Phase 3: InterExchange Application Review Process
Please encourage applicants to apply early. The average review period for complete J-1 Visa Sponsorship applications is approximately 10 days from the date an application is complete and marked “In Queue” in the online system. The review may be longer if the host employer requires a site visit. Applicants should apply six to eight weeks in advance of their expected start date to allow enough time for the application review and embassy visit.
We offer an expedited review option, where an application can be reviewed within three business days of submitting a fully completed application and payment. Please note that site visits cannot be expedited if the host organization meets site visit criteria.
NOTE: Please remember to review the application processing timeline and required documents with the applicant so that they may understand the process and requirements.
When applications are submitted to InterExchange, a preliminary review called “Initial Review” is conducted by one of our coordinators. A confirmation email is sent, informing you that the application was received and whether any materials are missing or need to be resubmitted. If any items are outstanding, the application will be returned to “Cooperator Review”. You must resubmit the application to InterExchange once changes are complete.
When an application is complete, you will receive another email indicating it is complete and “In Queue” for review. The application status will update from “In Queue” to “Under Review” once official review commences. We will then perform the official review to ensure the applicant and proposed training plan satisfies all program rules and regulations.
The application reviewer will contact the host employer directly if changes are needed to the content of the training plan. If edits to the training plan are needed, the supervisor will need to re-sign relevant training plan phases and the participant will need to re-sign their agreement. The application status will remain “Under Review” during this time. Please note that delays by the host employer or participant may cause the application review period to exceed 10 days.
Each application is considered on a case-by-case basis and we may reject any application that we feel does not meet our interpretation of the program rules and regulations. The most common reasons for rejecting an application include the following:
- The applicant does not have the required education or experience in order to satisfy the eligibility requirements.
- The proposed internship/training program is for unskilled labor or ordinary employment.
- The host employer does not meet the program requirements listed on our website.
- The proposed internship/training program is not related to the applicant’s field of study or occupational experience. Interns’ programs must be related to their academic field of study and Trainees’ programs must be related to their occupational background.
- The proposed program is in a field InterExchange is not able to sponsor. Our general categories for sponsorship are as follows: hospitality and tourism; information media and communications; management, business, commerce and finance; public administration and law; the sciences, engineering, architecture, mathematics and industrial occupations; and arts and culture. Please refer to the list of sponsored fields or contact us if you are unsure.
- The applicant is currently in the U.S., currently on another visa and requesting a change of status, or has recent and/or extensive experience in the U.S.
If an application is approved, we will send you a confirmation email with the applicant’s SEVIS ID number and instructions for downloading confirmation of the SEVIS fee payment. SEVIS, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, is the U.S. government database in which all program participants are entered upon program approval.
A pre-departure message is also sent to the applicant with important program information. We will mail you or the applicant (via UPS) an acceptance packet with additional information and paperwork, including the DS-2019 Form and DS-7002 Form, which applicants will need in order to apply for a visa. You will need to send this information with any additional pre-departure information you wish to include to the participants or give it to them in person. Under no circumstances are you permitted to photocopy or scan the DS-2019 Form.
Applying for the J-1 Visa
After receiving confirmation we’ve approved their sponsorship application, participants must schedule an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Many International Cooperators schedule these appointments for their applicants or send several applicants to the embassy/consulate together. At a minimum, applicants should take the following documents to their interview:
- DS-2019 and DS-7002 Forms
- Valid passport
- Evidence of financial support
- Proof of residency in their home country
- Proof of sufficient ties to home country/reasons for needing to return after the program. These may include:
- Job offer or job to which they plan to return
- Proof of property ownership
- Proof of other assets in home country
- Evidence of family ties/responsibilities
- Proof of enrollment in a university/graduate program
- Any additional information required by the embassy/consulate where they are applying
Program approval by InterExchange does not guarantee a visa will be issued. Consular officials may request any information they deem necessary to make a decision, and the final decision regarding whether to issue a visa is at the discretion of the U.S Embassy or Consulate. Applicants who are granted the J-1 Visa can then make final arrangements to travel to the U.S. It is highly recommended that participants do not schedule travel until they have secured a visa. The period of time for their application to be reviewed by InterExchange as well as the embassy/consulate will vary.
If applicants are denied a visa, they should contact you to determine whether it makes sense to re-apply. If this happens, please let us know immediately whether to cancel their program or if they intend to re-apply for the visa. In most circumstances, the participant will need a revised DS-2019 and DS-7002 and will incur a reprint fee from InterExchange.
If an applicant does re-apply and is denied a second time, InterExchange will cancel the application and visa sponsorship and issue the appropriate refund. If you initially submitted the program fees to InterExchange, all refunds will be returned to you, and you are then obligated to refund participants according to your published policies on the Fee & Refund Disclosure.