J1 Student Intern Information

The J-1 Student Intern is a foreign national enrolled in and pursuing a degree at an accredited post-secondary academic institution outside the United States. Internship programs are offered to graduate students involved in pre-doctoral research andundergraduate students who have a degree requirement for practical field experience. Internship programs provide unique opportunities for interns to gain practical experience on the process of conducting research in their academic field.

Length of Program: The minimum length of an intern program is three weeks; the maximum length is 12 months.  The internship program must be full-time with a minimum of 32 hours a week. International visitors are eligible for the J-1 intern category if he/she meets the following criteria:

Degree Eligibility

  • Student must be currently enrolled in and pursuing a degree at a degree-or certificate-granting post-secondary academic institution outside the U.S., or
  • Student must have graduated from such an institution no more than 12 months prior to the exchange visitor program beginning date, and
  • Student must enter the U.S. to participate in a structured and guided work-based internship program in his/her specific academic field.

The degree information must be verified by one of the following:

  • A copy of the student’s transcripts
  • A letter from his/her academic institution
  • A degree certificate showing the date the degree was awarded.

English Language: English language proficiency can be verified by one of the following:

  • An English language test (TOEFL, IELTS)
  • The Host institution can sign The DS 2019 Data Collection Form to verify the level of English
  • The Home institution may write a letter certifying the level of English.
  • An interview conducted by the sponsor, either in person, by video-conference, or by web camera

Area of Study: The program must be related to the intern’s degree program.

Site of Activity Physical Location of Internship: Site of Activity is expected to be at the location of the sponsor and/or at another location where a contract exists between the sponsoring institution and the alternate site activity.

Internship Sponsor

  • Must provide training and internship programs only in the occupational category or categories for which the requesting Department has been designated as sponsors
  • Must provide continuous on-site supervision and mentoring of interns by experienced and knowledgeable staff in the field of the internship
  • Ensure that interns obtain skills, knowledge, and competencies through structured and guided activities such as classroom training, seminars, rotation through several departments, on-the-job training, attendance at conferences, and similar learning activities, as appropriate in specific circumstances

Financial Support: The prospective student intern must be able to show financial support in the amount of $1,200.00 per month. Personal finances can be shown with a bank letter that is signed by a bank official on bank stationery or with a recent bank statement, or use the Office of International Students & Scholars Certificate of Financial Certification.

Repeat Participation: An intern may participate in additional internship programs as long as he/she maintains student status or begins a new internship program within 12 months of graduation.

Class/Degree Enrollment: Interns may not enroll in classes.  If they gain admission to a degree program while at a US institution during the period of Internship, they will be expected to change to the sub-category J-1 degree student (undergraduate or graduate); or change to another appropriate visa type.

If a Student/Intern desires to join a degree program in the United States, it is recommended that they exit the US before commencing their studies, obtain a new visa, and reenter under the new visa category and/or subcategory. Student/Interns should be made aware that the internship opportunity is not a portal to education or employment.

Student/Interns who have been made subject to the 2 year home country residency (or 212(E) rule) will not be approved for a category change until they have obtained a waiver of the 212(E).

Support Documents Needed for Preparation of Immigration Document: DS-2019 and DS-7002

  • DS-2019 Request Form (submitted by the academic or other sponsor to the OISS)
  • DS-7002 Training/Internship Plan Form (submitted by the academic sponsor to the OISS)
  • Financial Certification (submitted by the student)
  • Passport Biographical Page (submitted by the student)
  • School Transcripts (submitted by the student)


Here are some answers to common questions regarding visas:

  1. Where can I apply for the J-1 visa?In most cases you can apply for your J-1 student visa at the US Embassy/Consulate that has jurisdiction over your country.
  2. When can I apply for the J-1 visa?You can apply at any time before the start date of your program (see DS-2019); however the visa will not be issued until 90 days prior to the start date on your DS-2019.
  3. How long after I receive my visa can I enter the US?You can only enter the US 30 days prior to your program start date (see item 3, line 1 of your DS-2019)
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