1. What is “SEVIS?”
On February 15, 2003, the Department of State introduced the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) in an effort to improve the tracking of J and F Visa holders during their stay in the U.S. When our partner sponsor organization approves sponsorship for you, we will issue to you the DS-2019 Form by registering you in SEVIS.
When you submit your J Visa application to a U.S. consulate or embassy, the consular officer handling your application will have access to the data that sponsor organization entered into SEVIS.
Whenever there is a change in your U.S. contact information or in your program or visa status, they update your SEVIS record. If you are terminated from the J Program, your SEVIS record will reflect this and may have a negative impact on future visa applications.
To maintain your visa status and SEVIS record, it is very important that you inform your sponsor organization in advance of any potential changes to your original program as well as your and your supervisor’s U.S. contact information.
2. I am currently doing Optional Practical Training (OPT) on the F-1 Student Visa. Can I apply for the J-1 Trainee/Intern Visa?
Yes, but only if you otherwise comply with Department of State regulations and definitions regarding Trainees and Interns.
3. What are the application requirements?
To be eligible for Sponsorship on the J-1 Trainee/Intern Visa, you need to:
3.1 Have secured a training or internship position with an organization in the USA.
3.2 Have qualifications for Training or Internship regarding university level education and previous work experience in a field directly related to the proposed program.
3.3 Know English well enough to perform successfully in the proposed training/internship position.
4.4 Plan to leave the U.S. within 30 days after the completion of your training/internship.
4. Do I really have to apply for the J-1 Visa in my home country?
You can apply for the J-1 Visa only at a U.S. consulate or embassy outside the U.S. If you have secured documents for sponsorship for the J-1 Visa but are unable or unwilling to apply for your visa in your home country, you may be able to do so in another (third) country. For example, if you are already in the U.S., you may apply for the J-1 Visa at a U.S. consulate in Canada. However, we discourage visa applications in third countries since your chances of obtaining the J-1 Visa can be considerably lower there (and consular policy on such applications may change without notification). You should make every effort to plan to apply in your home country for your visa.
5. How long can my training or internship last?
Training on the J-1 Visa Program may last between 3 weeks and 18 months.
Internships are limited to 12 months.
6. Can I bring my wife, husband and/or children?
Your spouse and/or children should be able to obtain the J-2 Visa to accompany you to the U.S. or join you later. Each dependent (spouse and/or unmarried child under the age of 21) wishing to enter the U.S. together with you must apply for sponsorship for the J-2 Visa at the same time you are submitting to us your application for sponsorship for the J-1 Visa. If a dependent wishes to join you in the U.S. later, they may apply for sponsorship separately.
You and your dependents must bring sufficient funds to cover all living expenses in the U.S., pay for round-trip air travel, and purchase adequate health insurance, both for yourself and your spouse and/or children. Sponsored dependents on the J-2 Visa are not allowed to accept any employment while in the U.S. (unless under exceptional circumstances).
Please note that securing sponsorship for a J-1 or J-2 Visa does not guarantee that you or your dependents will actually be granted the J-1 or J-2 Visa by a U.S. embassy or consulate.
7. Can I extend my training/internship?
If your original training program lasts less than 18 months and if your host organization supports your request for additional training, it may be possible to extend your program up to maximum program duration of 18 months.
If your original internship program lasts less than 12 months and if your host organization supports your request for additional intern activities, it may be possible to extend your program up to maximum program duration of 12 months.
Whether training or interning, you must be currently “in status” on your J-1 Visa and sponsor organization must receive all necessary documentation and application forms at least 30 days prior to the program end date indicated on the Training/Internship Placement Plan ‘TIPP’ and contracts.
To request an extension of training/internship, please contact us, so we can send the necessary application materials to you.
Travel outside the U.S. is restricted during your program extension, unless you obtain a new J-1 Visa that is valid for the appropriate dates and duration. You must contact the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to check whether your travel plans comply with current laws, and regulations.
Please note that there is never a guarantee that our partner – U.S. sponsor organization will accept any application for training/internship extension.
8. Can I apply for a second J-1 Trainee/Intern Visa?
Yes. Applicants who have previously participated in a traineeship may be eligible to participate in additional training and internship programs under the following conditions:
8.1 Additional training and internship programs must address the development of more advanced skills or a different field of expertise.
8.2 Interns may participate in additional internship programs as long as they maintain student status or begin a new internship program within 12 months of graduation.
8.3 Trainees may participate in additional training programs after a period of at least two years residency outside the U.S. following their previous training program.
8.4 Participants who have successfully completed internship programs may participate in a subsequent program after a two-year residency outside the U.S.
9. Can I work and/or accept another job outside my training/internship?
No. As a J-1 Trainee/Intern you are strictly prohibited from accepting any employment in the U.S outside your training/internship and/or performing any work in the U.S. If you are found to engage in unauthorized employment and/or work, you are in violation of federal regulations, subject to immediate termination from the J-1 Visa Program, and may face deportation and/or other penalties through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
10. Do I need to have health insurance for my training/internship?
All trainees and their dependents on the J Visa must be covered by a health insurance plan that satisfies the insurance requirements of the U.S. Department of State for the entire duration of the training program. Before our U.S. partner organization can approve sponsorship, you and your dependents must show evidence of such coverage or purchase insurance.
To satisfy the requirements of the Department of State, your and your dependents’ insurance coverage must:
10.1 Provide, at a minimum, up to 10,000 U.S. dollars in case of medical evacuation.
10.2 Provide, at a minimum, up to 7,500 U.S. dollars in case of repatriation of remains.
10.3 Provide, at a minimum,
EITHER: up to 50,000 U.S. dollars of regular and customary medical expenses per accident or sickness
OR: 75% of regular and customary medical expenses per accident or sickness
10.4 Have a deductible that does not exceed 500 U.S. dollars per accident or sickness.
11. How will I pay for my living expenses during my program?
Many host organizations provide their trainees/interns with a monthly stipend that helps them pay for rent and other living expenses. However, regardless of whether your training/internship is paid or unpaid, it will be your responsibility to have sufficient funds to cover all living expenses in the U.S., pay for round-trip air travel, and purchase adequate health insurance, both for yourself and your dependents (any spouse and/or unmarried children under the age of 21 who entered the U.S. on the J-2 Visa to stay with you).
You are required to come to the U.S. with a minimum of 1,200 U.S. dollars (plus 600 U.S. dollars for each dependent accompanying you) in order to be able to pay for living expenses during the first month of your stay (you may not receive the first paycheck from your host organization until five or more weeks after the beginning of your training/internship). In addition, you must ensure that you have at least 900 U.S. dollars for yourself and 450 U.S. dollars per dependent per month to cover basic living expenses for the remainder of your and your dependents’ stay in the U.S. Please note, however, that your actual living expenses may be significantly higher, depending on your life style, the location of your training/internship, and other factors.
12. How long may I stay in the U.S. after I finish my program?
After you have successfully completed your J-1 program, you are permitted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to remain in the U.S. for another 30 days. During this 30-day period, which is often referred to as the “Grace Period,” you are under the jurisdiction of the USCIS and no longer entitled to train or intern at an organization. The USCIS grants this period to allow you to settle your affairs and to prepare your return to your home country. You may neither continue nor complete your program, nor work during this 30-day period. Although you may travel inside the United States, we recommended that you do not travel beyond the borders of the U.S. as you will not be permitted re-entry on your expired J-1 Training/Internship visa. For your own safety we also suggest you purchase health insurance for this period either independently or through us.