan to leave the U.S. within 30 days after the completion of your training/internship.
Your Host Organization needs to:
Offer to you internship for up to 12 months or training for up to 18 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 subject fields International Internships' visa office sponsors.
Provide you with a structured training/internship program and "Training/Internship Placement Plan," 'TIPP' DS-7002 form, that must be approved by International Internships' visa office and be suitable to your qualifications and background. (You are required to submit the TIPP DS-7002 to the US consulate or embassy with your DS-2019 form at the time of your in-person visa appointment.)
Ensure that you are engaged in training/internship activities and not in work that a part-time or full-time staff member of the organization would otherwise be responsible for. As a J-1 Trainee/Intern you are not allowed to make final decisions about, or assume full responsibility for major tasks, assignments or projects. However, you may assist in such matters since on-the-job participation is encouraged as an important learning tool.
7) Do I really have to apply for the J-1 Visa in my home country?
You can apply for the J-1 Visa only at a U.S. consulate or embassy outside the U.S. If you have secured documents for International Internships' visa office sponsorship for the J-1 Visa but are unable or unwilling to apply for your visa in your home country, you may be able to do so in another (third) country. However, International Internships discourages visa applications in third countries since your chances of obtaining the J-1 Visa can be considerably lower there (and consular policy on such applications may change without notification). You should make every effort to plan to apply in your home country for your visa.
8) How long can my traineeship or internship last?
Trainieeships on the J-1 Visa Program may last between 8 weeks and 18 months.
Internships are limited to 12 months.
9) Can International Internships find a training/internship position for me in the U.S.?
Yes! International Internships LLC offers placement services for any qualified applicants. We find host companies in New York city and the vicinity only. On occasion, we offer some placements outside of NYC when a host company or organization contacts us and offers a position. 99% of the time, your placement will be UNPAID.
10) Can International Internships find a trainee/intern for my organization in the U.S.?
International Internships has been very successful in providing host companies with top international participants. Please contact us directly about our individually tailored placement service, and/or to list your training or internship position on our website.
11) Can I bring my wife, husband and/or children?
Your spouse and/or children should be able to obtain the J-2 Visa to accompany you to the U.S. or join you later. Each dependent (spouse and/or unmarried child under the age of 21) wishing to enter the U.S. together with you must apply for International Internships' sponsorship through its visa office for the J-2 Visa at the same time you are submitting to us your application for sponsorship for the J-1 Visa. If a dependent wishes to join you in the U.S. later, they may apply for sponsorship separately. Please check our Fees and Refunds pagefor applicable fees and contact us about discounts for families with small children.
You and your dependents must bring sufficient funds to cover all living expenses in the U.S., pay for round-trip air travel, and purchase adequate health insurance, both for yourself and your spouse and/or children. International Internships visa office-sponsored dependents on the J-2 Visa are not allowed to accept any employment while in the U.S. (unless under exceptional circumstances).
Please note that securing sponsorship for a J-1 or J-2 Visa does not guarantee that you or your dependents will actually be granted the J-1 or J-2 Visa by a U.S. embassy or consulate.
12) Can I extend my traineeship/internship?
If your original traineeship program lasts less than 18 months and if your host organization supports your request for additional training, it may be possible to extend your program up to a maximum program duration of 18 months.
If your original internship program lasts less than 12 months and if your host organization supports your request for additional intern activities, it may be possible to extend your program up to a maximum program duration of 12 months.
Whether training or interning, you must be currently "in status" on your J-1 Visa and International Internships must receive all necessary documentation and application forms at least 30 days prior to the program end date indicated on the Training/Internship Placement Plan 'TIPP' and contracts. If an application is received less than 30 days prior to the program end date and International Internships decides to consider the request, additional fees may apply. Please see our fee and refund policy for details. To request an extension of training/internship, please contact us, so we can send the necessary application materials to you and your host organization.
If your spouse and/or children are with you in the U.S. on the J-2 Visa, they may request an extension of their stay at the time you submit your application to International Internships' visa office. If all extensions are approved by International Internships' visa office, your dependents may remain with you for the period you are allowed to stay in the U.S.
Travel outside the U.S. is restricted during your program extension, unless you obtain a new J-1 Visa that is valid for the appropriate dates and duration. You must contact the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to check whether your travel plans comply with current laws, and regulations.
Please note that there is never a guarantee that International Internships will accept any application for training/internship extension. If International Internships denies an application, the denial is final and International Internships is not required to provide explanations.
We strongly suggest you and your prospective U.S. host organization make a realistic estimate of how much time will be necessary to complete all aspects of the training/internship program in advance of submitting the initial program proposal to International Internships' visa office.
13) Can I apply for a second J-1 Trainee/Intern Visa?
Yes. Applicants who have previously participated in a traineeship may be eligible to participate in additional training and internship programs under the following conditions:
Additional training and internship programs must address the development of more advanced skills or a different field of expertise.
Interns may participate in additional internship programs as long as they maintain student status or begin a new internship program within 12 months of graduation.
Trainees may participate in additional training programs after a period of at least two years residency outside the U.S. following their previous training program.
Participants who have successfully completed internship programs may participate in a subsequent program after a two-year residency outside the U.S.
14) What is the refund if I do not get my J-1 Visa?
If you have not previously violated U.S. visa regulations and your J-1 Visa application is denied by the U.S. embassy or consulate with jurisdiction over your place of permanent residence, you may be eligible for a partial refund after International Internships has received back from you the DS-2019 Form that we issued to you. Please see our fee and refund policy for details.
15) What should I do if there are problems during my training/internship?
As your J-1 Visa sponsor, International Internships' visa office acts as your advisor and liaison between you and your host organization. You are required to notify us immediately if you encounter any problems during your program. When informed early, International Internships' visa office has been very successful in helping participants and host organization to resolve most problems and misunderstandings.
16) Can I work and/or accept another job outside my traineeship/internship?
No. As a J-1 Trainee/Intern you are strictly prohibited from accepting any employment in the U.S outside your training/internship and/or performing any work in the U.S. If you are found to engage in unauthorized employment and/or work, you are in violation of federal regulations, subject to immediate termination from the J-1 Visa Program, and may face deportation and/or other penalties through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
17) Do I need to have health insurance for my traineeship/internship?
All trainees and their dependents on the J Visa must be covered by a health insurance plan that satisfies the insurance requirements of the U.S. Department of State for the entire duration of the training program. Before International Internships' visa office can approve sponsorship, you and your dependents must show evidence of such coverage or purchase insurance through International Internships (see details in the next item).
To satisfy the requirements of the Department of State, your and your dependents' insurance coverage must:
Provide, at a minimum, up to 10,000 U.S. dollars in case of medical evacuation.
Provide, at a minimum, up to 7,500 U.S. dollars in case of repatriation of remains.
Provide, at a minimum,
EITHER: up to 50,000 U.S. dollars of regular and customary medical expenses per accident or sickness
OR: 75% of regular and customary medical expenses per accident or sickness
Have a deductible that does not exceed 500 U.S. dollars per accident or sickness.
18) Can I buy health insurance through International Internships?
If you need general health insurance coverage, you can purchase the International Internships health insurance plan at 50 U.S. dollars per month (price may change without notice). This plan:
Provides up to 100,000 U.S. dollars of regular and customary medical expenses per accident or sickness
Provides up to 50,000 U.S. dollars in case of medical evacuation
Provides up to 7,500 U.S. dollars in case of repatriation of remains
Has a deductible of 100 U.S. dollars per accident or sickness and 250 U.S. dollars per Emergency Room Visit
International Internships recommends that you purchase health insurance for the period you spend in the U.S. before your J-1 training begins as well as for the "grace period" (the 30 day period which you may spend in the U.S. after you have completed your J-1 training program.) Please contact International Internships directly about insurance coverage for dependents.
19) How will I pay for my living expenses during my program?
Rarely host organizations provide their trainees/interns with a monthly stipend that helps them pay for rent and other living expenses. However, regardless of whether your training/internship is paid or unpaid, it will be your responsibility to have sufficient funds to cover all living expenses in the U.S., pay for round-trip air travel, and purchase adequate health insurance, both for yourself and your dependents (any spouse and/or unmarried children under the age of 21 who entered the U.S. on the J-2 Visa to stay with you).
As a International Internships' visa office-sponsored J-1 Trainee/Intern you are required to come to the U.S. with a minimum of 1,200 U.S. dollars (plus 600 U.S. dollars for each dependent accompanying you) in order to be able to pay for living expenses during the first month of your stay (you may not receive the first paycheck from your host organization until five or more weeks after the beginning of your training/internship). In addition, you must ensure that you have at least 900 U.S. dollars for yourself and 450 U.S. dollars per dependent per month to cover basic living expenses for the remainder of your and your dependents' stay in the U.S. Please note, however, that your actual living expenses may be significantly higher, depending on your life style, the location of your training/internship, and other factors.
When you apply for your visa, you will be required to show to the U.S. consular officer that you have available personal funds at least in the amount stated in item 5.g. on the DS-2019 Form issued by International Internships' visa office.
20) How long may I stay in the U.S. after I finish my program?
After you have successfully completed your J-1 program, you are permitted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to remain in the U.S. for another 30 days. During this 30-day period, which is often referred to as the "Grace Period," you are under the jurisdiction of the USCIS and no longer entitled to train or intern at an organization. The USCIS grants this period to allow you to settle your affairs and to prepare your return to your home country. You may neither continue nor complete your program, nor work during this 30-day period. Although you may travel inside the United States, we recommended that you do not travel beyond the borders of the U.S. as you will not be permitted re-entry on your expired J-1 Training/Internship visa. For your own safety we also suggest you purchase health insurance for this period either independently or through International Internships at approximately $50 U.S.