Less than 20% of placements left! Want to work & travel in Canada? ūüá®ūüᶠSign up today! (for U.S. passport holders only)
Want to work & travel in Canada? ūüá®ūüᶠSign up today!
Share your adventures from a cultural immersion summer through American Adventure Quest now.
Resource
Page
Hosts
Career Training USA
USA
Intern & Trainee
Career Training USA

Intern & Trainee Host Resources

These resources are intended to help answer any questions you have about hosting international interns and trainees for U.S. businesses.

Frequently Asked Questions

The questions and answers below are designed to help you host talented international interns and trainees. If you have a question that’s not answered here, just call, email, or message us on WhatsApp.

General Program Information

What does InterExchange Career Training USA do?

InterExchange Career Training USA helps U.S. businesses benefit from hosting international internship and training programs. InterExchange is designated by the U.S. Department of State to provide J-1 Visa sponsorship to international interns and trainees who meet our J-1 program requirements.

The primary objectives of InterExchange Career Training USA are to enhance the skills and expertise of exchange visitors in their academic or occupational fields through structured and guided programs that improve participants’ knowledge of American techniques, methodologies, and technology. Participation in our Career Training USA program must not be used as a substitute for ordinary employment or work purposes nor may it be used to displace American workers.

Internship programs are work-based learning opportunities in students’ or recent graduates’ academic fields that enable them to develop practical skills that will enhance their future careers and bridge the gap between formal education and practical work experience. Trainee programs must include bonafide training and cannot simply be additional work experience.

The program increases international participants’ understanding of American culture, while also enhancing Americans’ knowledge of foreign cultures, customs and practices. Through this program, the U.S. Government builds partnerships, promotes mutual understanding, and develops relationships and extended networks that will last through generations as participants move into leadership roles in a broad range of occupational fields in their home countries.

International interns and trainees bring an international perspective, foreign language skills, and a variety of other talents and experiences. Additionally, trainees can be part of your company longer than most American interns‚ÄĒup to 18 months‚ÄĒand can begin their program at any time during the year. Learn more about the benefits of international internships and trainee programs.

The program is very affordable. There are no program, visa, or placement fees for employers to host an international intern or trainee.

If you are an employer with fewer than 25 employees and less than three million dollars in annual revenue, we are required by program regulations to perform a site visit at your organization. There is a one-time fee of $250 to perform a site visit. If your company is approved and you successfully host an intern/trainee through the program, no additional visits or fees will be required.

The¬†J-1 Visa¬†is a non-immigrant visa issued through the¬†BridgeUSA Program. There are 15 J-1 Visa categories, and InterExchange Career Training USA offers the ‚ÄúIntern‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúTrainee‚ÄĚ categories.

Once approved for J-1 Visa sponsorship by InterExchange, all Career Training USA participants, except Canadian citizens, will be required to interview at a U.S. embassy/consulate in order to be granted a J-1 visa.

Review our participant eligibility requirements on our website.

Please review the host employer requirements on our website to determine eligibility.

InterExchange is designated to sponsor programs in a wide range of fields that fall under the following categories:

  • Arts & Culture
  • Information Media and Communications
  • Management, Business, Commerce and Finance
  • Public Administration and Law
  • The Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics and Industrial Occupations
  • Hospitality and Tourism

If you are unsure whether the internship or training program you are offering falls under our list of fields, please contact InterExchange.

Not all employers are permitted to host through InterExchange. We cannot approve participants for sponsorship at the following locations:

  • Agricultural settings, such as farms or in wineries‚Äô harvesting operations
  • Arcades
  • Behavioral health facilities
  • Bridal companies
  • Camps (Consider our Camp USA program for camp positions)
  • Candy stores, mall kiosks, boardwalk booths, and stands
  • Convenience and grocery stores or superettes/mini-markets (consider our¬†Work & Travel USA¬†program for seasonal positions)
  • Call center, customer service, or phone operators, including tech and help desk support
  • Farms
  • Fast food or quick service restaurants or bakeries (consider our¬†Work & Travel USA¬†program for seasonal positions)
  • Fitness studios, gyms, pools, dance studios, personal training, or coaching
  • Garages
  • Gardens or parks
  • Gas stations or toll plazas
  • Landscaping companies
  • Pool management companies
  • Real estate agencies
  • Retail stores or locations and boutiques
  • Schools and other instructional facilities
  • Spas, salons, or dog grooming companies
  • Staffing agencies

In addition, we are not able to sponsor programs in which interns or trainees would participate in:

  • Animal care
  • Child care
  • Elder care
  • Clinical work that involves any patient care or contact
  • Sports or physical therapy
  • Psychological counseling
  • Nursing
  • Dentistry
  • Veterinary medicine
  • Social work
  • Speech therapy
  • Early childhood education

If you require staff at one of the locations mentioned above or would like seasonal staff to assist with tasks that are not appropriate for Career Training USA participants, our Work & Travel USA program may be able to help meet your needs.

Yes, the following requirements apply to hotel/hospitality management, hotel food and beverage management, restaurant management, and culinary arts.

  • InterExchange does not permit business-only or non-hospitality programs at hotels, resorts, inns, or restaurants.
  • Interns and Trainees wishing to train in hospitality or restaurant management positions must have hospitality or restaurant management education (interns) or work experience (trainees) in order to be able to rotate through various departments.
  • At least three rotations for programs six months or longer is required by the regulations. No rotation may be more than three or four months long, and each department must have sufficient, qualified staff to offer adequate training.
    • NOTE:¬†InterExchange will not be able to sponsor Hospitality programs with Housekeeping Management phases.
  • Per the U.S. Department of State regulations, all Hospitality Management, Restaurant Management and Culinary programs are limited to 12 months regardless of whether the individual is an Intern or Trainee.
  • Hospitality Interns and Trainees may not return to properties at which they have previously worked on a Work and Travel program or other work visa.
  • Education or work experience only in Tourism Management does not qualify Interns or Trainees for programs in Hospitality Management, as those fields are not interchangeable.
Eligible Locations
HotelsRestaurants
Should be rated 3-Diamond or higher by AAA, or rated 4-Star and above by Forbes.Must be high-end, fine dining, sit-down restaurants OR full-service banquet halls.
All unrated properties will be considered on a case-by-case basis.All properties will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Non-Eligible Locations
HotelsRestaurants
MotelsNational chains, casual dining restaurants, pubs, pizza parlors
HostelsFast food, delivery/takeout restaurants, bakeries
Hotels that do not meet the above requirementsKiosks, stands, food trucks
Acceptable Types of Training

Remember that participants must rotate through departments and roles. Therefore, they may train in any given category for only one phase.

Hotel/Hospitality ManagementRestaurant/Food and Beverage ManagementCulinary Arts
Front DeskRestaurant/Food and Beverage ManagementKitchen equipment and food-handling safety training
ConciergeRestaurant Inventory or Management/BuyingRecipe development
Hotel or Restaurant Inventory/BuyingCatering/Event PlanningInventory/food sourcing
Back Office/Business ManagementStaff Training and DevelopmentDifferent stations/food styles
Food and Beverage ManagementRestaurant Business AreasMenu planning

For questions about other types of tasks, please contact InterExchange.

Prohibited training tasks or positions
Hotel/Hospitality ManagementAll Areas
ValetCashier
BellhopDishwashing
DishwashingBussing Tables
LaundryBartending
Serving/HostingDelivery
Bussing TablesRunning Food
BartendingServing
Night audit or any training that occurs in the overnight hours 
Maintenance 
Housekeeping 

As part of an overall management training, participants may briefly train in hosting, waiting tables, food preparation, etc. to learn basic skills needed to pursue management-level training within a department. However, the combination of such basic tasks may NOT exceed 20% of the entire training program. For culinary participants, food preparation may constitute a larger percentage of their program but only for high-skill tasks contributing to their training.

Host employers who require wait staff, housekeepers, bellhops, short order cooks, etc., are encouraged to learn more about our InterExchange Work & Travel USA program.

About Interns & Trainees

What’s the difference between an intern and a trainee?

Review the differences and requirements for the intern and trainee categories on our website.

Interns and trainees may begin their programs any day of the year.

Interns can train for up to 12 months. Trainees can train for up to 18 months, except for Hospitality and Tourism Trainees, who may only train for a maximum of 12 months.

We can provide visa sponsorship for applicants from any country in the world, provided the candidate meets program requirements.

No, the J-1 Intern and Trainee Visas are temporary exchange visitor visas designated for the purposes of training‚ÄĒnot for regular employment. For more information regarding work visas, please visit¬†www.uscis.gov.

No, per the J-1 Visa regulations, interns and trainees are not allowed to have second jobs. They are only permitted to intern or train for the organization on their DS-2019 Form.

Application Process

Do you have a pool of intern and trainee candidates?

No. InterExchange Career Training USA does not offer placement services so we do not have candidates that we can recommend.

We recommend that you and your participants begin the application no less than 6 to 8 weeks before the intended program start date. Our review time is approximately 10 days once we receive both a complete application and full payment. We cannot review your application until all documents and payment have been submitted.

If a site visit is required, the review process may take longer. Please note that wait times for visa appointments can be longer than average during the summer months, so make sure to plan accordingly.

You can either sign up and invite your interns/trainees to the online application or ask them to apply online and then invite you to the application.

The training plan should include a detailed outline of what the internship/training program involves, including what the interns/trainees will be doing and how they will be trained by your organization. There should be a rotation or phase for every 3-4 months of training, and each phase must be different and build off the previous phases.

The training plan you create for your participants is a legally binding document, and the training you offer during the program should match what’s outlined in the plan. Keep in mind that the training program cannot include unskilled labor or more than 20% clerical work. Your interns or trainees should be doing professional-level tasks, with ongoing training and supervision by your team. Remember that the participants are here for cultural exchange and training and are not meant to be viewed as normal employees or assistants. Misuse of the program is considered visa fraud.

Please see our Guide to Developing a Successful Training Program.

Once you have successfully hosted a J-1 participant through our program, you can visit an existing training plan and copy phases to your new participant by using the Copy Phases button.

Check out our suggestions for cultural activities, including company activities and traditions, sporting events, happy hours, and holiday parties.

All host employers must provide the following required documents:

  • Proof of a workers‚Äô compensation policy or equivalent insurance that covers J-1 participants (or proof of exemption)
  • Either a DUNS number or copy of your business registration
    • Obtain your business registration¬†here
  • A Federal Identification Number

You can make a payment on our website. Please remember to select Career Training USA as your program and to list the name of the applicants in the Description. Once the payment has been made, please send the receipt so we can mark the participants off as paid and begin the application review process.

The decision to grant a visa is the U.S. Embassy’s/Consulate’s alone. While visa denials are rare, they do occur. InterExchange has no control over the U.S. Embassy’s/Consulate’s decision to grant or deny a visa application, but we will discuss options with you and your participants if they are denied a visa.

Not all employers are permitted to host through InterExchange. We cannot approve participants for sponsorship at the following locations:

  • Agricultural settings, such as farms or in wineries‚Äô harvesting operations
  • Arcades
  • Behavioral health facilities
  • Bridal companies
  • Camps (Consider our Camp USA program for camp positions)
  • Candy stores, mall kiosks, boardwalk booths, and stands
  • Convenience and grocery stores or superettes/mini-markets (consider our¬†Work & Travel USA¬†program for seasonal positions)
  • Call center, customer service, or phone operators, including tech and help desk support
  • Farms
  • Fast food or quick service restaurants or bakeries (consider our¬†Work & Travel USA¬†program for seasonal positions)
  • Fitness studios, gyms, pools, dance studios, personal training, or coaching
  • Garages
  • Gardens or parks
  • Gas stations or toll plazas
  • Landscaping companies
  • Pool management companies
  • Real estate agencies
  • Retail stores or locations and boutiques
  • Schools and other instructional facilities
  • Spas, salons, or dog grooming companies
  • Staffing agencies

In addition, we are not able to sponsor programs in which interns or trainees would participate in:

  • Animal care
  • Child care
  • Elder care
  • Clinical work that involves any patient care or contact
  • Sports or physical therapy
  • Psychological counseling
  • Nursing
  • Dentistry
  • Veterinary medicine
  • Social work
  • Speech therapy
  • Early childhood education

If you require staff at one of the locations mentioned above or would like seasonal staff to assist with tasks that are not appropriate for Career Training USA participants, our Work & Travel USA program may be able to help meet your needs.

Yes, the following requirements apply to hotel/hospitality management, hotel food and beverage management, restaurant management, and culinary arts.

  • InterExchange does not permit business-only or non-hospitality programs at hotels, resorts, inns, or restaurants.
  • Interns and Trainees wishing to train in hospitality or restaurant management positions must have hospitality or restaurant management education (interns) or work experience (trainees) in order to be able to rotate through various departments.
  • At least three rotations for programs six months or longer is required by the regulations. No rotation may be more than three or four months long, and each department must have sufficient, qualified staff to offer adequate training.
    • NOTE:¬†InterExchange will not be able to sponsor Hospitality programs with Housekeeping Management phases.
  • Per the U.S. Department of State regulations, all Hospitality Management, Restaurant Management and Culinary programs are limited to 12 months regardless of whether the individual is an Intern or Trainee.
  • Hospitality Interns and Trainees may not return to properties at which they have previously worked on a Work and Travel program or other work visa.
  • Education or work experience only in Tourism Management does not qualify Interns or Trainees for programs in Hospitality Management, as those fields are not interchangeable.
Eligible Locations
HotelsRestaurants
Should be rated 3-Diamond or higher by AAA, or rated 4-Star and above by Forbes.Must be high-end, fine dining, sit-down restaurants OR full-service banquet halls.
All unrated properties will be considered on a case-by-case basis.All properties will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Non-Eligible Locations
HotelsRestaurants
MotelsNational chains, casual dining restaurants, pubs, pizza parlors
HostelsFast food, delivery/takeout restaurants, bakeries
Hotels that do not meet the above requirementsKiosks, stands, food trucks
Acceptable Types of Training

Remember that participants must rotate through departments and roles. Therefore, they may train in any given category for only one phase.

Hotel/Hospitality ManagementRestaurant/Food and Beverage ManagementCulinary Arts
Front DeskRestaurant/Food and Beverage ManagementKitchen equipment and food-handling safety training
ConciergeRestaurant Inventory or Management/BuyingRecipe development
Hotel or Restaurant Inventory/BuyingCatering/Event PlanningInventory/food sourcing
Back Office/Business ManagementStaff Training and DevelopmentDifferent stations/food styles
Food and Beverage ManagementRestaurant Business AreasMenu planning

For questions about other types of tasks, please contact InterExchange.

Prohibited training tasks or positions
Hotel/Hospitality ManagementAll Areas
ValetCashier
BellhopDishwashing
DishwashingBussing Tables
LaundryBartending
Serving/HostingDelivery
Bussing TablesRunning Food
BartendingServing
Night audit or any training that occurs in the overnight hours 
Maintenance 
Housekeeping 

As part of an overall management training, participants may briefly train in hosting, waiting tables, food preparation, etc. to learn basic skills needed to pursue management-level training within a department. However, the combination of such basic tasks may NOT exceed 20% of the entire training program. For culinary participants, food preparation may constitute a larger percentage of their program but only for high-skill tasks contributing to their training.

Host employers who require wait staff, housekeepers, bellhops, short order cooks, etc., are encouraged to learn more about our InterExchange Work & Travel USA program.

Compensation & Taxes

Should I pay my intern or trainee?

Trainees must be paid at least the local, state, or federal minimum wage, whichever is highest. Interns must be paid at least minimum wage if their program will be longer than 6 months or if it does not meet the Department of Labor’s test for unpaid interns (for programs of any length). Compensation and benefits should be determined with participants prior to their arrival in the U.S.

Most interns and trainees will need to apply for a Social Security Number after they arrive in the U.S. The application process could take 4-6 weeks, but participants should be allowed to continue training and get paid while they wait for their card to be issued. They will need to provide you with a receipt from the SSA that shows that they have applied for their Social Security Number. If interns or trainees have previously earned income in the U.S., they should have a Social Security number and card already.

You should first consult your payroll administrator or an HR professional.

If your company uses E-Verify, and your participants have not yet received a Social Security number, make a note on their Form I-9 and set it aside. The participants are still allowed to continue to train. As soon as your participants receive a number, you can create a case in E-Verify.

You can also follow these instructions on W-4s provided by the IRS:

You are not required to provide housing, but we do encourage you to offer some assistance to your interns/trainees as they seek housing in the U.S. InterExchange Career Training USA provides participants with a number of general resources on housing, transportation, and U.S. culture, but since we have participants located all across the U.S., you will be your participants’ best resource on finding housing and getting around in your local area. Consider offering your participants advice on the best neighborhoods, typical housing prices, and the best websites to use to look for housing.

No. Interns and trainees are able to arrange their own transportation independently, though you may offer assistance if you wish.

All InterExchange Career Training USA participants have basic accident and sickness insurance that meets U.S. State Department requirements. This covers medical care if they get sick or injured while in the U.S., but it does not cover preventative care or pre-existing conditions. If you would like to add them to your health insurance plan so they can seek general care in addition to emergency care, you are welcome to do so, but they cannot waive their coverage of the accident and sickness coverage included in their program fee. This plan provides some required benefits mandated by the U.S. State Department that normal health insurance plans do not.

Yes, both interns and trainees who are paid by their host employers are required to pay income tax. However, participants on a J-1 Visa are considered non-resident aliens, so they are exempt from paying Social Security (FICA), Medicare, and federal unemployment (FUTA) taxes and these should not be withheld from their paychecks. Please consult a tax professional to find out if participants are exempt from state unemployment taxes in your state.

Participants who are paid must file a U.S. tax return for the calendar year during which they trained with your company, even if they are no longer in the U.S. Make sure to send the participants their W-2 forms when it is time to file a tax return.

Support During the Program

What level of support does InterExchange Career Training USA offer throughout the program?

We offer 24-hour support throughout the entire program to hosts, interns, and trainees. We are open M-F 9:30am-5:30pm ET for general questions and concerns.

Our emergency line is (917) 373-0994 for any after-hour emergencies that arise. Call or email us us with any questions you may have regarding the program.

First ensure that your business still meets all program requirements, including the J-1 exchange visitor to full-time employee ratio, and then invite your intern or trainee candidate(s) to your application.

If you feel that your interns or trainees are not meeting your expectations, we ask that you first talk to the participants to make your expectations known and develop a performance improvement plan. We have found that a frank discussion about workplace issues often solves the problem. However, please do keep in mind that this is a training program. Your expectations for work and performance should be different than they are for normal employees.

Career Training USA is also available to talk to the interns or trainees to help resolve any issues. If the situation does not improve and you need to terminate the interns or trainees, please notify InterExchange Career Training USA as soon as possible so that we can assist your participants with any questions regarding visa status.

If your participants have not yet met the maximum program length, you may be able to extend their programs. The maximum duration of the Internship program is 12 months and the maximum duration of the Trainee program is 18 months (12 months for Hospitality/Tourism). Extensions must demonstrate a plan for new and advanced training, which should build off of the initial training program.

No. Participants must leave the U.S. at the end of their J-1 Visa programs, as this is a temporary cultural exchange program. Leaving the U.S. at the end of the program is a necessary part of completing the exchange, and this is specified in the federal program regulations for the J-1 Visa. It may be possible for the participants to return on work visas in the future but we are unable to assist or advise on this.

Welcome to InterExchange

Thank you for your decision to host an international intern or trainee through the InterExchange Career Training USA program! InterExchange brings more than 50 years of experience, as well as knowledge and enthusiasm, to the world of international cultural exchange, and we look forward to working with you throughout the program.

As a host employer, you play a very important role in ensuring that the goals and objectives of the J-1 Intern/Trainee exchange visitor program are met.

Remember to keep us updated about any changes to your email address or phone number so you can be sure to receive important program-related updates. 

Welcome to the Career Training USA program. We wish you a very successful program!

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

Per the program regulations, the primary objectives of the Intern and Trainee programs 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 is that participants will return to their home countries upon completing their programs and share their experiences with their countrymen.

The Intern/Trainee J-1 Visa (together with the DS-2019 Form) allows the participant to:

  • Intern/Train in the U.S. during the dates listed on the DS-2019 Form
  • Apply for a Social Security number

This visa does not allow the participant to:

  • Perform unskilled labor or provide medical patient or child care
  • Extend his or her work eligibility or program participation past 12 months for interns or hospitality trainees and past 18 months for all other trainees
  • Intern/train for more than one host employer at the same time
  • Intern/train for fewer than 32 hours a week or perform more than 20 percent clerical work

Applying for J-1 Visa Sponsorship

We are thrilled that you are interested in hosting an international intern or trainee at your organization! The resources below will guide you through the application process. Watch this instructional video for tips on completing your host application and beginning your participant’s Training Plan. 

Attend the Host Orientation
  • Sign up for the mandatory Host Orientation
    • It is required that the Main Program Supervisor attends before the application can be approved, but anyone on your team may also attend!

Upon logging in to your account, familiarize yourself with the four tabs located under your company name.

  • Company Basics:
    • These details should reflect your company as a whole, but the address listed must be the exact location where your participant will be training.
    • You will only need to complete the Company Basics once. The information will be saved and carried over for future applicants. Do not revise the Company Basics unless there has been a change in address, phone number, DUNS #, FEIN #, or Annual Revenue for this specific location.
    • If your company has multiple locations, you will need a Host Organization Record for EACH site.¬†Contact us to add additional locations to your account.
  • Contacts:
    • In the Contacts tab, use the ‚ÄúInvite Host Contact‚ÄĚ button in the upper right hand corner to invite any colleagues who will be involved in your participant‚Äôs training or who should have access to your company record. Each individual who accesses our system must have their own account.
    • Only members of your organization, with company email addresses, may have access to training plans.
  • Documents:
    • Upload the required documents.
      • Workers‚Äô Compensation Insurance: Upload either a copy of your current Workers Compensation policy certificate, proof of exemption, or proof of equivalent coverage, if applicable. The policy must demonstrate coverage for the site of activity where the participant will be training. (See samples.)
      • Business License: If you did not provide a Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS) Number in the Company Basics section, upload a copy of your business license or registration.
  • Training Plans:
    • Use the ‚ÄúInvite Participant‚ÄĚ button at the top of the Training Plans tab to invite additional interns/trainees to begin an application with you. Note: Do not use this button to invite your colleagues to your company record ‚Äď invite them through the Contacts tab only.
  • In the ‚ÄúTraining Plans‚ÄĚ tab, select the participant whose application you would like to complete by clicking on their name or photo.¬†
  • Click ‚ÄúStart‚ÄĚ to complete each section. Once completed, a green check mark will appear.¬†
    • Company Basics
      • Confirm the information is accurate. The address listed must be the exact location where your participant will be training. If you have multiple office locations, contact us to add additional locations to your current employer record.
    • Program Information
      • Ensure there are at least 5 full-time on-site employees per J-1 Intern or Trainee. This excludes interns, temps, or independent contractors.
      • Select a Main Program Supervisor for the participant. This will be InterExchange‚Äôs primary contact for this specific participant.
    • Compensation
      • All Trainees and all Interns whose programs are longer than 6-months must receive at least minimum wage, whichever is highest of federal, state, or local minimum wage. Programs over 6-months cannot be unpaid. Review the program compensation requirements.
    • Host Employer Agreement
      • This must be signed in order to send the Training Plan to the Participant. It may only be signed by an employee from their own InterExchange account. If needed, invite additional colleagues to the system through the ‚ÄúContacts‚ÄĚ tab.¬†

The DS-7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan, or the ‚ÄúTraining Plan,‚ÄĚ is a Department of State-required document for all J-1 Interns and Trainees. The purpose of the Training Plan is to create a comprehensive framework of what the Intern or Trainee will learn and how they will be trained throughout their program. The data you input into our system will be populated into the official government form.

The Training Plan must be completed in detail, as this document will be presented during the participant’s interview at the U.S. Embassy. It will also be uploaded to SEVIS, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, which is maintained by the Department of Homeland Security.

  • Within your participant‚Äôs Training Plan, scroll down to the ‚ÄúDS-7002/Training Plan Phases‚ÄĚ section and click ‚ÄúAdd Training Plan Phase‚ÄĚ.
    • All training plans must have at least one phase.
    • No phase can exceed 4 months, so you‚Äôll need to add multiple, unique phases if your participant‚Äôs program will be longer than 4 months.¬†
    • There cannot be any gaps between phases (e.g., if the first phase ends on September 2nd, the next phase must begin on September 3rd, even if the 3rd is a weekend or holiday).
    • The cumulative phase dates must exactly match the overall program dates (e.g., the first phase must begin on the program begin date, and the last phase must end on the program end date, with no gaps in between phases).
    • For hospitality programs that are six months or longer, ensure there is a minimum of three departmental rotations and phases. This is a J-1 Intern/Trainee program regulation for all hospitality programs.
  • Each phase must be different and build off the previous phase.
  • Responses should be detailed enough for InterExchange and consular officials to understand what your participant will be doing and learning. We recommend at least 3-4 sentences.
  • Explain industry-specific acronyms or abbreviations following their initial use or in the ‚ÄúAdditional Phase Remarks‚ÄĚ section.
  • Refer to your Intern/Trainee as “the participant” throughout the Training Plan for ease of reusing the plan for future participants.¬†

Select Phase Supervisor

  • Select the phase supervisor from the dropdown list.

    • The phase supervisor is responsible for providing day-to-day, on-site training during this particular phase.
    • The phase supervisor may be different from the main program supervisor (selected in the Program Information host form). The main supervisor is InterExchange‚Äôs point of contact for overall program logistics.
    • The phase supervisor must sign the phase from their own account. If they do not have an account, invite them by clicking ‚ÄúInvite Colleague‚ÄĚ in the ‚ÄúContacts‚ÄĚ tab.

Phase Name

  • Provide a descriptive phase name to indicate the objective, focus, or departmental rotation for this phase.¬†
    • For example:
      ‚ÄúSocial Media Marketing‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúMarketing Analytics‚ÄĚ

Phase Start Date and Phase End Date

  • Indicate the first and last day of the phase. No phase can exceed 4 months. If your program is longer than 4 months, you will need more than one phase!

Description of Trainee/Intern’s role for this program or phase

  • Introduce the general concept of this training phase and the participant‚Äôs role. Clarify how this phase fits into both your company‚Äôs mission and the academic/professional background of the intern/trainee.

    • For example:
      ‚ÄúThe participant will train with Career Training USA‚Äôs Communication Department. They will learn strategies for individual and mass communication with various stakeholders and clients. This phase will build upon their communications coursework in a practical setting.‚ÄĚ

Specific goals and objectives for this program or phase

  • Outline the goals and objectives the training in this phase is intended to accomplish and the expected outcomes. This is not meant to articulate how the participant will help you achieve organizational goals and objectives.

    • For example:
      “The goal of this phase is to strengthen the participant‚Äôs communication skills by teaching different writing styles for various audiences. By the end of the phase, the participant will be able to effectively write content for both native and non-native English speakers, and understand how to both execute and measure communications and outreach campaigns.‚ÄĚ

Please list the names and titles of those who will provide continuous (for example, daily) supervision of the Trainee/Intern, including the primary supervisor. What are these persons’ qualifications to teach the planned learning?

  • Include all phase supervisors‚Äô names, titles, and a brief description of their relevant professional backgrounds that qualify them to provide training in the participant‚Äôs field. The phase supervisor who signs this phase as well as the main program supervisor must be included in the supervisors referenced.

  • Please use this template for each supervisor:
    – Name
    – Title
    – Education
    – Years of experience in the field
    – Years with the organization

    • For example:
      ‚ÄúJane Doe, Communications Manager. MA in Communications. Nine years experience within the communications field, three years at InterExchange.‚ÄĚ

What plans are in place for the Trainee/Intern to participate in cultural activities while in the United States?

  • Since this is a cultural exchange program, you are required to facilitate cultural activities outside the training environment. Provide specific examples of cultural activities that you will facilitate, such as bringing them to your office‚Äôs favorite local restaurant, including them in annual or monthly diversity programming, showing them local holiday celebrations, or including them in company-sponsored events.

  • Please use this template as a starting point for your response:
    – During this phase, we will involve this participant in (list any company sponsored events, ie. happy hour, potluck, holiday celebration, etc.).
    – We plan to show this participant (local museum, monument, attraction, or historic site, etc.).
    – We plan to bring them to (local restaurants, festivals, or volunteer activity, etc.).

    • For example:¬†
      ‚ÄúDuring this phase, we plan to involve the participant in our annual DEI observances of Black History Month, Women‚Äôs History Month, AAPI Heritage Month, and Pride month. We plan to show this participant the City Art Museum and the Local Nature Reserve. Lastly, we plan to bring the participant to our favorite local restaurant, Good Eats, for our regular happy hour. Every year, our organization volunteers with a local food bank, and the participant will be included in this.‚ÄĚ

What specific knowledge, skills, or techniques will be learned?

  • Provide specific examples of what the participant will learn by training in the United States with your organization and how this learning builds upon their previous academic coursework (if they are interns) or upon their previous work experience (if they are trainees).

    • For example:
      ‚ÄúThe participant will learn how to create and manage email, social media, and website content that is attractive, SEO optimized, and catered to individual audiences. They will learn how to write content for and manage communication styles for various audience segments and subscribers. They will enhance their communication skills by learning to create content for webinars and other external communications events.‚ÄĚ

How, specifically, will these knowledge, skills, or techniques be taught? Include specific tasks and activities (Interns) and/or methodology of training and chronology/syllabus (Trainees).

  • In this section, explain the way in which the Intern or Trainee is going to learn the skills you listed previously, and how they will accomplish the goals of the training plan. Be specific! Provide examples for each method or technique that you will use to teach the relevant skills for this phase. Demonstrate a plan for guided training, not simply an assignment of tasks.

    • For example:
      ‚ÄúThe participant will learn by shadowing the manager. During the first weeks of this phase they will be given process documents and style guides to learn best practices. Next, they will be given specific blog posts to write and have critiqued by the manager. They will also be asked to prepare a slate of social media posts for various clients.‚ÄĚ

How will the Trainee/Intern’s acquisition of new skills and competencies be measured?

  • Explain how the Intern or Trainee‚Äôs progress will be evaluated and how you will ensure that the goals and objectives of this phase are achieved. What will a successful training look like for you and your Intern or Trainee? What criteria will you use to determine they‚Äôve achieved the goals for the phase? How will you measure their progress?¬†

    • For example:
      ‚ÄúThe participant will send all work produced to the supervisor for review and critical feedback. They will meet one-on-one twice a week to ask questions, discuss obstacles, learning goals, and pending projects. At the end of this phase a written evaluation will be given to the participant.‚ÄĚ

Additional Phase Remarks (optional)

  • Any miscellaneous information can be added to this section. Hosts may also continue their responses to any of the above questions here.¬†

  • If your office operates on a hybrid model, please note the planned in-office/remote schedule for the participant here, keeping in mind that they may participate remotely no more than 40% of their program (e.g., two out of five days per week).

    • For example:
      ‚ÄúParticipant will train in-office Monday through Thursday and will be remote on Fridays.‚ÄĚ

If your current participant will be completing a similar training program as a past intern/trainee, you can copy the old Training Plan phases to the new application! Copying phases will override any existing phase information, so we recommend copying phases at the beginning of the process.

  • Review this short instructional video to learn how to invite a new participant and copy phases from a previous training plan:

 

To copy phases from a prior participant:

  1. Click on the Training Plans tab in your host record. 
  2. Scroll to find the prior participant whose Training Plan you’d like to copy, then click on their hyperlinked name. 
  3. From there, scroll down to the bottom of the ‚ÄúDS-7002/Training Plan Phases‚ÄĚ section.¬†
  4. Click on the ‚ÄúCopy Phases‚ÄĚ button, found on the bottom right, underneath all of the phases
  5. Then select your new participant to copy the Training Plan to their application
  6. Once copied to your new participant, please review all of the phases and update any specific details relevant to the current participant and time period. 
  7. You are welcome to add new, additional phases as necessary by selecting the ‚ÄúAdd Training Plan Phase‚ÄĚ button.

Complete the following when you’re ready to submit the training plan:

  • Confirm each answer is detailed, thorough, and clear to a person outside of your field. The plan must be specific and cannot include ‚Äúsee previous phase,‚ÄĚ ‚Äúetc,‚ÄĚ ‚Äútbd,‚ÄĚ or any variation.
  • Confirm each phase is unique and builds upon the previous phase(s).
  • Confirm that the plan does not encompass more than 20% clerical tasks.
  • Confirm that each phase is digitally signed by the phase supervisor listed. (The phase supervisor for each phase will sign by clicking the ‚ÄúSign Phase‚ÄĚ button.)
  • Ensure all phase signatures and the Host Employer agreement are signed by the contacts from their own account. Signatures cannot be provided by a proxy or by using another contact‚Äôs login details.
  • All host forms and documents must be completed and each phase must be signed by its respective phase supervisor before the Training Plan can be sent to the participant for review.
  • Once all aspects of your host application are complete, scroll to the bottom of the page and click the blue ‚ÄúSend Training Plan to Participant‚ÄĚ button. This will notify the participant that the training plan is ready for review and will prompt them to sign the Participant Agreement.
    • NOTE: A signed Training Plan does not mean that the application has been submitted to InterExchange for review! Your participant must complete their portion of the application, pay the application fee, and officially submit the application before InterExchange will begin our review process.
  • If you need to make adjustments to Training Plan phases after application submission, please contact InterExchange.
  • If we approve the training plan and overall program after the review process, you will be able to download a copy of the fully executed training plan from your online application.

The InterExchange application review process consists of:

  • Initial Review: Once your participant officially submits the application to InterExchange, it will be entered into ‚ÄúInitial Review.‚ÄĚ During this stage, we take an initial look at the application and notify you within 1-2 business days if anything is needed to deem the application complete (ie. missing documents, etc.) Note that this stage does not include a thorough Training Plan review so we may reach out later in the process with additional Training Plan questions.¬†
  • In Queue: When the participant‚Äôs application is complete, it will be placed ‚ÄúIn Queue‚ÄĚ for formal review.
    • The formal review process will take approximately 10 business days from the day the application has been marked complete and moved into the queue.
  • Under Review: The formal review will take 1-2 business days to complete and will be marked ‚ÄúUnder Review.‚ÄĚ
    • During this portion of the review process, the reviewer will reach out to you if there is any additional information or revisions needed to the DS-7002/Training Plan.
  • Pending Interview: Once the formal review has been completed, the participant‚Äôs application status will be changed to ‚ÄúPending Interview.‚ÄĚ We will schedule an interview with the participant at their earliest convenience.
  • Pending Site Visit: If the interview is successful, but your company requires a site visit, the application status will be changed to ‚ÄúPending Site Visit.‚ÄĚ An InterExchange representative will schedule the visit with you at your convenience.
  • Final Decision: After the interview and site visit (if applicable), you and the participant will receive our final decision via email within 1-2 business days and we will issue the sponsorship documents to your participant.

Once the sponsorship application has been approved by InterExchange, the participant will then apply for their J-1 Visa at their local U.S. Embassy/Consulate. 

  • The participant will need to complete the DS-160 application and attend an interview at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate in order to receive the J-1 Visa.
  • The wait time to schedule visa appointments vary depending on location and time of year. Be sure to check the wait times when deciding on training plan dates!

Host Employer Orientation

Congratulations on starting your InterExchange Host Employer Application!

You’re one step closer to hosting an international intern or trainee, and we’re excited to assist you with the J-1 Intern/Trainee visa sponsorship. If this is your first time working with InterExchange, you will need to complete a mandatory 10-15 minute Host Employer Orientation. We recommend that anyone involved in supervising the training program attend as early as possible, as this orientation provides helpful information for completing the application process.

IMPORTANT: The Main Program Supervisor listed on the Training Plan (the go-to contact for the overall program) must complete the orientation before the participant can be approved for visa sponsorship.

Please join one of the Host Employer Orientation sessions listed below to discuss the Department of State’s program regulations/expectations and InterExchange’s application reviewal and program monitoring procedures.

Please let us know which session you will be attending by registering to the respective orientation time.

NOTE: Each session wil be hosted on GotoWebinar. Please let us know if you are unable to attend one of these orientation times, or if your intern/trainee is scheduled to begin their program less than three weeks before the next available orientation.

Feel free to reach out to¬†[email protected]¬†with any questions or concerns you may have.

Tips for a Successful Program

InterExchange Career Training USA interns and trainees come away from their cultural exchange experience in the U.S. with advanced skills in their career fields, and an expanded professional network. These successful experiences are due in large part to host employers like you who provide exceptional training.

Here’s a list of best practices for employers hosting international interns or trainees.

1. Provide an Orientation and a Company Handbook

A formal introduction to the company is necessary for participants to get familiar with the office environment and meet the staff they will be working with on a daily basis.

  • Familiarize the participant with office culture, how to use office equipment, how to handle emergencies and work-related injuries, and other information that will prepare them to be successful.

  • Include tips about the local area. Providing advice about the best local banks and shops or showing participants around town when they arrive will help them acclimate to their new environment more quickly.

  • Provide participants with access to information about the company and its policies if they have questions. They should understand their benefits as well, such as paid time off, sick days, or office perks.

  • Ensure that you are always providing challenging, professional-level tasks and responsibilities to your participants while also fully supporting them as they learn and have questions.

  • Not only will participants get more out of the experience, but your company will benefit as well.

  • The¬†DS-7002 Training Internship Placement Plan¬†serves as an additional resource for both you and your participants, as it details each of your roles and responsibilities and the training goals.

Many employers comment on how impressed they are with their participants’ behavior and ability to adapt. However, if your participants are having trouble, try to imagine yourself in a similar situation.

Your individual participant may require some extra attention or extra assistance. If you welcome participants properly, treat them fairly and communicate openly, the experience should be mutually enjoyable.

By presenting your expectations in a straightforward and honest manner, participants will be more aware of what they should and should not do. The first impression often sets the tone for the rest of the program.

  • Regular communication with participants will enhance the internship experience for everyone. The majority of misunderstandings arise from poor communication or a cultural difference.

  • In certain cultures, it is not appropriate for subordinates to address concerns with superiors, so it is important to create a communicative atmosphere.

  • If you notice participants are having a difficult time, take the first step and open the conversation. Listen to their concerns, and let them know that it is okay to discuss any issues or concerns they are experiencing.

  • Set schedules and deadlines for participants.

    • Clear schedules and deadlines will help participants know what to expect and can help avoid misunderstandings about their expectations.

Participants will not necessarily understand how to fill in their W-4 forms or what U.S. taxes they will be paying.

  • If participants are being paid, we recommend you discuss all the on-boarding paperwork with them and let them know what to expect in their paycheck after taxes so that they have realistic expectations and can budget accordingly.
  • Check our¬†Tax Resources section¬†for more information regarding Taxes.

Living in the U.S. is expensive and we would advise you to compensate interns, in some way, even if their program qualifies as an unpaid internship.

  • If you are unable to provide a full salary, consider offering a stipend, monthly or hourly wage, or help with transportation, housing, or meal benefits.

  • Trainees at any program length and interns who do programs longer than six months or whose programs do not meet the¬†Department of Labor‚Äôs test for unpaid internships¬†must be paid at least minimum wage.

  • As outlined in the InterExchange Host Agreement, compensation must meet any federal, state, and local laws applicable to the position.

  • Participants must be paid at least the amount required for similar employees under federal, state, and local minimum wage laws.

  • If minimum wages rise during the participant‚Äôs program, they must receive at least the new minimum wage amount as soon as new laws go into effect.

Bringing international interns or trainees into your office can cause culture shock from both the participants and your regular employees. Here are some tips on navigating this and creating something positive out of the cultural differences:

  • Ask your participants about the standard business practices in their home country so you understand their perspective.

  • Ask your participants about their home culture and get to know them. This will make them more comfortable.

  • Check in on your participants to ensure they are comfortable, happy, and adjusting to their new roles and the U.S. Some participants might be apprehensive about bringing up concerns or suggestions without prompting.

When everything goes well, the participants and your U.S. employees will benefit from the relationship, see new business perspectives, and learn about new cultures. Learn more about how to help the participants cope with culture shock.

All interns and trainees are required to have English language proficiency to qualify for the program, but it’s important to keep in mind that communication in English takes some getting used to.

  • Many participants complete a J-1 Visa program because they are eager to practice and improve their English proficiency.

  • Be patient as they improve their skills, and be careful with idioms and slang, which take more time to learn and understand. Even native English speakers may take time to adjust.

  • If participants are reluctant to speak English upon first arriving, it is best to encourage them to practice using English as much as possible.

  • Participants who get into the habit of speaking in their native language tend to make slower progress. The more English the participants speak, the easier their time here will become. It may be difficult at first, but it is very important that participants challenge themselves to adapt to interacting in English to make the most of the exchange experience.

Activities encourage staff cohesion and provide an alternate setting for social interactions outside of the working environment. Group events also give participants a feeling for how people from the U.S. interact outside of work and give them a chance to educate you and your staff about different countries and cultures. These types of benefits have long been a secret of successful host employers everywhere.

  • Include the intern in company activities and traditions, both in and out of the office. Some examples include office sports teams, group lunches, parties or picnics, or even a speaker series.

Particularly for longer training programs, evaluations (written or in person) allow you to touch base with the intern/trainee and assess the program and his or her performance.

  • Weekly check-ins or one-on-ones are another way to track progress and provide feedback and guidance, and they also allow for a set time where participants can discuss any questions or concerns they may have.

Conducting an exit interview is a great way to gather feedback on participants’ experiences at your company so that you can improve the program for your future participants

It is also a great opportunity to assess what your participants have learned about U.S. business culture, as this may help to inform your practice if you move into a more global work environment.

Cultural Exchange In Action

Encouraging participants to interact with Americans and experience our culture in their free time is an essential part of your role.

Hosting your own cultural events and activities is often the best way to teach them about life in the U.S! To help you facilitate fun cultural activities for your international interns or trainees, we’ve outlined some ideas below.

InterExchange prioritizes giving our participants and hosts resources for exploring cultural learning opportunities, find them here:

  • Read or share our online guide to U.S. culture called Cultural Compass
  • The InterExchange¬†Inside the USA guide contains many helpful recommendations and resources.
Beginning of Program

Making sure your international participants have a warm welcome can be the key to a successful program. Remember, they’ve just arrived in a new country and don’t know anyone! Events at the beginning of their program can be as simple as gathering employees together for introductions.

On their first day, orient participants to the workplace and allow time for them to get to know their colleagues. Consider hosting a welcome reception in the office for the participant to get to know colleagues in other departments or even just kick off the program by having a smaller team lunch.

Throughout the participants’ program, cultural events and outings are a great way to make sure participants are experiencing American culture. Participants may feel homesick at some point during their stay, and facilitating fun activities can help remind them why they’re here. Their American colleagues will probably enjoy an office outing as well!

Sporting event: Organize an outing to a local sporting event. Help explain the rules of the game if the participant is unfamiliar.

Food events: Host an American-style barbecue or picnic or organize a potluck where staff and participants prepare their favorite dishes from their home countries or countries of origin.

  • Enjoy typical American foods, such as s‚Äômores, peanut butter, and Girl Scout cookies
  • Share popular American/local restaurants and food trucks
  • Tell your participants about brunch in the U.S.
  • Share your favorite recipes with your participants and see if they have any for you


Government & Politics:
 Teach your participants how elections in the U.S. work and learn about the governing structure in your participants’ home country

  • Find out if your statehouse gives free tours to the public


Celebrate an American holiday:
Celebrate holidays like the Fourth of July or Thanksgiving to give participants a unique insight into American culture. Office potlucks work well for holiday celebrations.

  • Pumpkin carving contest: Print out templates and have fun carving pumpkins
  • Attend a local holiday parade or festival
  • Teach your intern/trainee the story of Thanksgiving


Visit a local museum or concert hall:
 Encourage your participants to visit local museums.

Employee birthdays: For many participants, this may be their first birthday away from home. Help make it special by organizing a party or gathering with colleagues.

Volunteer event: Get coworkers together for a day or an hour of volunteering! Partner with a local volunteer organization for greater interaction with Americans.

At the end of the program, consider hosting a going-away party to show your appreciation for your participants’ hard work. Their American colleagues may appreciate saying goodbye as well!

International participants are likely to encounter some difficulties adjusting to living and working in the U.S.

A participant may soon realize that the familiar signs of home and their automatic responses for meeting situations of daily life may not be applicable in the U.S. Climate, food, landscapes, people and their ways of doing things may all seem strange. English ability may not serve the participants as well as they expected. They may feel the pressures of a fast-paced life in a busy city in the U.S.

Important Program Documents

Career Training USA program participants will receive an acceptance package that includes essential information and documents needed when applying for the J-1 Visa.

As a host employer, you must know about these documents and how they affect your relationship with your participant.

In Summary

  • DS-2019:¬†Certifies program eligibility and identifies parties involved in the program (participant, host organization, and J-1 Visa sponsor)
  • DS-7002:¬†Outlines the training that will be offered by the host organization to the intern or trainee
  • J-1 Visa:¬†Allows the participant to enter the U.S.
DS-2019 Form - Certificate of Eligibility For J-1 Exchange Visitor Status

The DS-2019 Form is a U.S. government document that permits individuals to intern or train with a U.S. company.

The DS-2019 Form:

  • Certifies the participant, host, and training program meet program regulations
  • Identifies InterExchange as the program sponsor and serves as proof of InterExchange‚Äôs sponsorship of the J-1 Visa
  • Describes the purpose of the program
  • States the time period that the participant is legally permitted to intern or train in the U.S.
  • Lists you as the host employer and indicates your office location is the site of activity

Participants are only allowed to intern or train with a valid DS-2019 Form and only during the dates listed in Section #3 of their form. Although participants may only intern or train within these dates, they may enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the program begin date.

Participants may also legally remain in the U.S. for up to 30 days after the program end date, unless otherwise specified. This is known as the “grace period. Participants may NOT continue to intern/train with you during their grace period.

The DS-7002 Form (Training/Internship Placement Plan) is a U.S.-Government document that includes a description of the internship or training program you will provide.

By signing the training plan you have developed, you are acknowledging that the tasks, activities, and objectives outlined in this document will be the training you will offer the participant throughout their program.

The training plan is a binding document, and it is absolutely essential that you follow this plan closely. Failure to do so is a violation of federal program regulations and may result in program termination.

If anything in the plan needs to be changed, either now or once the program has begun, you must discuss this with InterExchange prior to making any changes to the training. All changes must first be documented in a revised training plan signed by you, the intern/trainee, and InterExchange before the changes may officially be put in place.

Once you and your participants are approved to participate in the J-1 Intern or Trainee program and participants have their DS-2019 Forms, they may then go to the embassy/consulate to apply for the J-1 Visa. If approved, a J-1 Visa sticker will be affixed to the participant’s passport by a consular official. NOTE: Canadian citizens are not required to obtain a visa and may travel with the DS-2019 Form alone.

Though InterExchange certifies eligibility to participate in the program, only an embassy or consulate can issue the J-1 Visa. InterExchange has no control over the decisions of consular officials. Though rare, a visa denial can occur. If the participant is denied a visa, please contact us immediately to discuss whether it may be appropriate for the participant to attempt to apply for the J-1 Visa a second time.

The J-1 Visa allows participants to¬†enter¬†the U.S. The expiration date on the J-1 Visa is the last day they may enter the U.S.‚ÄĒnot the last day they can intern/train with your organization. The program end date on the DS-2019 Form is the last day participants may complete tasks or activities as an intern/trainee.

In Summary

  • DS-2019:¬†Certifies program eligibility and identifies parties involved in the program (participant, host organization, and J-1 Visa sponsor)
  • DS-7002:¬†Outlines the training that will be offered by the host organization to the intern or trainee
  • J-1 Visa:¬†Allows the participant to enter the U.S.

Arriving in the USA

Once participants have a J-1 Visa, they will be ready to travel to the U.S. Although they are not permitted to intern or train before the program start date listed on their DS-2019 Form, participants are permitted to arrive in the U.S. up to 30 days beforehand in order to get settled in before they begin training.

 

InterExchange Camp USA works closely with both camps and participants to match appropriate candidates with available positions.

Clearing Customs and Border Protection

Upon arriving, participants will immediately go to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to request admission to the U.S. At the border, they will be entered into a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) database and may also be fingerprinted and photographed. To facilitate their entry, participants should tell the CBP officer that they are J-1 Exchange Visitors and then present their DS-2019 Form and passport with a valid J-1 visa.

Once CBP‚Äôs inspection is complete, the officer will stamp the participant‚Äôs passport to record their entry. This stamp will show the place and date of the participant‚Äôs admission to the U.S. and the time frame he or she is authorized to stay in the U.S. In most cases, the officer will write the letters ‚ÄúD/S‚ÄĚ. This means ‚ÄúDuration of Status,‚ÄĚ which includes the program dates listed on the DS-2019 Form, plus 30 days of travel/personal time immediately after the program end date known as the ‚Äúgrace period.‚ÄĚ (Note that participants are NOT permitted to intern or train during their grace period; this time frame is for settling one‚Äôs affairs and preparing for departure from the U.S.).

Though rare, the CBP officer may write an actual date instead of D/S. This is the date by which the participant is required to leave the U.S., even if it occurs before the program’s end date. Please notify InterExchange immediately if this occurs.

It is rare for J-1 Visa holders to encounter difficulties when crossing the U.S. border. However, if participants are agitated, act suspiciously, or if they are missing any documents, CBP officials may detain them for further questioning. If participants do not have the DS-2019 Form available, they may be detained and may also be flagged in the computer system, thus causing delays on future trips to the U.S. CBP officials may also just deny entry into the U.S. if participants do not have their DS-2019 Form with them upon arrival to the U.S.

The best way to ensure smooth entry to the U.S. is to have all of the appropriate forms completed and ready to present to CBP, be friendly and patient in line and with the CBP official, and answer their questions honestly. If your participant contacts you from the border because they have encountered any difficulties, please contact InterExchange immediately or ask the participant or CBP officer to notify us so that we can assist with finding a resolution.

If your participant is coming to the U.S. by air or sea, their arrival record, or I-94, will be recorded electronically by Customs & Border Protection.

Participants will need a copy of this record when applying for important documents like their Social Security number or other forms of identification in the U.S. Participants can access their electronic I-94 record by visiting the¬†CPB‚Äôs I-94 website¬†and choosing ‚ÄúGet Most Recent I-94.‚ÄĚ

Visitors coming to the U.S. through a land border (most common with Canadian or Mexican participants) will receive a paper I-94 record from the CBP officer at the port of entry. Participants should keep this safe throughout their program, as they will need to turn this in when they depart the U.S. Failure to do so could make future border crossings more difficult, so it is important they do not lose this card.

Once your participant has arrived in the U.S., they must contact InterExchange within 10 days to register with SEVIS.

Remind your participant to let us know they’ve arrived by submitting this Arrival Form, which will ask them to list their exact arrival date and their new U.S. contact information.

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a database managed by the Department of Homeland security that collects and maintains data about international students and exchange visitors during their stay in the United States. SEVIS keeps track of all InterExchange Career Training USA participants in the U.S. and records their living address, contact information, and legal status on the Career Training USA program.

As a host employer, your organization‚Äôs name and address will also be listed in SEVIS as the participant‚Äôs ‚Äúsite of activity‚ÄĚ, which is the location where participants will be interning/training throughout the program. Participants can only train at the office location listed on their DS-2019 Form and in SEVIS. They cannot move to a different branch of the company or train from a different office without first requesting InterExchange‚Äôs approval and providing the information required to update their SEVIS record.

Important SEVIS Information

All program participants must contact InterExchange Career Training USA within 10 days of arriving in the U.S. to activate their SEVIS record. If the participants do not send their information to us, they will not be permitted to remain in the U.S.

Participants also cannot apply for a Social Security Number until their record has been activated in SEVIS. To prevent delays in receiving a Social Security Number, please remind your participants to contact InterExchange immediately after arriving in the U.S. (SEVIS records cannot be activated before coming to the U.S.).

NOTE: Once they have been activated in SEVIS, participants will need to wait at least 5 business days before applying for their Social Security Number, so that their information will be available at the time of their SSN application.

Maintaining accurate SEVIS information is essential, as is responding to all communications sent from InterExchange Career Training USA.

As a host employer, you should inform InterExchange of any changes to participants’ programs. Contact InterExchange in the event of:

  • Changes to your business address (moved offices)
  • Changes to your phone number or email address
  • Supervisor change
  • Company changes in ownership, name, etc.
  • Compensation or hour changes
  • Training plan changes or edits
  • Major medical emergency or illness
  • Participants quit or terminate their programs early

InterExchange will also email participants every 30 days with a link to a check-in form, asking that they verify all information we have on file. Participants must complete the check-in form within 10 days of receiving this email in order to continue their program and remain active in SEVIS.

Please remind your participants to check their email regularly and respond to all communication sent from InterExchange.

Social Security Numbers & Taxes

All paid interns and trainees are required to apply for a Social Security Number. If you are not providing any payment to the participant, he or she is not required to have a Social Security number, but we recommend that participants apply for one, as they may need it for opening a bank account, renting an apartment, or applying for a U.S. driver’s license.

The wait time to receive a card may take up to 6 weeks.

IMPORTANT: Participants may begin to intern/train and be paid before they have been issued a Social Security Number as long as they provide you the application receipt letter.

Please visit the Social Security website or see our tips below for more information on how to set up your participant’s payroll prior to receipt of their SSN.

Applying for a Social Security Number

To apply for a Social Security number, participants must follow the steps below:

1. Inform InterExchange of their arrival in the U.S.: To avoid delays in obtaining a Social Security number, please remind participants to contact InterExchange Career Training USA¬†immediately¬†upon arrival in the U.S. to activate their SEVIS record‚ÄĒparticipants will not be able to get a Social Security number without an active SEVIS record.

2. Wait at least 5 business days: We recommend waiting at least 5 business days after SEVIS activation before applying for a Social Security Number, as it sometimes takes a few days for SEVIS information to be updated in the Social Security Administration’s database.

3. Complete the Social Security application: Participants may be eligible to begin their application online and then bring any required documents to their local SSA office to complete the application. Participants should visit the Social Security Number and Card webpage and answer the questions to determine if they are eligible to start the application process online.

If assisting participants with their applications, please use the following tips:

  • Use your company address as the mailing address, especially if participants have not yet arranged permanent housing
  • For an online application:
    • For the question regarding the documentation the participant will provide, they should select Foreign Passport, I-94 with Unexpired Foreign Passport, DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility, and Other.
    • Participants should print and save the online control number page once they complete the online application
  • For a paper application:
    • For the question regarding CITIZENSHIP, check the box labeled ‚ÄúLegal Alien Allowed To Work‚ÄĚ
    • The questions regarding mother and father‚Äôs Social Security Numbers can be left blank

4. Visit a local Social Security Office to apply in person: If participants submit an online application, they must visit their local SSA office with their original documentation within 45 calendar days. To facilitate the application process, we recommend assisting participants with locating a Social Security Administration Office. Use the Social Security Office Locator, to find the closest office. Most Social Security offices are only open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am Р4:30 pm and are busiest between the hours of 11:00 a.m. Р2:00 p.m.

When applying for a Social Security number, participants must bring the following items:

Sample Social Security Application form
Sample Social Security Application form

Sample Social Security Card
Sample Social Security Card


5. Ask for participants’application receipt
: Instruct participants to keep the application receipt provided to them by the Social Security office. They should make a copy for their own records and provide you with the original. This allows participants to start training and be paid before their SSN is issued.

Read about 8 Quick Ways You Can Help Participants Get Their Social Security Number to avoid any mistakes or delays.

If you or your participants have any questions, please call the Social Security Administration’s toll-free number: 1.800.772.1213. Or, visit their website at: www.ssa.gov.

If you are offering a paid internship or training program, participants should typically be paid on the same schedule as your full-time employees. They must also be paid as regular employees and not as independent contractors (i.e. do not use IRS form 1099-misc).

All paid interns and trainees are required to pay income tax, but they’re exempt from certain other taxes. Please review the table below:

Taxes to Pay:Taxes to NOT Pay:
Federal Income TaxMedicare Tax (FICA)
Local or City IncomeSocial Security Tax (S.S.)
State Income TaxFederal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)

As you can see, J-1 program participants do not pay Social Security, FICA, or FUTA Withholdings.

Under IRS Code Section 31.21. (B)(19), all non-resident aliens on J-1 visas are exempt from paying FICA (Social Security) and FUTA (federal unemployment taxes) taxes during their first two calendar years in the U.S. Since all of J-1 interns and trainee participants are only able to intern/train for 18 months or fewer, all are exempt from these withholdings. Please consult a tax professional to see if your participants are also exempt from state unemployment taxes in your state.

If FICA/FUTA has been withheld from your participants’ pay by mistake, please be sure to adjust the withholding amount for all future pay periods and issue a refund.

I-9 Form

When participants arrive at your company, they must complete an I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form, which notifies the Federal Government that they are allowed to work in the United States. Participants will show you their:

Participants will complete Section 1, using your company address, and you will complete Section 2.

If your company uses E-Verify, note that participants must have a Social Security number (SSN) in order to be verified. If your participant has not yet received a Social Security number, make a note on their Form I-9 and set it aside. The participant is still allowed to continue to train. Once your participant receives a number, you can create a case in E-Verify. More information can be found on the E-Verify website:

Employees must have a Social Security number (SSN) to be verified using E-Verify. If an employee has applied for but has not yet received his or her Social Security number (i.e., if he or she is a newly arrived immigrant), make a note on the employee’s Form I-9 and set it aside. The employee should be allowed to continue to work. As soon as the Social Security number is available, the employer can create a case in E-Verify using the employee’s Social Security number.

W-4 Form

Participants must also fill out a W-4 Employee Withholding Allowance Certificate as soon as they start a paid internship/training program. Based on the information provided on the W-4 Form, you must calculate the amount of federal, state, and local taxes to be withheld from the paycheck. Remember, J-1 participants are exempt from FICA/FUTA taxes, and these should not be withheld from their paychecks.

InterExchange Career Training USA participants are exchange visitors in the ‚Äúnon-resident alien‚ÄĚ tax category. Please consult a tax professional for the most recent tax regulations.

When completing the W-4 Form, participants should NOT follow the instructions printed on the form, which are specific to U.S. residents‚ÄĒnot exchange visitors.

How to Complete the W-4 Form:

As a non-resident, your participant should follow the instructions below. You can also view these instructions from the IRS online.

How to Complete the W-4 Form:

The participant should NOT follow the instructions printed on the form, as the instructions on the W-4 Form are for U.S. residents‚ÄĒnot exchange visitors.

As a non-resident, please have the participants follow the instructions below. You can also check out the special instructions for nonresident aliens issued by the IRS online.

  • Do not complete the Personal Allowances Worksheet; this does not apply to exchange visitors.

  • Step 1(a): Indicate your legal name and permanent U.S. mailing address.

  • Step 1(b): Enter your Social Security number if you already have it. If you do not have your number yet, inform human resources at your host company that you applied for a number and provide a copy of your receipt.

  • Step 1(c): Mark or check ‚ÄúSingle or Married filing separately,‚ÄĚ even if you are married.

  • Steps 2 & 3: Leave blank.

  • Step 4: Write ‚Äúnonresident alien‚ÄĚ or ‚ÄúNRA‚ÄĚ in the space below Step 4(c).

  • Step 5: Sign and date your form

If your participants have not yet received their Social Security Number, follow these instructions provided by the IRS:

Remember to instruct participants to tell you the number and the exact name printed on the card when they receive it.

All program participants who are paid must file a U.S. tax return for the calendar year during which they trained with your company and follow the tax filing deadline for that year. Even if participants are no longer in the U.S., they must file a U.S. tax return for the time they trained. Reminding participants of this tax filing requirement is essential, especially if their program spans more than a year’s tax period.

Filing taxes as a non-resident alien differs from filing as a U.S. citizen or resident. You can find tips below on assisting your participants with their taxes.

Please also encourage your participants to visit the Tax Information page within our participant resources.

NOTE: If the participant has specific questions, they should contact the IRS or a tax professional, as InterExchange is not certified or licensed to provide individualized tax advice.

W-2 Form

If participants are still in the U.S. at tax time, please provide them with a W-2. If they have already returned home by the time W-2s are issued, we recommend that you have them leave a self-addressed envelope before departing the U.S. so that you will be able to mail the W-2 at the appropriate time or ensure that they continue to have access to an electronic W-2.

You must send a W-2 Form to your participant between January 1st and January 31st, documenting their wages and deductions from the prior calendar year.

NOTE: Do not send W-2 forms to our New York office. We are not responsible for getting this information to participants and cannot guarantee that they will receive it.

w2 tax form sample image

Filing Form 1040NR

If participants will still be in the U.S. at tax time, you may wish to assist them with filing a tax return. Upon receiving the W-2 Form, participants will need to fill out a 1040NR (Non-Resident Aliens) tax form.

NOTE: There are limited e-file options for non-resident aliens. J-1 participants must complete a paper copy of the form 1040-NR and mail it to the proper IRS branch. They may not use e-file options like TurboTax which are meant for U.S. residents only.

Once the form is completed, it should be mailed to the IRS address listed in the ‚ÄúWhere to File‚ÄĚ section of the¬†1040-NR instructions.

Further resources:

If the participant has made an error on a previously filed tax return, they must file an amended tax return or Form 1040-X.

The most common error J-1 participants make is filing the wrong tax form. If they filed with TurboTax, for example, they probably filed Form 1040, which is for U.S. citizens and residents, rather than Form 1040-NR, which is for non-resident aliens like J-1 participants. The participants will need to file Form 1040-X along with a new 1040-NR to correct their return.

Once complete, they’ll need to mail the corrected forms to:

Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service Austin, TX 73301-0215

IRS Contact
Social Security Contact
Employer Responsibilities When Hiring Foreign Workers

www.ssa.gov/employer/hiring.htm

International Students And Social Security Numbers

www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10181.pdf

Compensation

Minimum Pay Requirements

Compensation should be discussed with your participant upon their acceptance of your internship offer, and all compensation should be documented within the InterExchange application. The minimum pay requirements for both interns and trainees are listed below.

Internship Programs
  • Internships may either be paid or unpaid.
    • InterExchange¬†does not permit¬†unpaid programs that *exceed 6-months in program length.
    • Shorter programs must meet the¬†Department of Labor‚Äôs test for unpaid internships.
    • Unpaid programs (or programs compensated less than minimum wage) are not eligible for a program extension if the total program length will exceed 6 months.
    • If the program you will be offering does not meet this Department of Labor test, participants must be paid at least the amount required for similar employees under federal, state, and local minimum wage laws.
Trainee Programs
  • Regardless of program length, InterExchange requires that¬†all trainees must be paid¬†at least minimum wage according to federal, state, and local laws.

If minimum wages rise during the participant’s program, they must receive at least the new minimum wage amount as soon as new laws go into effect.

The compensation you indicated on the training plan (DS-7002) is the amount you must guarantee your intern/trainee during the program. If you are paying your J-1 participants minimum wage and the minimum wage rises during their program, they must receive at least the new minimum wage amount as soon as new laws go into effect.

Non-monetary Compensation
  • You may also provide non-monetary compensation such as housing, transportation and/or meals as part of the participant‚Äôs overall compensation package. The value of any benefits such as these should be calculated on a monthly basis and documented within the participant‚Äôs application and DS-7002 Form.

  • If you will be asking the participant to pay a portion of provided housing or transportation, these charges should be billed to the participant rather than deducted from the participant‚Äôs paycheck.

  • Any deductions from compensation that are withheld must be made in accordance with labor laws, and participants must be notified at the time of internship/training program offer and indicate that they agree to accept the deductions. Please also inform InterExchange of any planned deductions.

  • If you are unable to offer housing but wish to offer some assistance to your intern/trainee,¬†please review our housing guide. We generally recommend that participants secure temporary housing in a hostel or hotel so that they can look for permanent housing after they have arrived in the U.S. Any recommendations or assistance you can provide to help facilitate this process will allow the participant to acclimate to life in the U.S. much more quickly.

  • ll J-1 Interns/Trainees are required to train a¬†minimum of 32 hours per week, and they should train no more than 45 hours per week.
  • It is expected that on a general basis participants should be training the number of hours listed on their training plan. However, if a participant does occasionally do overtime hours, they should be compensated appropriately according to federal, state, and local laws for overtime pay.


IMPORTANT:
 Please remember that this is a cultural exchange program. Participants should not be doing regular overtime as this indicates they are being used for regular employment and does not align with the purpose of the program. Misuse of the program in such a way is considered visa fraud.

Under no circumstances are participants permitted to seek additional employment while in the U.S.

Please do not encourage the participant to seek a second job to supplement his or her income. Working anywhere else besides your organization is strictly prohibited and is a very serious violation of the terms of the visa. The participant’s program will be terminated and he or she may not be allowed to return to the U.S. in the future if he or she violates this rule.

If the participant is having difficulty supporting him or herself financially throughout the program, you may wish to offer additional compensation. Otherwise the participant may need to withdraw from the program.

In some cases, you may wish to offer the participant a raise or provide them with more advanced training if you feel that he or she has exceeded expectations. This is up to you to decide, but any changes must be in line with the original program goals and objectives.

  • In the event that you would like to add new responsibilities to the internship or training plan,¬†InterExchange must first approve these responsibilities and the DS-7002 Form (Training Plan) will need to be updated.


The participant must also agree to the changes.
¬†Remember, though, this is a training program and should not be used as a substitute for ordinary employment. Any advanced training offered should be for the benefit of the intern/trainee because they have demonstrated an ability to meet their tasks and objectives sooner than anticipated‚ÄĒit should not be offered to enable you to fill a labor need or serve as ordinary work.

Before the participant arrives, you should discuss issues such as overtime, vacation time, sick time, and paid holidays so that the participant will understand how these things may affect his or her pay, if applicable. This type of information isn’t included on the DS-7002 Form, so it is highly recommended that you discuss this in advance and put this information in an official offer letter.

Please keep in mind, though, that this is first and foremost a cultural exchange program. It is important to be fair to the participant with regard to offering vacation and sick time so that he or she will have some time to experience life in the U.S. without having to worry about being penalized financially. Some paid vacation time, even if you are paying the participant hourly, should be offered to the participant so that the cultural exchange objectives of the program can be met both inside and outside the workplace.

NOTE: It is not necessary for employers to offer participants health insurance, as all InterExchange participants receive accident and sickness insurance that exceeds U.S. Department of State requirements. If you wish to offer more comprehensive health coverage, you are welcome to do so, but the participant may not decline the coverage already provided through InterExchange as included in the program fee.

Housing & Transportation

Housing

If you are unable to offer housing to your participant as part of your compensation package, we encourage you to offer some assistance to your intern/trainee as they seek housing in the U.S. InterExchange Career Training USA provides participants with a number of general resources on housing, transportation, and U.S. culture, but since we have participants located all across the U.S., you will be your participants’ best resource on finding housing and getting around in your local area.

We generally recommend that participants secure temporary housing in a hostel or hotel so that they can look for permanent housing once they have arrived in the U.S. Any recommendations or assistance you can provide to help facilitate this process will allow the participant to acclimate to life in the U.S. much more quickly.

Consider providing your participant with information on:

  • Recommended neighborhoods in the area
  • Neighborhoods to avoid
  • Websites most locals use to look for housing
  • Average cost of housing in the area
  • Transportation options available

If your local area does not have a reliable public transportation system, advise your participant on the best ways to get around. Depending on the neighborhood where they will live, they may be able to walk or ride a bike to the office.

It may be that you recommend that your participant purchase a car. If that is the case, we encourage you to provide advice on buying a car in your local area. InterExchange has resources available to participants on buying and insuring a car in the U.S., but you will have the most reliable information on any specific state or city laws of which they should be aware.

Don’t forget to remind your participant that they must have a valid driver’s license to legally drive in the U.S.

Insurance

Accident & Sickness Insurance
  • All InterExchange Career Training USA participants have basic accident and sickness insurance that meets U.S. State Department requirements. The participant is insured from their arrival through the 30-day grace period at the end of their program.

  • Encourage your participant to read through their insurance brochure and information on our¬†Insurance Resource page.

  • Please ask participants to contact us if they have any questions or concerns regarding the insurance coverage, and remind them to make copies of any bills and claim forms submitted to the insurance company.

  • You may offer the participant comprehensive health insurance, but the participant¬†may not waive¬†the accident and sickness coverage included in their program fee.

  • The InterExchange-arranged insurance includes coverage that is required under U.S. federal regulations for the J-1 interns and trainees, namely emergency medical evacuation to the participant‚Äôs home country and repatriation of remains.

  • As with any employee, if the participant is injured while interning or training at your establishment, your workers‚Äô compensation plan should provide insurance coverage if you are not otherwise exempt from maintaining coverage.

  • InterExchange will cease to sponsor participants for any employer found to use InterExchange participant insurance in lieu of workers‚Äô compensation insurance for work-related injuries.

  • Please remember to notify InterExchange in the event your participant has an accident or unexpected illness, especially if their recovery will prohibit your participant from participating in their internship or training program.

Health, Safety, and Handling Major Emergencies

Most InterExchange Career Training USA participants enjoy safe, smooth, and problem-free programs. Still, when living abroad for an extended period, they may occasionally run into challenges.

InterExchange is here to help if you or your participant experience any challenges or issues.

Avoiding Exploitative Behavior

As a host employer, you are an active participant in cultural exchange. Your actions and behavior towards your participants must not only meet the laws and regulations of the U.S., but they must also meet exemplary standards that reflect favorably on U.S. business practices. At no time should you engage in the following activities:

  • Any activities that would violate the laws and regulations of U.S. federal, state, and local authorities.
  • Any activities that may be legal, but nevertheless unethical, for example:
    • Inappropriate relationships with the participant
    • Coercive or harassing acts
    • Retaliating against the participant
    • Making promises to the participant that are outside of the scope of the program
    • Asking inappropriate questions of the participant
    • Making offensive statements to the participant
  • Any activities that would endanger the participant‚Äôs safety or the safety of others or act in a manner that raises the appearance of endangering the participant‚Äôs safety or the safety of others.

  • Any activities or promises to participants regarding any activities that either InterExchange or the U.S. Department of State prohibits.

IMPORTANT: If InterExchange finds that you or any of your employees or affiliates have engaged or will engage in exploitative or other unreasonable behavior, InterExchange will immediately end your participation in the program. In most instances, we will report such behavior to the Department of State, and this could impact your ability to host exchange visitors in the future. Where appropriate, exploitative behavior may also be reported to local law enforcement.

Read More Important Information for J-1 Participants:
Health & Safety Protocols

If you are aware or become aware that your participant is suffering from any serious medical, psychological, or criminal incident that disrupts the internship or training program, contact InterExchange immediately.

If your participant suffers an accident or serious illness that, in the judgment of InterExchange, prevents the participant from successfully meeting program requirements, please understand that the participant may be asked to end his or her program early and return home for their own health and safety

Similarly, if your participant is deemed to be a danger to him or herself or to others, or if your participant’s conduct is deemed to be detrimental to the Exchange Visitor Program as a whole, InterExchange may end the participant’s program early.

Read More Important Information regarding J-1 Participants’ Health & Safety:
Coordinate your Response
  • Although InterExchange will provide emergency messaging to you and the participant, you are responsible for ensuring the safety of the participant. You should not alter any messaging sent by InterExchange, but you should also caution the participant to follow your guidance and/or the guidance of local authorities if the guidance conflicts with InterExchange guidance since you will have more information regarding your specific local conditions.
Emergency Contingency Plans
  • Communication, preparedness, and coordination are the most important aspects of promoting safety. You should have an emergency contingency plan and share this plan with the participant as part of his or her orientation with your company.

  • You must issue emergency instructions to the participant to help prepare him or her in case of emergencies and make the participant aware of emergency and evacuation procedures issued by your company and federal, state, and local government authorities.

IMPORTANT: Timely communication with InterExchange throughout an emergency event is necessary and a requirement as a host employer. Please always respond to InterExchange’s inquiries about the safety of participants as soon as reasonably possible. Please read all safety notices sent by InterExchange and follow instructions as appropriate to ensure the health, safety and welfare of participants.

Important Program Considerations

International Travel

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 need to apply for a new visa abroad before returning to the U.S. to complete their program.

Before departing the U.S., all participants must also 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 before their trip to receive this signature. Travel validation signatures are valid for six 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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 those 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‚ÄĒnot 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‚Äôs passport will indicate whether he or she is subject to the requirement. If the participant is subject, the visa will have the following note: ‚ÄėBEARER IS SUBJECT TO SEC 212(E). TWO YEAR RULE DOES APPLY.‚Äô

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.

When to Contact InterExchange

As your participant’s visa sponsor, InterExchange should be informed of any issues, questions, or concerns that may arise throughout the program. Not only do we need to be notified of minor updates, like phone number changes, so that we can keep SEVIS records up to date, but we also need to be informed of any major issues or events that affect the training or health and safety of the participant.

Please be sure to contact InterExchange in the event of any of the following occurrences:

  • Changes to company basics:
    • Office moves
    • Email or phone updates
    • Company name or ownership
  • Changes to the main supervisor or any of the phase supervisors
  • Changes in your participant‚Äôs hours or compensation
  • New training activities that don‚Äôt align with the current Training Plan
  • Major medical emergency or illness
  • Training or Behavioral Issues/Concerns
  • The participant quits or you terminate their program early

If you encounter any workplace difficulties throughout the program, we encourage you to try to come to a resolution directly with your participant before contacting InterExchange. Rest assured, though, if you are having difficulties addressing any challenges with the participant, InterExchange will work with you and the participant to find a successful resolution.

Many issues you may encounter during the program will most likely result from culture shock; being prepared for this and knowing how to address culture shock-related issues will enable you to resolve many difficulties that may arise quickly and easily. You can find additional information about culture shock on our website.

IMPORTANT: Please remember that this program is for training and cultural exchange. Your expectations for work and performance should be different than they are for a normal employee. The interns and trainees are, first and foremost, here in the U.S. to learn Рnot to serve ordinary employment purposes.

If your participant is struggling with adjusting to U.S. workplace culture, understanding the English language, or meeting their training objectives, don’t hesitate to contact InterExchange to discuss the next steps for your participant and your organization.

theater history UK

Your next big European adventure awaits

Sign up for the journey of a lifetime in the U.K.