Extending Your Program
If you are nearing the end of your program, and you and your employer both feel the program is going well, it may be possible to extend your program! To be eligible for an extension, your program must be less than the maximum duration allowed and you must apply within the designated timeframe.
Please Note: We can only extend programs for current InterExchange interns and trainees. If you are not an InterExchange participant, please contact your sponsor for information on extending your program.
Maximum Program Length
Program lengths are set by the U.S. Department of State, so unfortunately, it is not possible to extend your program longer than these maximum durations. Note that it is also not possible to change from the Intern category to the Trainee category
You may stay in the U.S. for a total of 12 months. Therefore, if your current program is four months, you can extend for up to eight more months.
If you are a Hospitality Trainee, you may stay in the U.S. for a total of 12 months. Therefore, if your current program is four months, you can extend for up to eight more months. Trainees in all other categories may stay for a total of 18 months.
Timeframe to Apply
InterExchange only accepts extension applications 30 to 60 days before the end of your program. Check your DS-2019 Form to find your program end date, then go back 60 days to determine when you are eligible to apply. Your extension application is due 30 days before your program end date. For example, if your program is set to end June 15, your extension application must be submitted in full by May 14.
Change of Host with Extension
If your host employer cannot extend your program, you may extend with a new host employer. If extending with a new employer, you will need to find a new internship before you can apply for an extension. Please note that if you find a new employer, the internship program must still be in the same field as your original program and cannot duplicate what you have already learned in your original training. The new host employer must meet all of our requirements for host employers as well.
Training Plans for Extensions
Your extension program should be more advanced than your original program. Your host employer will need to create a new training plan, in the same field as the original plan, and include different or progressed training. No training plan phase can exceed 4 months. Please see our training plan guide for more information.
Extension Program Compensation
If you are extending with the same employer and your program will exceed six months with the extension, your employer must fairly compensate you for your internship. We are not able to approve unpaid programs over six months in length (in total) with the same employer, and longer programs must always provide at least minimum wage.
If your extension will be with a new employer, it may be unpaid if the extension period does not exceed six months and your internship meets the U.S. Department of Labor’s Criteria for Unpaid Internships. You must also prove that you will have adequate funds on hand to support yourself if your extension program will be unpaid.
As always, all unpaid programs are considered on a case-by-case basis, even if not more than six months in duration, to ensure the Department of Labor criteria are met.
Visa for Extension Period
You do not necessarily need a new visa when you extend your J-1 program. The DS-2019 Form, not the J-1 Visa, is what allows you to legally intern or train in the U.S.. The purpose of the J-1 Visa is to allow you to enter the U.S. If you are approved for an extension, we will send you a new DS-2019 Form for your extension period, and that form will allow you to continue to intern or train.
However, if you plan to travel internationally during your extension period, then you will need to apply for a new J-1 Visa in order to reenter the U.S., since your current visa will have expired and you need a valid visa to enter the U.S.
- J-1 Visa = Permission to enter the U.S.
- DS-2019 Form = Permission to intern or train in the U.S.
Check the expiration date on the J-1 Visa sticker in your passport; if you plan to travel after this expiration date, you will need to return to the embassy or consulate in your home country to apply for a new visa in order to re-enter the U.S.
Make sure you have all of the necessary paperwork to apply for a new visa while abroad and remember to always have your travel-validated DS-2019 Form, along with your passport and I-94 printout or card. If you remain in the U.S. during your extension period, no further visas will be required. Please note that obtaining a new visa is not guaranteed, and InterExchange has no jurisdiction to influence this decision.
Extension Application Process
Once you’ve been accepted into the Career Training USA program, your next step is to apply for a J-1 Visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your country. ALL Interns and Trainees (except Canadian citizens—please see the end of this section) must attend an embassy interview in order to receive a J-1 Visa.
When you are ready to apply, go to our Online Application and login. If it is 30 to 60 days before your program end date and you are eligible for an extension, you will see an “Extend Your Program” button. Once you click this button it will open an extension training plan and send an email to your supervisor.
If you do not see the option to start an extension application and you’re not sure why, please contact our office. Make sure to read all instructions before filling out the application, and please email us if you need any help.
NOTE: If you are applying for an extension at a new host company, please email InterExchange at [email protected] to receive a copy of this application.
Complete the Extension Information section and upload a Proof of Funds document and a signed Extension Fee Disclosure.
Instruct your employer to complete their portion of the application (Participant Information, Participant Compensation, and Training Plan sections) and then sign the Host Employer Agreement.
Note: If the worker’s compensation certificate we have on file for your host employer has expired, then we will need an updated certificate. Please ask your employer to check the expiration date on the worker’s compensation certificate under the “documents” tab of their online portal and upload a new certificate if necessary.
Sign the Participant Agreement to submit the application (this is only possible once you have been marked as paid within the application).
Extension Application Processing Time
When you and your employer have completed the application, paid the extension application fees, and completed your final program evaluations, submit your application to InterExchange. Once we receive it, the processing time is about one to two weeks. If your application is approved, we will send you a new DS-2019 Form with your extension program dates that will allow you to continue interning or training in the USA.
If we are unable to approve your extension, you will still be able to intern or train until your original program end date, and you are still entitled to your 30-day grace period after your program end date. If your extension has not been approved, you are required to leave the U.S. by the end of your grace period.
If you have any further questions, you can always email us at [email protected], and we’ll be happy to help.