J-1 Intern & Trainee Program

Opportunities for Growth

J-1 Intern & Trainee Program

If you’re an employer looking for ambitious international students and young professionals to join your team, we can help. AAG is a designated U.S. Department of State sponsor for the J-1 Intern and Trainee Exchange Visitor programs. This program gives employers a chance to diversify and enhance their teams with international talent. It’s also a great way for young professionals to amplify their strengths and education in an American work setting.

These intern and training programs serve to enhance academic learning and strengthen business acumen for students and young professionals while providing employers with enthusiastic employees who are thirsting to learn, grow and contribute.

Who Are You?

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day”

INDIVIDUALS

Overview

If your dream is to experience professional life in America, we can help make it come true. We’re in the business of connecting students and young professionals to great opportunities with American businesses. You can build lasting connections, learn business practices, new customs and enrich your life while enhancing your education.

Build on your academic and/or professional experience by training in an American business with a J-1 visa and enjoy the chance to learn and grow while exploring American business, communities and culture.

As an official J-1 sponsor, it’s our job to ensure you get the most out of the experience and that you meet the eligibility and program participation requirements. Employers who hire students into intern and trainee programs make a commitment, too. They ensure that you are benefitting from the program. Our job is to facilitate the connection between participants and host employers as well as ensuring both parties are committed to mutual benefit and responsibility.

We provide you with support before, during and after your program. Our goal is to make sure you have an amazing experience.

J-1 Intern

What’s Included?

Please see what’s covered under the program fee and what you’ll be expected to pay. It’s important that you plan and budget your finances accordingly.

  • DS-2019 form issuance
  • 24/7 emergency support and monthly check-ins during the program
  • Program assistance and support before, during and after the program
  • A job/internship placement with an employer in the USA or job/internship verification and vetting for those candidates who already have secured a placement at a company
  • A complete training plan for the Intern/Trainee programs
  • Pre-departure orientation
  • Travel health insurance
  • Fee charged by the embassy for the visa interview schedule and application
  • SEVIS fee
  • Employer site visit (when applicable)
  • Airfare
  • Personal living expenses (housing, meals, local transportation, etc.)
  • Program extension fee (when applicable)
  • J-2 visa application fees and insurance for dependents
  • Additional Ski insurance (for the Intern program)
  • DS-2019 reprint fee (when applicable)

Already have an internship or training position lined up?

If so, we’d be happy to issue the required DS-2109 form for you. As an official J-1 sponsor, we’ll make the process easy and hassle-free so you can focus on the amazing American experience awaiting you!

Program Eligibility

Participation in an international intern or trainee program is a rich and rewarding experience. It’s an honor for a business to mentor young people and privilege for them to participate. In order for the program to really meet its important objectives, there are responsibilities for both parties to demonstrate commitment to helping each other achieve personal objectives and professional goals.

The difference between an internship and a job

An Internship program is quite different from a job; all of our international interns are looking for “hands-on” work experience in the real world aligned with their academic studies. The internship program is structured on the intern’s objectives and what they’d like to achieve out of the program.  An internship is the missing link between academic studies and work experience.  The professional internship program is unpaid as the main goal is for the intern to achieve their objectives.

Good To Know

The J-1 Intern and J-1 Training programs are designed to allow foreign students, recent graduates and young professionals an opportunity to come to the U.S., gain exposure to U.S. culture, receive hands-on training, and learn about U.S. business practices related to their chosen occupational field.

FAQs

Students, recent graduates or young professionals with work experience and/or educational experience may visit the U.S. and train or receive an internship in their chosen occupational field.
Alliance Abroad Group is a designated “Sponsor” from the U.S. Department of State, authorized to issue the DS-2019 form that allows the participant to apply for the J-1 visa. Once a position offer has been received and signed off on by all parties, the participants take the DS-2019 to the U.S. Embassy in their respective countries in order to obtain their visas. Our overseas partner organizations assist participants in this process. This process has become increasingly complex due to increased security concerns. It now can take several months to receive an appointment at the Embassy, where each candidate is thoroughly screened. These new security measures can cause unexpected delays in the participants’ arrivals. We will work with you to make sure you are aware of any visa processing issues.
Alliance Abroad Group accepts requests from host companies year round. The visa process starts approximately 6 months prior to the participant’s anticipated start date.
J-1 Intern participants can stay in country for up to 12 months; J-1 Trainee participants can stay in country for up to 18 months, with the exception of training programs in hospitality/tourism, which are limited to 12 months.
Intern program:  Train in the U.S. for up to 12 months.

Trainee program: Train up to 18 months

(those in the tourism and hospitality industry are limited to a 12-month internship).

The Department of State wants to ensure that your program is a great one and enhances participants’ career, education and cultural awareness so they’ve put restrictions to protect participants, uphold the program principles and safeguard sponsor reputation.

This type of work and positions are strictly forbidden:

  • Unskilled or casual labor positions
  • Positions that involve child or elder care
  • Positions that require providing therapy, clinical care, or patient care/patient contact
  • Positions that involve more than 20 percent clerical work
  • Positions that are counter service or fast food

There is no limit on the number of times an individual can participate, as long as you meet the eligibility and residency requirements.

However, there are conditions and restrictions. They are as follows:

  • In order for you to return on the internship program, your new training plan must show how the program will allow for development of more advanced skills or skills in a different field of expertise.
  • To return on the internship program, you must maintain student status or begin a new program within 12 months of graduation.
  • Past participants of an internship program who are no longer eligible may participate in a trainee program after 2 years of residency outside of the U.S. following their internship program.
  • Past participants of a trainee program may return after at least 2 years of residency outside of the U.S. following their initial program.
AAG can assist with full placement service in certain business and hospitality internship placements.
A host employer is the U.S. company or organization where you will be training and receiving supervision during your internship or training program. The host company is different from a visa sponsor.
Internship: You can apply for another internship. However, your Internship Plan DS-7002 needs to prove that you’re not duplicating your first internship. You need to spend two terms/semesters outside the U.S. in between any two internships. Training: You can apply for another training after having completed an internship or training program. However, your Training Plan DS-7002 needs to prove that you’re not duplicating your previous training. Also, you must wait two years before applying for a new training program.
AAG does not support visa status changes in the U.S. The J-1 program is a cultural exchange program and all J-1 participants are expected to return to their home country at the end of the program and share their experiences and newly gained skills. All applicants are expected to apply for the J-1 visa in their home country or country of residence.
Yes. You can change the dates before you arrive in the U.S., but you will need to inform us so that we can make the changes in SEVIS (Student Exchange Visitor Information System) accordingly.
Yes. If you’re receiving a salary or stipend for your internship, you will need to pay taxes. However, many exchange visitors are able to file tax returns at the end of their stay for a possible refund.
To apply for a Social Security Card, take the following items and visit your local Social Security office: 1. Social Security Application, 2. DS-2019 form, 3. Passport with your J-1 Visa, 4. I-94 5. A copy of your Training Plan, 6. Additional identification documents if your passport is less than one year old To find the Social Security office nearest you: Visit www.ssa.gov • Call 1-800-772-1213 (Toll free)
Yes. If you have participated in an exchange program before, the Social Security number you were issued during that program will remain valid throughout your life. Therefore, you do not have to reapply for a new card. If the Social Security Administration is NOT able to verify your status and cannot accept your application, make sure to request an official certificate/receipt or an official letter from the Social Security Administration confirming your attempt to apply for a Social Security Card. This notice will serve as proof that you attempted to apply for your Social Security Card and should be shown to your host company before beginning your program.
If you’re not receiving an internship stipend, you’re not required to apply for a Social Security Card. Please note that a Social Security Card can be very useful even if your internship is unpaid, as the card and number function as a means of personal identification, which might help you with opening a bank account, signing a cell phone contract, etc.
Participants must secure safe and suitable housing before you depart for the U.S. The host employer may have some housing options to suggest, it’s your responsibility to find and establish. You may use resources such as: the Internet, asking for suggestions from your host company, and consulting maps of the area. These are all important steps when searching for housing. Once you have found potential housing, you must consider the following questions: • Affordability • Availability of transportation to internship site • Area safety Although it is not required to have housing organized for your entire Internship period before you leave your home country, you’re required to have at least temporary housing arranged. Make sure to pay all required housing deposits and complete all required forms and agreements by the specified deadlines to ensure your housing is secured for your arrival.

Helpful websites to consult:

You can apply as soon as you have found a host company and can name your supervisor – but not more than 6 months before your internship start date. Make sure you leave enough time for you and your host company to send us the complete documents and allow time for any needed document revisions.
Generally, passports need to be valid for 6 more months after the end of your internship program. However, there are quite a few exceptions to this rule. The so-called “six-month club” –- This document on the DOS website gives a good overview of the countries where passports only need to be valid for the time participants stay in the U.S. (including a possible grace period). 
Travel insurance is needed in case you need urgent medical care while in the U.S. It’s to protect you in the unlikely event of a medical emergency. Most international health insurance policies limit coverage for pre-existing medical conditions and do not cover things such as routine doctor visits. For more specific information, click here.
It’s safest to wait until you have your visa and passport to avoid any additional charges or penalties to change flights in the event of delays.
Officially, you can enter the U.S. up to 30 days before your internship start date and you need to leave 30 days after completing your internship (grace period). Participants that do not successfully finish the program are not entitled to the grace period. Please note that your travel insurance will cover you only until the end of your internship. For the grace period after your internship has ended, you will need to purchase additional insurance coverage.
Upon entering the U.S., foreign visitors have both index fingers scanned and a digital photo taken to match and authenticate their travel documents at the port of entry. When you go through U.S. Immigrations you will have to provide the Immigration Officer with your stamped DS-2019 form and passport. Make sure that you receive all documents back before you proceed to U.S. Customs.
If you would like to travel outside the U.S., you need to contact ……. You do not need a Travel Validation Request for trips shorter than 30 day to Canada, Mexico or the adjacent islands when the purpose of this trip is tourism.
This number provides assurances of a registered business. All host companies must have an Employer Identification Number. An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, and is used to identify business entities in the USA.
To protect participants during their internship in the event of a work accident, the host company must have workers compensation insurance or proof of legal exemption. Workers compensation insurance covers workers injured on the job, whether they are hurt on the workplace premises or elsewhere.

EMPLOYERS

Overview

When you decide to hire international exchange students and young professionals, you become more than an employer; you become a host to foreign visitors. Eager and ambitious program participants look to you for opportunities to learn about your business, grow in experience and professional development, and expand their understanding not just of your business, but also our country and culture. As a host, you have an incredible opportunity to impact your business and bottom line as well as make an indelible impression on a young mind.

All the companies we have worked with tell us the benefits they receive, as host employers, are probably greater than any the participants’ receive. Many businesses have a growing international customer base, so they appreciate new perspectives and ideas on how to connect more authentically with customers from around the globe.  They also tell us they get immense satisfaction from feeding hungry minds, educating and engaging in truly meaningful ways.

Meet your business needs and make a big difference in the hearts and minds of people eager to understand, ambitious enough to invest in their future, and courageous enough to make their dreams come true.

J-1 Intern

“One of my favorite things about my job is the fact that we utilize the J-1 visa program because I get to see different cultures come together and it is such a beautiful thing. I just overheard a conversation between a Ukrainian student and a student from Thailand talking in English about school, their families, their pets, and their cultures. It’s a great reminder that people and life are the same no matter where you are from and that compassion for others is very much alive in today’s youth.” – Adrianne Newman (Host Company)

J-1 Intern

The primary objectives of the programs are to enhance the skills and expertise of exchange visitors in their academic or occupational fields through participation in structured and guided work-based training and internship programs while improving participants’ knowledge of American techniques, methodologies and technology. The training and internship programs are also intended to increase participants’ understanding of American culture and society as well as enhance Americans’ knowledge of foreign cultures through an open interchange of ideas between participants and their American associates. A key goal of the Fulbright-Hays Act, which authorizes these programs, is that participants will return to their home countries and share their experiences with their communities. In doing so, the affect of your participation will reach far corners of the globe, bringing all citizens closer together in understanding.

When you partner with us, you benefit from:

  • Customized recruitment solutions for your seasonal or peak staffing needs
  • Quality and qualified participants available from 4 to 18 months
  • A proven process for screening, recruitment, and preparing participants
  • Administrative support including participant health insurance coverage, paperwork processing, housing, social security cards, evaluations
  • Screening and testing for English competency and experience/education relevant to your needs
  • Expertise in visa processing and immigration legislation
  • Support staff for both you and the participants
  • 24/7 emergency support
  • Participant pre-departure orientation and preparation
  • Cultural exchange activity information and toolkit
  • Potential to attend job recruitment fairs* if you prefer a more hands-on partnership
  • Cultural exchange education, activities and events