At some point during the participant’s program, he or she may wish to return home for vacation or you may want him or her to travel for work-related purposes. It is very important that you understand travel restrictions and policies for J-1 Visa holders so that the participant can travel safely and ensure a smooth return to the U.S. at the end of his or her travels.
Traveling abroad with an expired visa:
If the participant’s visa expires before the program end date listed on the DS-2019 Form (which is a possibility if the participant extends his or her program), and the participant plans to leave the U.S. for vacation or a work trip after the visa expires, he or she will not be able to re-enter the U.S. without a new visa. The participant will need to apply for the new visa at a U.S. Embassy abroad before returning to the United States. It is important that you and the participant discuss the J-1 Visa expiration date so that any international travel, either personal or work-related, can be planned accordingly and so you can ensure the participant will be able to return to the U.S. to complete his or her program after any international travel.
Traveling abroad with a valid visa:
If the participant has a valid visa and wants to travel outside the U.S. during the program, he or she must submit the DS-2019 Form to InterExchange Career Training USA for a travel validation signature before leaving the U.S. Failure to obtain a travel validation signature may result in the participant being detained by immigration officials for questioning or even denial of entry into the U.S. upon returning. The signature is valid for six months, so if the participant travels multiple times within a six-month period, he or she does not have to have the form signed each time, though they still need to inform InterExchange of their travel dates and destination(s). Once the six-month period passes, though, the form will need to be signed again before the participant leaves the U.S.
The participant can mail the DS-2019 Form to us or may also come into the office if you are located in New York City. If mailing the form, a self-addressed envelope should be included. If the participant will need the form returned via express mail, a check or money order for $20, made out to InterExchange must be included to cover the express shipping fees. To ensure there are no delays in obtaining a signature, we recommend you send the form two to three weeks before the intended travel date. If the participant is coming to the InterExchange office for a signature, he or she must contact us in advance to schedule an appointment.
Before the participant travels internationally, please also use the following tips to facilitate border crossings and ensure the participant’s safety, particularly if the participant will be traveling with you for work purposes:
- The participant must keep his or her DS-2019 with the passport at all times and in a safe place.
- Ensure the participant’s visa is a multiple entry, “M” visa. If a specific number of entries is indicated, that is the number of times the participant may enter the U.S. on that visa. If he or she does not have a multiple entry visa, the participant will need a new visa to re-enter the U.S.
- Make sure to research whether the participant will need a visa in order to enter into other countries. To obtain a country’s visa entry requirements, you should contact an embassy or consulate of that country, located here in the U.S.
- Check for any travel alerts or safety advisories for the countries the participant may travel to. You can find travel alerts on the U.S. Department of State website.
Note: The participant may not be outside the U.S. or away from the internship/training program for more than 30 consecutive days.
Participation in our Career Training USA program is optional for both you and the participant. If at any time you or the participant feels that the program is not working out, it is possible to end the program. If the participant is not performing at a level that is expected, you may terminate his or her employment. Similarly, participants may quit their internships/training programs. In both cases, a thorough discussion with the participant and a mutually beneficial resolution is preferable to a decision to end a program. You should also provide advice and points for improvement before terminating the participant’s employment. If the participant does address any concerns with you regarding the program, be sure to take steps to make improvements and help to improve his or her experience within 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.
Participants who are terminated or quit have two options:
- Early Withdrawal: If the participant would like to return home, please have him or her contact InterExchange. The participant must leave the U.S. within 30 days of the termination or voluntary withdrawal. If the participant is not interning/training with your company, he or she is not permitted to remain in the U.S., so please have the participant contact us immediately to discuss the required departure date and to ensure he or she is complying with program regulations. If the participant is terminated due to any sort of serious disciplinary reason, he or she must return home immediately. If there is a legal obligation to appear in court, the participant is responsible for obtaining legal representation and meeting court orders and appearances. You must contact InterExchange immediately about participants with legal or disciplinary problems.
- Change of Host Company: The participant may change his or her host company on a J-1 Internship or Training Program. In this case, he or she is required to provide your company with adequate notice and must contact InterExchange immediately.
The participant must contact us to discuss the reasons for changing and obtain a Change of Host Employer application. He or she must change to a new employer within 30 days of leaving your company, so it is essential that he or she contact us immediately to begin the process. If the participant’s Change of Host application is approved, 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 that our Career Training USA program will be successful for both your company and the participant. If you and the 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, he or she may extend the program for an additional six months up to the maximum 12 months permitted for internship visas. 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 you cannot extend the participant’s program, he or she may still extend her program with a new host employer. In this case, the participant would need to find a new host employer and complete the change of host section of the extension application by our deadline as well.
Note: If an extension application is approved, only the dates of eligibility to intern/train will be extended. The participant’s visa will not be extended. If he or she leaves the U.S. during the extension period and the visa has expired, the participant will be required to return to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in his or her home country to obtain a new J-1 Visa before returning to the U.S. Make sure the participant has all of the necessary paperwork to apply for a new visa while abroad and remind him or her to always have a travel-validated DS-2019 Form (both the original and extension DS forms), along with his or her passport and DS-7002 (Training/Internship Placement Plan). If the participant remains in the U.S. during the entire extension period, no further visas will be required. Please note that obtaining a new visa is not guaranteed, and InterExchange has no jurisdiction to influence this decision.
To apply for an extension, participants must contact us at least two months in advance to discuss their situation and request an application. They must submit the completed extension applications 30 to 60 days before their original program end dates, or we will be unable to accept the extension application. If approved, each participant will be issued a new DS-2019 Form to cover the extension period. If the participant is changing host companies during their extension, the new host company’s address will appear as the Primary Site of Activity Address on the new DS-2019 Form.
It is possible for many participants to do further internship programs as long as they are still current students or within one year of graduation. However, we require that a participant return to his or her home country to complete a semester of school before applying for another internship. In most cases, though, the participant 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. Training programs build on participants’ occupational experience, so the U.S. Department of State would like exchange visitors to return home to apply their U.S. knowledge and build more advanced skills in their occupational field before they will be eligible to train in the U.S. again.
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.
They 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, other visa holders, or other 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 Final Evaluation (you will receive a link 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.