International J-1 Student Interns

The J-1 Student Intern category is for foreign nationals 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 and undergraduate 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.


You can apply at any time before the start date of your program as indicated on item 3, line 1 of your DS-2019 form, however the visa will not be issued until 90 days prior to the start date. You can only enter the US 30 days prior to your program start date (see item 3, line 1 of your DS-2019)

Length of Program

The minimum length of an intern program is 3 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:

  • 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 related to his/her degree program.

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 proficiency can be verified by one of the following:

  • An English language test (TOEFL, IELTS)
  • The University of Rhode Island 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

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 with a Certificate of Financial Certification from the Office of International Students & Scholars.

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).

Host department document requirements for the issuance of the immigration documents: DS-2019 and DS-7002 forms for J-1 Student Intern visa:

Intern Evaluation

Sponsoring departments are required to provide the OISS with a evaluation of the intern’s performance at least 15 days before the conclusion of the internship. For programs lasting more than 6 months, a midpoint evaluation is also required within 15 days of the midpoint mark. The final evaluation is due before the intern leaves the U.S.