The J-1 Internship/Trainee program in the United States is designed to allow university students, recent graduates or young professionals to come to the United States to participate in a structured and guided work-based learning program to foster professional development in the intern’s or trainee’s specific academic or occupational field.

Interns are international candidates who:
– Are currently enrolled in and pursuing studies at a foreign degree or certificate-granting post-secondary academic institution outside the United States; or
– Who have graduated from such an institution no more than 12 months prior to their exchange visitor program start date.

Trainees is international candidates who:
– Have a degree or professional certificate from a foreign post-secondary academic institution and at least one year of prior related work experience in his or her occupational field outside the United States; or
– Have five years of work experience outside the United States in the occupational field in which they are seeking training

Important issues:

  1. The program lasts 6-12 months and starts all year round.
  2. The host company accepting the interns have to be able to provide at least three phase of training for the participants and the supervisor who is going to teach and evaluate the participant during the internship.
  3. Interns and trainees cannot perform regular unskilled duties (housekeeping, dishwashing, etc.) and more than 20% clerical work.
  4. Internship or Training program’s positions must not displace full, part-time, temporary or permanent American workers or serve to fill a labor need.
  5. Since the Intern/Trainee is classified by the IRS as a non-resident alien, he/she is exempt from paying Social Security and MediCare taxes.
  6. Participants basically paid a stipend at the rate of entry-level employees.
  7. If your can provide housing that would be very helpful. Housing fee may be deducted from paychecks or paid by cash.

The J-1 Internship/Training program is not as popular as J-1 Work and Travel program. A lot of American employers hire international students for unskilled positions to help them during their busiest seasons. However, the enthusiastic and unique approach of such workers is only available for a short period of time, unlike interns.

Learn More About Differences between Seasonal Work & Travel Workers and International Interns/Trainees

The employers may be interested in hosting international interns and trainees if they have already worked with foreign students, appreciate cultural diversity they bring, and are aware of the benefits both, the international workers and host employers, can get from their cooperation.

The purpose of the J-1 Intern/Trainee category of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is to give foreign students and recent graduates the opportunity to develop their skills while gaining an insight into US business practice and culture. Interns are expected to share the cross-cultural and professional experience they have gained in the U.S. upon returning to their own countries.

The employers get young professionals with a degree in a particular field, ready and willing to learn and gain experience while expressing their genuine interest, effectiveness and productivity during the working process. The fresh perspectives and new ideas of international interns and trainees can invigorate not only the employer himself, but also his American employees, and many host employers tell us that they learn as much as they teach.

What’s more, unlike many U.S. college interns, J-1 participants can stay with their employer far beyond the length of a single academic semester. Interns are eligible to stay an entire year, while professional trainees can remain at the company for up to 18 months. Also, they can start at any time.

What’s the difference between an intern and a trainee?

The main difference between interns and trainees is their education and experience. Interns must be current students or recent graduates of a post-secondary academic institution outside the U.S. that grants degrees or professional certificates. If they’ve completed their studies, they must start the internship program within one year of graduating. Interns are permitted to intern in the U.S. for up to 12 months, and their field of training must be related to their field of study.

Trainees must have earned a degree or professional certificate from an overseas post-secondary academic institution and have at least one year of related professional experience acquired outside the U.S. Alternatively, if they do not have a degree or certificate, they must have at least five years of related professional experience acquired outside the U.S. Trainees are permitted to train in the US for up to 18 months, unless they are participating in a Hospitality/Tourism program, which cannot exceed 12 months. Their field of training must be related their professional experience but not necessarily to their degree.

J-1 Internship/Trainee Fields:

  • Agriculture
  • Arts & Culture
  • Construction & Building Trades
  • Education
  • Hospitality & Tourism
  • Information Media & Communications
  • Management and Business
  • Public Administration
  • Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics, and Industrial Occupations

The recruiting process basically comprises the following steps:

  1. The host company provides the information about the vacant internship/training positions (title, duties, schedule, pay rate, housing conditions, start and end dates, amount of the candidates,  gender and nationality requirements, etc).
  2. Resumes of selected candidates are sent for the host company review.
  3. Interviews with the candidates are set up by Skype upon request.
  4. Documentation (Training/Internship Placement Plan (DS 7002), Host Company Agreement, Offer Letters) are completed for accepted candidates.
  5. Vetting of the documentation by relevant J-1 visa sponsor.
  6. DS 2019 is issued to the candidates by visa-sponsor.
  7. Flights are arranged as soon as passports with visa stamps are released.

The Training/Internship Placement Plan (DS 7002) must:
     – State the specific goals of the Intern/Trainee.
     – Specify the knowledge, skill or techniques to be imparted to the Intern/Trainee.
     – Describe the evaluation method of the Intern/Trainee’s performance and how the Intern/Trainee will be supervised.
     – Describe the specific tasks and activities the Intern/Trainee will complete.
     – Specify what cultural exposure the Host Business will be providing for the Intern/Trainee.

Our team will gladly help you to find the most suitable and interested J1 participants for your property to both increase international participant’s understanding of American culture, and enhance Americans’ knowledge of foreign cultures, customs and practices.