Are you a university student or recent graduate interested in a J-1 intern program related to your studies? Are you a professional looking to pursue career-enhancing training at host organization in the United States? Trainee programs complement your current studies or career and offer first-hand insights into U.S. business practices, proprietary technologies and methods, and much more.
The Exchange Visitor (J) non-immigrant visa category is for individuals approved to participate in work and study-based exchange visitor programs. The U.S. Department of State designates sponsors just like the American Immigration Council to oversee J programs. All J visa applicants must secured an exchange program sponsor before applying for the visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate.
Do you have an internship or training offer from an organization in the United States?
If you have identified a host organization, the American Immigration Council can help make your dream a reality. Our experienced J-1 Advisors are available to help you understand eligibility requirements and provide tips of preparing a successful sponsorship application. We are here to support you and your host organization as you embark on this mutually beneficial exchange.
Keep reading to learn how we may help you find success as an exchange visitor!
The American Immigration Council is designated by the U.S. Department of State to sponsor J-1 intern and trainee programs in specific occupational areas. Each applicant receives individual attention from a J-1 Advisor through a one-on-one pre-arrival virtual orientation. We pride ourselves on screening and overseeing every exchange program directly. The American Immigration Council does not offer internship or trainee placement services. For suggestions on how to find a host organization before applying for sponsorship from us, please view Finding a J-1 Internship in the U.S.
Once the accepted trainee or intern has arrived in the United States, we serve as a support system and resource. Our goal is to ensure that the J-1 visa regulations are fully satisfied and the exchange experience is positive and rewarding for all involved.
Starting an Application:
What documents do I need to for my J-1 program application?
Exchange visitors and host company representatives both have a role to play in the online sponsorship application. You are responsible for completing the Trainee/Intern file and providing the following documents with English translations, if necessary:
- All pages of your passport. The passport must be valid for at least six (6) months after the program end date.
- Diploma(s) or degree certificate(s)
- Educational transcripts(for Intern applicants and for Trainee applicants whose degree doesn't clearly match the field of training)
- Resume or CV in English, or the original plus the document translated into English
- Employment verification and reference letter(s) from past/current employer(s) for the Trainee applicant
- Biographic page of J-2 dependent's passport (photo and biographical data page)
Please note that the application can be started and saved if the documents need to gathered.
What is the application timeline?
Application review begins the Friday or Monday ahead of the scheduled webcam interview, barring extenuating circumstances (i.e. holidays, closures, etc.).
A decision will be reached on the case within approximately three to five business days following the webcam interview and receipt of all program materials. The full 8-week process of the application (from gathering of documentation to the receipt of visa) is:
- Week 1-3: Preparation and submission of sponsorship application documents through the FluidReview portal.
- Week 4: Council review of submitted documentation. The scheduled webcam interview is conducted and the follow-up process for additional information is initiated (if necessary).
- Week 5: The Council case manager will provide a decision on sponsorship. If approved, the documents required for the U.S. embassy interview are mailed via FedEx to the exchange visitor. The exchange visitor can proceed with completing the DS-160 and scheduling their in-person embassy interview.
- Week 6: The exchange visitor attends their scheduled U.S. embassy interview with all embassy-requested documents.
- Week 7-8: The exchange visitor will receive their passport and visa back from the U.S. embassy (if approved). Embassy visa interview scheduling and processing times vary. Please check your nearest embassy’s estimated wait times. This is also time for the exchange visitor to begin preparing for travel to the United States and the training program start date.
How and when do I book my webcam appointment?
The American Immigration Council conducts a video interview with each applicant prior to approving internship or trainee proposals for sponsorship. Interviews are booked using the online scheduling tool. While host organizations or attorneys may book the interview, it is ultimately up to individual applicants to schedule the interview appointments in a timely manner.
What if the webcam appointment time needs to change?
If any changes need to be made to the Skype appointment schedule, we will contact applicants individually. If you will not be able to attend the interview or if you need to update/change your contact information, use the "Cancel/Reschedule" link at online scheduling tool. Email questions to J1program@immcouncil.org.
What happens during a webcam interview?
Prepare by reviewing your DS-7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan and recalling past visits to the U.S, including for tourism purposes. You will be asked general questions about the proposed internship or training program. Next, we will describe the process of obtaining your DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility and supporting documents. Next, we will discuss the process of applying for the visa online and attending the in-person interview at a U.S. consulate. Canadian citizens do not need an in-person interview at a U.S. consulate. Finally, we will discuss our role as your cultural exchange visa sponsor and explain what you must do to remain in good standing throughout your stay in the United States.
When do I book my Consulate interview and when do I make travel arrangements?
Book your in-person interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate after receiving the package sent by the American Immigration Council containing your DS-7002, DS-2019, I-901 and additional information on the visa process. Finalize your travel arrangements once you have received your visa.
What are the fees and when are they due?
All fees are due when an application is submitted. Total fees can vary based on the type of application service requested and the specifics of the case. An up-to-date breakdown is on our Fees page. Fees include the following services:
- Screening and processing of J-1 training program application
- Shipping of Certificate of Eligibility (Form DS-2019) to accepted applicants
- SEVIS fee payment to the U.S. government
- Identification of Sickness & Accident Insurance meeting U.S. government requirements for J-1 visa holders
- Participant and host user handbooks
- Orientation and program materials
- Consulting on the J-1 visa process
- Program monitoring and on-going support to J-1 trainees and host organizations
- Certificate of Completion
- Government reporting and compliance with SEVIS requirements
Interview Location and Intent
Exchange visitors must apply for a J-1 visa from an embassy or consulate outside of the United States. In order to facilitate consular processing, the American Immigration Council expects all interview and pre-arrival orientations are conducted while the applicant is outside of the United States.
Intent to leave the United States at the end of an internship or training program is a clear eligibility requirement outlined by the Department of State and underlying legislative framework supporting the Exchange Visitor Program. The American Immigration Council cannot knowingly provide J visa sponsorship to individuals at host organizations that intend to file for change of status after arrival in the US.
Past J-1 internships or other J-1 programs, such as summer work/travel, camp counselor, or visiting scholar will not prevent participation in an Internship or Training program through the American Immigration Council, provided all other eligibility requirements are met. Trainees need to reside outside the U.S. for at least two (2) years between successive J-1 training programs.