Cultural Exchange Visitor

Travel Update:

Please visit this link for important updates for all international air travelers destined for the United States.

Trainees & Interns

The American Immigration Council is designated by the U.S. Department of State to sponsor J-1 intern and trainee programs. Intern programs have a maximum duration of 12 months. Trainee programs have a maximum duration of 18 months. Potential J-1 interns must be enrolled in a post-secondary, degree-granting academic program located outside of the United States or graduated within the past 12 months from such post-secondary academic program outside of the United States. Potential J-1 trainees must hold a post-secondary degree related to the field of the training and one (1) year of related work experience, both of which were gained outside of the United States, or have five (5) years of related work experience gained outside of the United States.

The American Immigration Council is designated by the U.S. Department of State to sponsor J-1 participants in the Intern & Trainee category only.  The content of all internship and training programs sponsored by our office fit within the following instructional areas only:

  • Arts and Culture
  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • Information Media and Communications
  • Management, Business, Commerce and Finance
  • Public Administration and Law 
  • Social Sciences, Library Science, Non-clinical Counseling, Social Services
  • The Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics and Industrial Occupations

Please note, we do not sponsor the J-1 categories of au pairs, camp counselors, college and university students, government visitors, international visitors, professors and research scholars, secondary school students, short-term scholars, specialists, teachers, or summer work travel.


The Council provides guidance and technical assistance to prospective exchange visitors and the host organization or legal representatives involved in a professional training or internship offer. We do not place applicants with companies and do not recruit students or professionals from overseas. For suggestions on how to find a host organization before applying for sponsorship from us, please view Finding a J-1 Internship in the US. Successful applicants secure an offer from an eligible host organization in the United States before starting an application for J visa sponsorship.  


You become a part of the American Immigration Council family once sponsorship is granted.  Exchange visitors with current sponsorship are issued a participant handbook, and mailed an eligibility packet, including an official Certificate of Eligibility (DS-2019) for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, to help support a J visa application.  Our services include providing you with an additional support system in the United States and helping you maintain status for the duration of your stay.


Our exchange visitors remain a part of the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) International Exchange Alumni long after moving on to pursue other endeavors abroad.  The Council’s Cultural Exchange Team is continually impressed by the future potential of private sector program participants and always appreciates hearing updates from program alumni!

ECA also maintains a clearinghouse of networking, subscription journals, and professional development resources for all International Exchange Alumni. We encourage you to register as a former program participant here to keep the benefits of your experience going long after you return home!