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, but 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 do offer an expedited review option, where the application can be reviewed within three business days of submitting a fully completed application and payment. For applicants requiring a site visit, please note that site visits cannot currently be expedited.
When applications are submitted to InterExchange, a preliminary review takes place by our Admissions Coordinator. A confirmation email is sent, informing you that the application was received and whether any materials are missing or need to be resubmitted.
Once an application is complete, you will receive another email from the Admissions Coordinator indicating it is ready for review and the estimated review time. We will then perform the official review to ensure the applicant satisfies all program rules and regulations. The application reviewer will contact you if we require additional supporting documents or if your materials require any revisions.
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.
- 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, accessible in the IC Resource Center, 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 send you a confirmation email with the applicant’s SEVIS ID number and instructions for paying the fee for SEVIS, the U.S. government database in which all program participants are entered upon program approval. A pre-departure email is also sent to both you and 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, 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 participant or give it to them in person. Under no circumstances are you permitted to photocopy or scan the DS-2019 Form.
After applicants pay the SEVIS fee, 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:
- 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 up to them. Applicants who are granted the J-1 Visa must send a copy to InterExchange for our records. At this time, they will be able to 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. There is no guarantee that applicants will be approved for visa sponsorship or that a visa will be granted, and the period of time for their application to be reviewed by InterExchange as well as the embassy/consulate will vary.
If an applicant is denied a visa, he or she should contact you to determine whether it makes sense to re-apply. If an applicant is denied a visa, please let us know immediately whether to cancel the applicant’s program or if the applicant intends to re-apply for the visa. If the applicant does re-apply and is denied again, the DS-2019 Form must be returned to InterExchange before we can issue the appropriate refund. Similarly, any candidate who has been issued a DS-2019 Form and needs to cancel or end his or her program for any reason must return the DS-2019 Form before a refund can be issued. 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.