Career Training USA International Cooperator Resources
Career Training USA International Cooperator Resources

Career Training USA Cooperator Resources

Welcome to InterExchange and Career Training USA

About InterExchange

InterExchange is a nonprofit organization with more than 40 years of experience promoting cultural awareness through a wide range of affordable and exciting work and travel, professional training, internship, au pair, camp, language learning, and volunteer programs within the U.S. and abroad. InterExchange is designated by the U.S. Department of State to sponsor the J-1 Visa for your participants who would like to visit and experience the U.S.

Career Training USA assists international students and young professionals with J-1 Visa sponsorship for internships and practical training programs in the U.S. Candidates may apply for the J-1 Intern or Trainee Visa if they have already secured an appropriate position in the U.S.

To learn more about the other programs InterExchange offers, please visit

Objectives of the J-1 Intern/Trainee Exchange Visitor Program

As a proud J-1 Visa sponsor and cultural exchange organization, we encourage our participants and professional colleagues to learn about the Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961, also known as the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961. This important act enables the government of the United States to:

  • Increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange;

  • Strengthen the ties which unite us with other nations by demonstrating the educational and cultural interests, developments, and achievements of the people of the United States and other nations, and the contributions being made toward a peaceful and more fruitful life for people throughout the world;

  • Promote international cooperation for educational and cultural advancement; and thus assist in the development of friendly, sympathetic, and peaceful relations between the United States and the other countries of the world.

Per program regulations, the primary objectives of the programs offered under these regulations are to enhance the skills and expertise of exchange visitors in their academic or occupational fields through participation in structured and guided work-based training and internship programs and to improve participants’ knowledge of American techniques, methodologies, and technology.

Such training and internship programs are also intended to increase participants’ understanding of American culture and society and to enhance Americans’ knowledge of foreign cultures and skills through an open interchange of ideas between participants and their American associates. A key goal of the Fulbright-Hays Act, which authorizes these programs, is that participants will return to their home countries and share their experiences with their fellow citizens.

Each participant in the InterExchange Career Training USA program must follow all regulations set forth by the U.S. Department of State and maintain contact with InterExchange throughout the program. In addition to enhancing their professional development during the program, we encourage participants to regularly take advantage of the cultural opportunities offered by their local host communities.

An important aspect of delivering J-1 internship and training opportunities is our collaboration with International Cooperators (ICs) like you, who represent InterExchange in various countries around the world. International Cooperators help to market our programs, recruit and pre-screen applicants, assist applicants in the application and pre-departure phases, and serve as an in-country contact and liaison between InterExchange and potential participants.

InterExchange asks that you use this handbook to gain a greater understanding of the Intern and Trainee programs and their corresponding federal regulations so that you may provide accurate information to potential applicants and help to ensure a successful program.

For the most up-to-date requirements, policies, news, and program updates, please visit the International Cooperator Resource Center.

InterExchange Career Training USA offers two unique programs: the Intern program and the Trainee program. The federal rules and regulations for these programs are included in the Appendix.

Program Eligibility & Requirements

InterExchange Career Training USA offers two unique programs: the Intern program and the Trainee program. The federal rules and regulations for these programs are included in the Appendix.

Intern Program
  • 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., OR

  • Graduated from such an institution no more than 12 months prior to the exchange visitor program begin date reflected on the Form DS-2019 (applications must be submitted no less than two months prior to the expiration of this 12-month timeframe).

Program duration:
  • 1to 12 months
Field of internship:
  • Must be directly related to the applicant’s academic field. Interns must have completed at least one year of their degree program and have sufficient academic coursework in their academic field to be sufficiently prepared for their internships.
Repeat participation is allowed if:
  • The candidate is still a student or has graduated within 12 months of the new program start date.

  • Current interns must return to school for at least one term before applying for another intern visa.

  • In most cases, applicants will not be permitted to return to the same host employer. The maximum time an intern can train with a host is 12 months.

  • Please contact us to discuss each applicant’s particular situation before submitting additional applications for the same employer.

  • A degree or professional certificate from a foreign ministerially-recognized post-secondary academic institution and at least one year of prior work experience acquired outside the U.S that is directly related to the proposed training field ., OR

  • Five years of work experience acquired outside the U.S. that is directly related to the proposed training field

Program duration:
  • 1 to 18 months (Hospitality & Tourism training programs cannot exceed 12 months).
Field of training:
  • Must be related to the applicant’s current occupational field, which the applicant is actively pursuing outside of the U.S. at time of application.
Repeat participation is allowed with some conditions:
  • Person resides outside of the U.S. or its territories for at least 2 years after the end of the previous J-1 Internship or Training program.

  • In most cases, applicants will not be permitted to return to the same host employer. The maximum time a trainee can train with a host is 18 months (or 12 months in the fields of hospitality and tourism.)

  • Please contact us to discuss each applicant’s particular situation before submitting additional applications for the same employer.

In addition to these basic eligibility criteria, participants must also meet these eligibility criteria.

Please note that any updates to our requirements will be posted on our website. Before sending new applications, you must review this site to ensure that the applicant meets program requirements.

Host Employer Eligibility

InterExchange must also ensure host employers are legitimate organizations that are willing to abide by the rules and regulations governing this program and who have sufficient staff, resources, and on-site space available for any interns or trainees they wish to host.

All interested employers must meet the eligibility criteria indicated here.

Please note that any updates to our requirements will be posted on our website. Before sending new applications, review our site to ensure that the host meets program requirements.

  • A degree or professional certificate from a foreign ministerially-recognized post-secondary academic institution and at least one year of prior work experience acquired outside the U.S that is directly related to the proposed training field ., OR

  • Five years of work experience acquired outside the U.S. that is directly related to the proposed training field

Program duration:
  • 1 to 18 months (Hospitality & Tourism training programs cannot exceed 12 months).
Field of training:
  • Must be related to the applicant’s current occupational field, which the applicant is actively pursuing outside of the U.S. at time of application.
Repeat participation is allowed with some conditions:
  • Person resides outside of the U.S. or its territories for at least 2 years after the end of the previous J-1 Internship or Training program.

  • In most cases, applicants will not be permitted to return to the same host employer. The maximum time a trainee can train with a host is 18 months (or 12 months in the fields of hospitality and tourism.)

  • Please contact us to discuss each applicant’s particular situation before submitting additional applications for the same employer.

In addition, organizations with fewer than 25 employees and less than three million dollars in annual revenue are subject to a site visit, conducted by an InterExchange representative. There is a $250 fee for the visit, but once it is conducted, it is not necessary for the organization to be visited again should it wish to host InterExchange interns or trainees in the future. If there is a change of owner or office location or other significant change in the operations of the company, a repeat visit may be required.

The Career Training USA application process flows through several phases. On the following pages, each phase is outlined so that you will understand what happens from the time potential candidates are recruited until participants complete their programs and return home.

Phase 1: Recruitment & Screening of Applicants


On behalf of InterExchange, each International Cooperator recruits prospective candidates within its home country or from any other country in which it is licensed to operate and for which a written agreement has been arranged with InterExchange. You may use any number of recruitment strategies, including one or several of the following options:

  • Online or paper-based advertisements
  • Information sessions and presentations
  • Exhibits at fairs and conferences
  • Visits to colleges and universities
  • Former participant referrals

All recruitment materials and advertising must portray the program accurately. Misrepresentation of the program in recruitment materials may result in the termination of partnership by InterExchange.

Once candidates express interest in the program, you will be the liaison between InterExchange and these candidates, who will work with you directly to ask questions about the program, confirm their eligibility, and inquire about fees.

Once potential applicants are identified, you should screen them before inviting them to complete the online application. Interviews may be conducted in person or via phone or webcam. The results of the interview must be documented on the InterExchange Interview Report Form, which you will need to print and upload to the online application. Only third party organizations with whom InterExchange has a written agreement may conduct interviews on our behalf. All other applicants referred by lawyers and universities will be interviewed by InterExchange representatives after the applications are submitted.

You are encouraged to develop your own screening processes, but the following criteria should be assessed for each candidate:

  • Program eligibility
  • Program eligibility time frame (e.g. If the participant qualifies as an intern presently, will this still be the case when they begin the internship? Graduates wishing to apply as interns must begin their programs in the U.S. within 12 months of graduation, so be sure these types of applications are submitted at least two months in advance.)
  • Previous J-1 Visa or other U.S. experience
  • English language ability
  • Maturity and responsibility
  • Reasons for participation and future career goals
  • Understanding of the program objective and mission
  • Desire to return to home country at end of program

If you believe a potential applicant is suitable for Career Training USA, the next step is to invite him or her to complete the online application.

Phase 2: Completing & Submitting the Application

Prior to submitting your first application to our Career Training USA program, it is important that you view the Application Guidelines in the Cooperator Refresher Training PowerPoint, as well as the Online Application Instructions in the Cooperator Resource Center. These will help clarify how to submit a complete application and ensure all documents meet InterExchange’s specifications. Using these tools will help ensure quick and smooth processing of your applications.

Program applications are managed in our online system through which each applicant must log in, complete required information, sign the program agreement, and upload supporting documents. Please ensure that participants review the Application Instructions before submitting their application to you for review. The DS-7002 Training Plan, which employers complete, is also built into our online application system and must be electronically signed by each phase supervisor and the applicant before submitting the application to InterExchange.

Please ensure that host employers review the DS-7002 Training Plan Guide and Employer Instructions before submitting a training plan. Once an application is approved, the fully executed and final version of the DS-7002 printed on the official Department of State form can be accessed from the participant’s or employer’s online application. Under no circumstances should anyone but the employer complete this document.

Program Fees

Please note that upon submitting an application to InterExchange, we create and send an invoice. Therefore, the Fee and Refund Schedule goes into effect upon submission.

InterExchange provides all International Cooperators with fees that reflect a discount from the standard rate. Each International Cooperator is permitted to charge additional fees above InterExchange’s discounted fees in order to cover recruitment and administrative costs. The fees that you may charge are those agreed upon in your annual program agreement with InterExchange Career Training USA. If you wish to make any changes to your fee and/or refund schedule, you must notify InterExchange in writing and obtain confirmation of our acceptance of the proposed change(s) before implementation.

Further, annually updated fee lists must be exchanged between InterExchange and each International Cooperator, as per §62.22(g) in the Intern/Trainee federal program regulations. At the end of each calendar year, InterExchange will let International Cooperators know what the fees will be for the following year. All cooperators must submit their fee information to InterExchange by the end of the current year in order to maintain a relationship for the following program year.

Unless otherwise specified, applicants pay all fees directly to you, and then you submit the InterExchange portion of the fees to us. An application fee must accompany each application. We will not move an application to “In Queue” for review if any portion of the payment is missing. Cooperators who do not process applications and payments in a timely fashion may lose the ability to collect payment on behalf of InterExchange or to continue to cooperate with InterExchange on our Career Training USA program.

Participants and any of their dependents must be covered by accident & sickness insurance for the entire length of the program. All of our Career Training USA participants are automatically covered by accident & sickness insurance that meets or exceeds the U.S. Department of State’s minimum requirements. This insurance is included in the program fee. If a participant is bringing a dependent spouse or child, each dependent must purchase insurance, according to our fee schedule.

Accident & sickness insurance is not comprehensive health insurance. If participants have a pre-existing condition that requires regular doctor visits or medication, they should ensure that additional health insurance is in place to cover any needs unrelated to an unexpected accident or illness. Some participants may have existing health insurance or be offered health insurance through their host employers, but they must still retain their InterExchange arranged accident & sickness insurance, which includes benefits such as emergency evacuation and repatriation of remains. No applicant can decline the coverage offered through the program fee.

Detailed information about InterExchange’s accident & sickness insurance can be found on our website.

Further, unless exempt by local law, all employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. If participants are injured while training, they should file a workers’ compensation claim in order to receive the benefits of the employer’s insurance.

Applicants with pre-existing medical conditions or mental health issues should consult their home-country physicians prior to coming to the U.S. to ensure conditions or issues will not worsen if subject to travel-related stress, culture shock, change in diet or climate, etc. Participants who require continued or extended hospital care and medical treatment while in the U.S. that, in InterExchange’s opinion, interfere with the intended purpose of the program will be asked to return home to seek care at their own expense and may have their program ended.

During the application and pre-departure phases, InterExchange will contact you with any questions or to relay information to the applicant. Once participants arrive in the United States, though, InterExchange will contact participants directly with requests, updates, and event invitations at the email address provided on their applications. Please ensure applicants provide an address that they check regularly and will continue to use once in the U.S.

Please also emphasize the importance of reading and responding to any and all messages from InterExchange. Failure to do so could result in dismissal from the program.

Once an application is submitted to InterExchange, it becomes the property of our organization. Per regulations, we are required to keep files for all applicants for no less than three years, and the file must include the original documents. Employers should request any information they need regarding an applicant prior to extending an offer. If employers wish to have copies of any documents (transcripts, diplomas, etc.), please request that that applicant share these with the host directly.

Phase 3: InterExchange Application Review Process

Review Period

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.

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.

Phase 4: Pre-Departure Preparations

InterExchange provides participants with a program resource guide and our Inside the USA guide, but you should develop additional pre-departure materials and orientation programs to prepare participants for their time in the U.S. We also require that participants complete a mandatory online orientation, which can be accessed through their online application dashboard.

This orientation is 45 minutes and gives participants an overview of what to expect in the U.S. and how to prepare for their program. Participants should complete this orientation prior to arriving in the U.S. but must do so no later than 10 days after arrival or they will not be permitted to remain in the U.S.

This is a very important requirement, and we request your assistance with ensuring your participants complete the orientation. In addition to our resources, participants are encouraged to seek out additional information on their own as well.


InterExchange does not provide housing. Some employers offer housing as part of the participant’s compensation, but most employers are not able to supply this benefit. However, employers can provide participants with resources like local websites and apps to find affordable options. Additionally, employers are familiar with their cities and can advise participants on which neighborhoods to search and the expected price ranges for each location.

We also encourage International Cooperators to serve as a resource. You may consider putting new participants in touch with past or current participants who have lived in the same cities to ask for recommendations and advice. Further, some participants pass along apartments and cars to incoming participants once their program ends. Anything you can do to facilitate this sort of sharing process will benefit the participants. You may also refer participants to the Housing Information section of our website.

During the initial screening process, you will determine whether potential applicants are prepared for a cultural exchange program. It is recommended that you discuss topics such as culture shock and the differences between their home country and the U.S., especially with regard to American culture and business practices. The more information you provide, the better prepared participants will be once they arrive in the U.S.

Please feel free to refer participants to our Cultural Compass feature to find tips and recommendations for learning about life in the U.S., as well as our tips on managing culture shock.

Phase 5: Arrival in the U.S.

InterExchange Career Training USA Contact Information

Once in the U.S., participants must contact InterExchange with any questions or concerns regarding their program and visa. We can be reached at our toll free number: 1-(888)-621-1202. Participants should always use this number during business hours: Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST. If there is an emergency (the participant is hospitalized, arrested, detained by immigration officials, etc.) outside business hours, participants may call our emergency line: 1-(917)-373-0994.

Some participants may have already developed a relationship with you and feel more comfortable reaching out to you. However, you must inform us of any concerns participants may express to you either before or after they arrive in the U.S. and instruct them to contact InterExchange first when they are in the U.S. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Workplace Problems
  • Training Plan Updates
  • Accidents and Injuries
  • Early Departure Plans

The safety and well-being of our participants is our top priority, and we appreciate your help in ensuring they have a successful stay in the U.S. Upon arrival, participants become our responsibility, and it is imperative they notify us immediately with any problems, questions or concerns.

Participants can arrive in the U.S. up to 30 days before their program start date. Within 10 days of arrival, participants’ records need to be activated in SEVIS.

They must complete the Arrival Form to let us know they have arrived and to provide us with their residential address and phone number. Instructions on completing this form are sent to participants a few days before their program start date. If they do not complete this, their programs will be canceled and they will either be asked to leave the U.S. or they will need to pay a fee to have their record reinstated in SEVIS. Further, until their SEVIS record is activated, participants will not be able to apply for a Social Security Number, which is required in order to receive compensation and to obtain a bank account, driver’s license, and sometimes even an apartment.

Any change of address during the program must be updated in SEVIS within 10 days of the change. Participants should also notify InterExchange immediately of any changes to their email address in order to ensure they continue receiving program information and updates. We will contact participants monthly to verify that we still have their correct information; failure to respond to our request within 10 days will result in removal from the program. Maintaining accurate SEVIS information is essential, as is responding to all communications sent from InterExchange Career Training USA.

Advise participants to be aware of the Wilberforce Act, which protects them from human trafficking and abuse. Advise them of safety measures to prevent trafficking.

Please view the following pamphlet for more information:

Encourage them to become familiar with the program information available in our Participant Resource Center, especially the section on Health & Safety.

Phase 6: During the Program

Conflict Resolution & Crisis Management

We hope that after an initial adjustment period, participants will progress through the program with few to no problems. If there is a major illness or emergency or if a participant is arrested, we will notify you so that you may inform the participant’s family or emergency contact of the situation.

Though rare, there are occasions when participants are problematic in the workplace, thus resulting in program termination. You will be notified in such situations, and we ask for your assistance in communicating with participants to resolve any issues that may arise as a result of the termination. If we feel participants should not be placed with other employers, we ask for your support in ensuring they make the proper arrangements to return home.

If an employer is not following the training plan, a participant is not being supervised or trained, or a participant feels they are a victim of any sort of discrimination or abuse, InterExchange needs to be notified immediately so that we can speak with the employer or remove the participant from the environment if necessary.

Participants whose positions are terminated or who need to leave their positions for a valid reason may find a new position and submit a Change of Host application within 30 days of terminating the original training. Participants must request an application from InterExchange and explain why the Change of Host is necessary.

Participants may not begin an internship or training program with a new host company until a Change of Host application has been submitted and approved by InterExchange. If participants leave their positions without contacting InterExchange, we will terminate their programs, and they will be required to leave the United States immediately.

If participants would prefer to leave the U.S. rather than apply for a Change of Host, they must inform InterExchange immediately.

If participants end their programs more than 15 days before their original completion date, we are required to end their program in SEVIS upon notification. Under these circumstances, when a participant’s program is ended in SEVIS, the participant has 30 days to leave the U.S. Participants who are terminated from the program must exit the U.S. immediately or risk incurring negative immigration status.

Participants who wish to travel outside the U.S. during their program must have their DS-2019 signed by InterExchange. Participants should contact InterExchange directly to schedule an in-person appointment or receive instructions for mailing their DS-2019 to our office.

Cultural exchange occurs when people gain a more in-depth understanding and knowledge about another country, its culture, customs, and day-to-day practices through person-to-person contact. To help participants explore different cultural activities while in the U.S., we’ve developed a comprehensive state-by-state online resource.

Please ask participants to read through these options and encourage them to participate in activities with the new American friends they make during their programs. They should also ask their supervisors about other ways they can enjoy their time in the U.S. and how they can share their own culture with colleagues, too. We’ve added a section on Cultural Activity Ideas for Host Employers in the host handbook to assist organizations engage their participants in cultural exchange.

Phase 7: Program Extensions or Completion

Program Extensions

Participants who have a good experience in the U.S. often want to extend their programs. As long as they are not currently pursuing the maximum number of months permitted for their program, they may apply to extend their program up to the maximum number (12-month maximum for interns and any hospitality trainees; 18 months for all other trainees). For example, if a trainee’s original program is 6 months long, the trainee may extend the program for 12 more months to train the full 18 months allowed by program regulations.

Participants should apply directly to InterExchange for an extension no earlier than 60 days and no later than 30 days prior to the original program end date. There is an additional program fee for extensions that must be submitted with the application. If the extension is approved, InterExchange will issue an updated DS-2019, which covers the extension period. This new form should be kept with the original DS-2019, J-1 Visa, and I-94 printout or card.

Please note that although a participant’s program is extended, their visa expires on the date indicated on the visa itself. If participants leave the country after the visa’s expiration date, they cannot return to the U.S. without re-applying for a visa, even though they have been granted a program extension. The date on the DS-2019 is the date through which the participant is eligible to intern or train, but only a valid visa will permit a participant to enter the U.S.

Participants are only permitted to intern or train between the program begin and end dates indicated on their DS-2019 Form or Extension DS-2019 Form. Shortly before participants’ programs end, InterExchange sends an email reminding them that once their end dates pass, they may not continue their internships/training programs. All participants may remain in the U.S. for up to 30 days past their program end date (unless otherwise specified on the arrival stamp in the participant’s passport).

Many participants use this time to travel within the U.S. or to prepare to travel home. During this time, participants should not travel beyond U.S. borders other than for non-return trips. Once the grace period is in effect, the visa will, in most cases, have expired and participants will not be able to re-enter the U.S.

Participants and host employers who have not yet completed their final evaluations will receive reminders to complete them, as they are a program requirement.

Any participant who fails to submit their final evaluation will not complete their program in good standing. This could impact future visa applications in the U.S., as InterExchange will not be able to issue a letter confirming good standing. Similarly, any host who fails to submit evaluations will be unable to host future participants until all outstanding evaluations are completed.

Programs 6 months in length and longer require both midpoint and final evaluations of all participants and hosts.

Once participants return home, we encourage them to share their experiences with other students and young professionals, since one of the best methods of continued program success and advertising is through word of mouth. Some International Cooperators ask past participants to serve as program ambassadors. Past participants could provide quotes or testimonials that you could use in your recruitment materials, or they could speak about their experience at fairs or presentations. Sharing one’s experience with others also helps to further the goals of cultural exchange programs, as others can benefit from the knowledge and experience gained by the participants.

We hope that all of your participants have an enjoyable, educational, and professionally valuable experience in the U.S. As we continue to work together to promote cultural exchange, we look forward to learning more from you and your participants’ experiences. Please feel free to contact InterExchange at any time with questions and concerns or to let us know how we can make your role as an International Cooperator more effective.

The U.S. government sees regulations as the foundation to ensure good programs but looks to sponsors to implement best practices. Although there are many rules and regulations placed on the program by the federal government, InterExchange defines its own application process. Suggestions from you will always be appreciated – you are experiencing this program from a different perspective, so please feel free to share any feedback you feel would benefit you, your fellow International Cooperators, and especially the participants.

As always, we look forward to working with you and your participants.


DEPENDENTS: The spouse and minor unmarried children of an exchange visitor who are accompanying the exchange visitor to the U.S. A minor is a person under the age of 21 years old. Dependents are issued the J-2 Visa.

DS-2019 FORM: The Certificate of Eligibility for the Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status. It is a U.S. Department of State document issued to exchange visitors by J-1 visa sponsors. DS-2019 forms must be presented at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in order to apply for the J-1 Visa and anytime a participant enters the United States.

DS-7002 FORM: The Training/Internship Placement Plan. It is a U.S. Department of State-controlled document where the host outlines the training they will offer, skills they will teach the participant, and ways they will engage in cultural exchange with the participant. For the convenience of hosts, the PDF of the training plan is automatically generated by Career Training USA’s application system using the host’s responses.

EXCHANGE VISITOR: A foreign national who has been selected by a sponsor to participate in an exchange visitor program and who is seeking to enter the United States temporarily on a J–1 Visa.

HOST COMPANY/EMPLOYER: A U.S. company at which an intern or trainee pursues an internship or practical training program.

INTERN: A foreign national who either (i) is currently enrolled in and pursuing studies at a degree- or certificate-granting post-secondary academic institution outside the United States or (ii) graduated from such an institution no more than 12 months prior to his/her exchange visitor program begin date.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATOR: A partner who helps to market J-1 intern/trainee programs, recruit and pre-screen applicants, assist applicants in the application and pre-departure phases, and serve as an in-country contact and liaison between InterExchange and potential participants.

INTERNSHIP PROGRAM: A structured and guided work-based learning program as set forth in an individualized Training/Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP) that reinforces a student’s or recent graduate’s academic study, recognizes the need for work-based experience, provides on-the-job exposure to American techniques, methodologies, and expertise, and enhances the Intern’s knowledge of American culture and society.

J-1 VISA: A non-immigrant visa issued to participants in a U.S. Department of State Exchange Visitor Program. J-1 Visas are required to enter the U.S. for the purpose of participating in an internship or practical training program.

J-1 VISA SPONSOR: A cultural or educational exchange organization, such as InterExchange, designated by the U.S. Department of State to administer educational programs for foreign exchange visitors. The Visa Sponsor determines applicants’ eligibility and issues the DS-2019 form.

J-2 VISA: A visa issued to spouses and dependents of the J-1 Visa holder. J-2 Visa holders are permitted to accompany J-1 Visa holders to the U.S.

SEVIS FEE: A $220 fee paid by interns and trainees to the United States Department of Homeland Security to cover the cost of administering SEVIS. The SEVIS fee is non-refundable and must be paid before applying for the J-1 Visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The SEVIS Fee is included in the program fee and will be paid directly by InterExchange on participants’ behalf.

SEVIS ID NUMBER: A 10-digit number preceded by the letter N that is generated when a J-1 Visa sponsor creates an exchange visitor record in SEVIS. A participant’s SEVIS identification number appears at the top left corner of the DS-2019 form.

STUDENT AND EXCHANGE VISITOR INFORMATION SYSTEM (SEVIS): An internet-based system that maintains accurate and current information on J-1 Visa holders for the duration of their internship or training program in the United States. J-1 sponsors are responsible for ensuring that information in SEVIS is accurate for J-1 Exchange Visitors, and interns and trainees are required to inform sponsors of changes of address, phone number, or employment.

THIRD PARTY: An entity cooperating with or assisting the sponsor in the conduct of the sponsor’s program.

TRAINEE: A foreign national who has either: (i) a degree or professional certificate from a foreign post-secondary academic institution and at least one year of prior related work experience in their occupational field acquired outside the United States, or (ii) five years of work experience outside the United States in their occupational field.

TRAINING PROGRAM: A structured and guided work-based learning program set forth in an individualized Trainee/Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP) that enhances both a trainee’s understanding of American culture and society and their skills in their occupational field through exposure to American techniques, methodologies, and expertise.


Sample DS-2019 Form

Sample Form DS-2019
Sample Form DS-2019

Sample J-1 Visa

The J-1 Visa
Sample J-1 Visa

U.S. Department of State Regulations

The U.S. Department of State’s Code of Federal Regulations for the Intern and Trainee Programs can be found here: