The questions and answers below are designed to help you and other employers with hosting talented international interns and trainees who have confirmed an internship or training program with your company. If you have a question that’s not answered here, just call 1.888.621.1202 or email us.
General Program Information
Q. What does InterExchange Career Training USA do?
A. InterExchange Career Training USA helps U.S. businesses benefit from participating in international internships and training programs. InterExchange is designated by the U.S. Department of State to provide J-1 Visa sponsorship to interns and trainees who have found positions with employers and who meet our program requirements.
Q. Why should I hire an international intern or trainee?
A. With everything they have to offer, the question may be “Why shouldn’t you hire an international intern or trainee?” Not only do they enhance your business with a valuable international perspective, they also offer a variety of talents and experience, including multi-lingual skills. Additionally, trainees can be part of your company longer than most American interns—up to 18 months—and can begin their program at any time during the year. Learn more about the benefits of international internships and trainee programs.
Q. What is a J-1 Visa?
A. The J-1 Visa is a non-immigrant, cultural exchange visa issued through the Exchange Visitor Program. Entry into the U.S. as a participant in the Exchange Visitor Program is granted with the understanding that participants will complete the objectives of their program category. The program categories offered through Career Training USA are "intern" and "trainee."
Q. I would like to hire someone to work as an intern or trainee. How do I know whether he or she is eligible?
A. Review participant eligibility requirements on our website.
Q. Won’t it be expensive to hire an international intern or trainee?
A. The program is very affordable. There are no program, visa, or placement fees for employers to host an international intern or trainee. If you are an employer with fewer than 25 employees or less than three million dollars in annual revenue, we are required by program regulations to perform a site visit at your organization prior to approving you as an employer. There is a one-time fee of $250 to perform a site visit. If your company is approved and you successfully host an intern/trainee through the program, no additional visits or fees will be required.
Q. How do I know if my company is eligible to participate in the program?
A. Read the employer requirements on our website.
Q. What if I already know someone I’d like to hire?
Q. Does InterExchange Career Training USA specialize in certain industries?
A. Yes. We sponsor interns and trainees in a variety of fields, including: Accounting, Advertising, Arts Administration, Business Administration, Computer Science, Engineering, Finance, Hospitality & Tourism, Marketing & Sales, Management, Law & Public Administration, and Public Relations.
Q. What is required on the Training/Internship Placement Plan (DS-7002)?
A. The plan should include a detailed outline of exactly what the internship/training program involves, including specific departmental rotations and/or program phases. There should be a rotation or phase for every 3-4 months of training, and a new page should be included in the training plan for each rotation/phase. Please see our Guide to Developing a Successful Training Program.
Q. What is the purpose of the program?
A. The primary objectives of InterExchange Career Training USA are to enhance the skills and expertise of exchange visitors in their academic or occupational fields through structured and guided programs that improve participants’ knowledge of American techniques, methodologies, and technology. Participation in our Career Training USA program must not be used as a substitute for ordinary employment or work purposes nor may it be used to displace American workers. Internship programs are work-based learning opportunities in an intern’s or recent graduate’s academic field that enable the intern to develop practical skills that will enhance his or her future career and bridge the gap between formal education and practical work experience. Trainee programs include bona-fide training and are not simply additional work experience.
The program increases international participants’ understanding of American culture, while also enhancing Americans’ knowledge of foreign cultures, customs and practices. Through this program, the U.S. Government builds partnerships, promotes mutual understanding, and develops relationships and extended networks that will last through generations as participants move into leadership roles in a broad range of occupational fields in their home countries.
About Interns & Trainees
Q. What’s the difference between an intern and a trainee?
A. The main difference between interns and trainees is their education and experience.
Interns must be current students or recent graduates of a post-secondary academic institution outside the U.S. that grants degrees or professional certificates. If they’ve completed their studies, they must start the internship program within one year of graduating. Interns are permitted to work in the U.S. for up to 12 months, and their field of training must be related to their field of study.
Trainees must have earned a degree or professional certificate from an overseas post-secondary academic institution and have at least one year of related professional experience acquired outside the U.S. Alternatively, if they do not have a degree or certificate, they must have at least five years of related professional experience acquired outside the U.S. Trainees are permitted to work in the US for up to 18 months, unless they are participating in a Hospitality/Tourism program, which cannot exceed 12 months. Their field of training must be related their professional experience but not necessarily to their degree.
Q. What kind of experience and qualifications do interns and trainees have?
A. Interns are majoring in or have graduated with a degree in the field of their internship. Most interns typically have prior work experience, such as internships, summer jobs, volunteer positions, or Summer Work & Travel programs in the U.S. Trainees are required to have a degree from outside the U.S. and at least one year of related professional work experience earned outside the U.S or at least 5 years of related professional experience earned outside the U.S.
Q. When can interns and trainees start working?
A. Interns and trainees may begin working any day of the year.
Q. How long can they stay at my company?
A. Interns can stay for up to 12 months. Trainees can stay for up to 18 months, except for Hospitality and Tourism Trainees, who may only stay for a maximum of 12 months.
Q. From which countries can I recruit interns and trainees?
A. We can provide visa sponsorship for applicants from any country in the world, provided the candidate meets program requirements.
Q. I need to hire permanent staff. Can I hire an intern or trainee?
A. If you are looking to fill a permanent position within your company, InterExchange Career Training USA cannot assist with that process. We are designated to issue the Intern/Trainee J-1 Visa, which is a temporary exchange visitor visa designated for the purposes of training—not for regular employment. For more information regarding work visas, please visit www.uscis.gov.
Q. Can interns and trainees have more than one job?
A. No, per the J-1 Visa regulations, interns and trainees are not allowed to have second jobs. If hired by you, they will only be permitted to work for you.
Compensation & Taxes
Q. Should I pay my intern or trainee?
A. Although it’s not required, we highly recommend that you pay your interns and trainees. Wages paid should be comparable to what you would pay an intern or trainee in a similar role who is a U.S. citizen. Salary should be determined with each participant prior to his or her arrival in the U.S. Please note that an intern or trainee is required to work full time and is not permitted to work a second job, so the position in your company will be the person's only sole source of income. If you will not be paying your interns/trainees, please be sure to review and follow the six criteria for unpaid internships issued by the Department of Labor.
Q. Do interns and trainees have Social Security numbers?
A. If interns or trainees have previously participated in the J-1 Work & Travel, Camp, or H-2B programs, they will have a Social Security number and card already. If this is their first time working in the U.S., they must apply at your local office for a card. They will receive a receipt that shows that they have applied for a Social Security card, which should arrive within 6 weeks.
Q. Am I required to provide housing for my intern or trainee?
A. No. Interns and trainees are responsible for locating and paying for their own housing, though providing recommendations for affordable neighborhoods, helpful websites or newspapers will be appreciated by your intern or trainee. You may provide housing, though, if you are able to do so. Positions that provide housing are often more attractive to a wider range of candidates.
Q. Am I required to pay transportation costs?
A. No. Interns and trainees are able to arrange their own transportation independently, though you may offer assistance if you wish.
Q. Do I have to provide health insurance?
A. Interns and trainees receive insurance as part of their program fee. All interns and trainees are required to have accident and sickness insurance for the duration of their stay in the U.S. You may add them to your health insurance plan so they can seek general care in addition to emergency care, but they must retain their approved accident and sickness insurance as well, as it provides some required benefits mandated by the U.S. State Department that normal health insurance plans do not.
Q. Are interns and trainees required to pay taxes?
A. Participants on a J-1 Visa are considered non-resident aliens. They should not have Social Security (FICA), Medicare or federal unemployment (FUTA) taxes withheld. Please consult a tax professional to find out if participants are exempt from state unemployment taxes in your state. For more detailed tax information, please review the IRS's Employer Tax Guide and Publication 515 at www.irs.gov.
Support During the Program
Q. What level of support does InterExchange Career Training USA offer throughout the program?
A. We offer 24-hour support throughout the entire program to employers, interns and trainees. Call 1.888.621.1202 or email us with any questions you may have regarding the program.
Q. What if I want to hire additional interns and trainees for my company?
Q. What do I do if I am not satisfied with my intern or trainee?
A. If you feel that an intern or trainee is not meeting your expectations, we ask that you first talk to the intern and make your expectations known. We have found that a frank discussion about performance often solves the problem. Career Training USA is also available to talk to the intern or trainee. If the situation does not improve and you need to terminate the intern or trainee, please call InterExchange Career Training USA at 1.888.621.1202 so that we can assist the intern or trainee with any questions regarding his or her status.
Please refer to our Employer Handbook as an additional resource for any questions you may have.