Important Program Considerations
At some point during your participant’s program, he or she may wish to return home for vacation or you may want him or her to travel for training-related purposes. Before leaving the U.S. for international travel, participants should ensure that they have a multiple-entry J-1 Visa that is still valid. If a participant has extended their program and their visa has expired, they will need to apply for a new visa while abroad before they will be able to return to the U.S. to complete their program.
Before departing the U.S., all participants also need to get a travel validation signature from InterExchange on their original DS-2019 Form. They can visit our office in person or mail their form to our office prior to their trip to receive this signature. Travel validation signatures are valid for 6 months.
NOTE: Participants may not be outside the U.S. or away from their internship/training program for more than 30 consecutive days. Participants should also check visa requirements of any country they plan to visit, as their valid J-1 Visa and travel validation signature on their DS-2019 only allow for re-entry into the U.S.
As a host employer, you have a right to require drug testing, confidentiality agreements, and background checks for your J-1 participants if this is the standard for employment with your organization. Any agreements you sign with the participant outside of the InterExchange-provided J-1 Visa sponsorship paperwork are between you and the participant; however, the InterExchange host employer agreement, DS-7002 Training Plan, and J-1 Visa program regulations are the controlling documents for this program.
Any documents you wish to have the participant sign cannot be in conflict with the rules, regulations, and policies for participating as an InterExchange host employer, nor may they replace any agreements that you as a host employer have with InterExchange or that the participant has with InterExchange.
IMPORTANT: InterExchange, not the host employer, is the authorized visa sponsor for this program. Only InterExchange or U.S. government officials may terminate participants’ visa sponsorship and legal authorization to live and intern/train in the USA. Please do not misrepresent your relationship with participants or ask them to sign any paperwork that implies that you as the host employer may end their visa sponsorship or have them returned to their home country. You do not have the authorization or ability to do this.
All Career Training USA programs are at-will. Participants may quit their internship/training programs at any time. Similarly, you may also terminate the program with your organization. Since the participant’s employment status is recorded in SEVIS, you must notify us immediately if he or she is terminated or decides to leave your company. In either case, please ask the participant to contact InterExchange as soon as possible to discuss their options and plans moving forward.
Participants who are terminated or quit may either:
Withdraw from the program and depart the country within their 30-day grace period; or
Apply to change host employers
- If the participant’s Change of Host application is approved by InterExchange, he or she will be given a new DS-2019 Form, which will show the new host company’s address as the Site of Activity Address. Your company will no longer be listed in SEVIS as the host employer.
We hope you and your participants have a smooth and successful program. However, if you do have concerns, please reach out to InterExchange. We are here to help resolve issues and can speak with participants in the event of any behavioral problems. Please do keep in mind, though, that this is a training program. Your expectations for work and performance should be different than they are for a normal employee. We encourage you to discuss any concerns with the participant directly and provide advice and points for improvement. If the issues continue, please reach out to InterExchange for assistance.
If you and your participant both feel the program is going well, it may be possible to extend the program. Interns and Hospitality Trainees may remain in the U.S. for up to 12 months total, and all other Trainees may stay for up to 18 months total. If the participant is currently in the U.S. on a six-month internship visa, for example, he or she may extend the program for an additional six months up to the maximum 12 months permitted for internship visas.
To apply for an extension, participants must submit a completed extension application 30 to 60 days before their original program end dates. Extensions must provide advanced training and allow the participant an opportunity to learn new skills and take on new responsibilities - you may not use the same training plan for an extension. If approved, the participant will be issued a new DS-2019 Form to cover the extension period.
It’s important to note that only the dates of eligibility to intern/train will be extended. The participant’s J-1 Visa will NOT be extended. If the participant leaves the U.S. during the extension period and the visa has expired, the participant will be required to obtain a new J-1 Visa before returning to the U.S. Please note that obtaining a new visa is not guaranteed, and InterExchange has no jurisdiction to influence this decision.
It is possible for many participants to do additional internship programs as long as they are still current students or within one year of graduation. However, we require that participants return to their home country to complete a semester of school before applying for another internship.
In most cases, though, participants will not be permitted to return to the same host employer. Additional internships and training programs must expose a participant to new skills, tasks and responsibilities, while still providing a training opportunity. Returning to the same host employer usually does not provide the opportunity for additional training and instead tends to result in an ordinary employment situation, which is not permitted on a J-1 Visa.
Participants may also repeat the Trainee program. However, if they have recently completed a J-1 internship or training program, they must leave the U.S. for a period of two years before applying for another training program in the U.S. This is required of all participants, and it applies specifically to Trainee visas—not other visa types or categories.
Participants may also be subject to the Section 212(e), two-year foreign residency requirement, which requires them to return to their home country for a period of two years to apply the knowledge and skills they have gained in the U.S. Participants subject to 212(e) may not apply for an H, L, or K visa or lawful permanent residency upon completing their J-1 Intern/Trainee program until they have returned to their home country for a period of two years.
Participants may be subject to this requirement for one or more of the following reasons:
- The United States government, their own government or an international organization funded their participation in the InterExchange Career Training USA program.
- The training and skills they are pursuing during their program appears on the Exchange Visitor Skills List for their country.
The requirement is applied at the discretion of U.S. consular officials. The J-1 Visa in the participant’s passport will indicate whether he or she is subject to the requirement. If the participant is subject, the visa will have the following note: ‘BEARER IS SUBJECT TO SEC 212(E). TWO YEAR RULE DOES APPLY.’
The two-year foreign residency requirement also applies to any of the participant’s dependents in the U.S. on a J-2 Visa.
Under no circumstances may you change a participant’s status to another visa while he or she is on the InterExchange Career Training USA program. All exchange visitors are required to return to their home countries upon completing their programs in order to share their knowledge and experience with their fellow citizens, thus completing the exchange.
If you require H-1B staff, or other visa holders or permanent staff, they should be sponsored directly through you and should be coming to the U.S. specifically for that purpose. Employers who attempt to change the status of a J-1 Visa holder will be prohibited from hosting InterExchange Career Training USA participants in the future.
Here are a few things to remember once you’ve successfully hosted an intern or trainee:
- Complete your required Final Evaluation, which you will receive by email. Note that there is a separate Final Evaluation for those who have extended their program.
- Send your interns or trainees their W-2 forms when it is time to file a tax return. See the Social Security Numbers & Taxes section for more information.
- Share your experience with others! Tell your friends and colleagues about hosting a J-1 exchange visitor through InterExchange.