Frequently Asked Questions

What is the J-1 Visa?

The J-1 Visa is a non-immigrant, cultural-exchange visa issued through the Exchange Visitor Program. The J-1 Intern Visa allows students and recent graduates to intern at an eligible host organization in the U.S. for one to twelve months.

Your students from past years who have gained relevant work experience may also be eligible to train in the U.S. for up to eighteen months on a Trainee visa

The J-1 Visa is different from an ESTA waiver as the J-1 program allows participants to legally intern or train with a host organization, receive payment, and apply for a social security number. ESTA holders are not permitted to participate in internships of any kind.

How can InterExchange help my students?

Per U.S. Department of State Regulations, all J-1 participants are required to obtain a J-1 Visa sponsor in order to participate in the Exchange Visitor Program. As a designated visa sponsor, InterExchange screens and selects applicants and their host organizations for participation in the Exchange Visitor Program. We also support and monitor exchange visitors throughout their stay in the United States.

Who is eligible for the J-1 Intern Visa?

The intern program is open to students who are currently enrolled full-time and actively pursuing studies at a foreign ministerially-recognized degree, or certificate-granting, post-secondary academic institution outside the U.S.

The program is also open to students who graduated from such institutions less than 12 months before the start of the internship in the U.S.

J-1 Interns must pursue an internship that is related to their academic field of study. These additional eligibility requirements also apply.

Can any other former students or alumni participate?

Yes, former students or alumni who have graduated more than one year prior to the start of their program may be eligible for the J-1 Trainee Visa if they have one year of full-time, post-graduate professional work experience outside the United States related to the field of training.

J-1 Trainees must pursue a training program that is related to their professional work experience field. These additional eligibility requirements also apply.

Are there requirements for host organizations?

Yes, all interested employers must meet the eligibility criteria.

Can InterExchange find internships for my students?

We do not offer placement services. Instead, InterExchange Career Training USA focuses on ensuring that interns will train with companies and supervisors that best meet the educational background of the intern and will provide a high-caliber training environment. Because we do not place participants, our team can critically review training plans without bias and remain impartial in rare occasions when conflicts arise between hosts and interns.

However, to assist in initiating the internship process, we offer a wide variety of internship-search resources, including tips on creating an American-style resume and applying and interviewing for internships. To better assist participants, we have also compiled a list of host employers that have successfully hosted Interns/Trainees with InterExchange in the past. We are happy to share these resources with prospective applicants.

What is included in InterExchange Career Training USA’s program fee?

Our program fees include application processing (including a thorough review of the host employer, training plan, and participant eligibility), issuance and shipping of J-1 Visa sponsorship documents such as the DS-2019 and DS-7002 Forms, pre-departure materials, and 24-hour emergency support for the duration of the program.

InterExchange’s fee also includes:

  • The $220 SEVIS Fee, paid directly to the Department of Homeland Security on behalf of all participants
  • Accident and sickness insurance for the duration of the program and 30-day grace period at end of program
  • Online orientation for living and adapting to life in the U.S.
  • Extensive U.S. cultural resources, including travel resources and guides for visiting the U.S.
  • Coordinated cultural activities (for participants in select cities)
  • Free U.S. SIM card

How long does the process take?

On average, it takes six to eight weeks to apply for sponsorship and obtain a J-1 Visa. However, processing times can vary depending on individual situations. Applicants should review the application checklist to ensure their application is complete upon initial submission. Once an application is marked complete by our team, the application enters a 10-day review period. During this time, we will carefully review the host organization and training plan. We’ll also contact the candidate to conduct a brief interview over Skype or Google Meet.

For students seeking to minimize the review period, InterExchange has an expedite option. For an additional charge, the full review can be done in just three days!

Are there program deadlines?

There is no deadline for the Career Training USA program. We accept applications on a rolling basis, year-round.

When should my students start an application?

The sooner the better! While we realize this is not always possible, we recommend that students start their application at least two to three months before their internship start date. Students can avoid many pre-departure anxieties and issues by starting the process well in advance of their intended departure.

U.S. government regulations require that all participants in the Exchange Visitor Program have a State Department-designated sponsor. In addition to screening participants, sponsors monitor participants’ health and safety, support participants who may have questions or concerns, and check in with participants regularly to ensure their internships in the U.S. are going smoothly.

There are many sponsors to choose from. What is different about InterExchange?

InterExchange prides itself on keeping costs low and reviewing applications as quickly as possible. However, we don’t sacrifice quality for review time. Our team thoroughly reviews training plans to ensure that interns will receive relevant and adequate training during their time in the United States.

InterExchange Career Training USA takes the skill-acquisition of participants seriously. We have instituted host employer requirements above the minimum standard set by the State Department. Our Participant Services Coordinator also maintains regular contact with participants throughout the program to ensure they learn as much as possible from their experience.

How can I share information about InterExchange with my students?

We know there are a lot of questions about the J-1 Visa process, and our resources might not cover every individual situation. However, we take time with each participant to answer questions before, during, and after the application review. Give us a call or send us an email if you or your students have any questions at all.

InterExchange Career Training USA can also organize a webinar or on-campus presentation for any of your students who may be interested in learning more about finding internships in the U.S. and applying for the J-1 Visa.

Please contact our team if you’d like to discuss webinars, campus visits, university or departmental-specific questions, discounts, university accounts, or anything else! We’re happy to learn more about how InterExchange Career Training USA can serve the needs of your students.

Important COVID-19 Information

Career Training USA is currently processing J-1 Intern/Trainee Visa applications. However, COVID-19 has disrupted normal J-1 Visa operations, and we encourage your students to review the following information carefully before proceeding with their application.

  • Visa Appointment Availability: Visa issuance may be limited or entirely unavailable in some countries due to travel bans or other unique in-country conditions. Emergency appointments are sometimes available, but students will need to contact the Embassy/Consulate directly to discuss availability and the procedure and conditions for requesting an emergency appointment. Students should consult the Department of State’s website to learn the approximate Visa wait time for Exchange Visitor Visas appointments in their country of residence.

  • Visa Sponsorship Documents: InterExchange Career Training USA is not yet issuing DS-2019s and SEVIS numbers for participants from areas where visa service and/or travel remains suspended. Note that if participants request paperwork despite travel bans and limited visa appointment availability, they do so at their own risk and expense. SEVIS and Visa Appointment (DS-160) fees are paid to the U.S. Government and not refundable.

  • Sponsorship Application Processing: Regardless of a country’s visa/travel restrictions, participants may submit a sponsorship application to InterExchange. We will process applications upon receipt and notify participants if their application can be approved. As the program start date must accurately reflect the participant’s plans for travel, we will issue J-1 Visa sponsorship documents when we can confirm that visa issuance in their home country has resumed and that the program dates on their paperwork is accurate.

  • Remote Training: The J-1 Intern/Trainee Visa is intended for in-person training in the U.S.; therefore, we cannot approve any programs that will be fully remote. If a host is unable to offer in-person training five days a week, please have your student contact InterExchange to discuss their program further. Refund Policy: Finally, please note that our standard refund policy remains in effect for all newly submitted applications.

  • Refund Policy: Finally, please note that our standard refund policy remains in effect for all newly submitted applications.