J-1 Intern Regulations

To be eligible to participate as a J Student Intern, a participant must meet these conditions:

  • Be currently "enrolled in and pursuing a degree at an accredited post secondary academic institution outside the United States." [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(i)]
  • The U.S. internship must "fulfill the educational objectives for his or her current degree program at his or her home institution." [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(i)]
  • Have "verifiable English language skills sufficient to function on a day-to-day basis in the internship environment." [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(i)(1)(i)] The sponsor must verify the student's English language ability "through a sponsor-conducted interview, by a recognized English language test, or by signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school." [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(i)(1)(i)]
  • Be "primarily in the United States to engage in a student internship program rather than to engage in employment or provide services to an employer." [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(i)(1)(ii)]
  • Be "accepted into a student internship program at the post secondary accredited academic institution listed on his or her Form DS-2019." [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(i)(1)(iii); [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(d)]
  • Be "in good academic standing" at his or her home institution outside the United States. [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(i)(1)(iv)]
  • The student must return to his or her academic program outside the United States "and fulfill and obtain a degree from such academic institution after completion of the student internship program." [22 C.F.R.§ 62.23(i)(1)(v)]
  • Have "sufficient finances to support himself or herself and dependents for their entire stay in the United States, including housing and living expenses." [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(i)(2)(ii)]

Prior to issuing a Form DS-2019 to sponsor a student in the J Student Intern category, an exchange visitor program sponsor must:

  • Be an accredited post secondary academic institution designated in the J College and University Student category
  • Accept the student into its student internship program.[22 C.F.R. § 62.23(i)(1)(iii); [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(d)]
  • Verify the student's English language ability, "through a sponsor-conducted interview, by a recognized English language test, or by signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school." [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(i)(1)(i)]
  • Secure a placement for the intern before issuing the DS-2019 [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(i)(2)(i)]
  • Complete and secure the requisite signatures on Form DS-7002 (T/IPP). The sponsor must then provide an executed copy of the Form DS-7002 to each signatory. [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(i)(7)]
  • Develop procedures for evaluating all student interns. The program sponsor must conduct such evaluations for each Student Intern. All programs must do a concluding evaluation, and programs lasting more than six months must do a midpoint and concluding evaluation. The sponsor must retain these evaluations for at least three years following the completion of the student's internship program. [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(i)(5)]
  • Ensure the student intern has sufficient finances to support self and dependents for the entire stay in the United States. [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(i)(2)(ii)]
  • Not involve in any way a "staffing/employment agency." [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(i)(8)(iii)]

Duration:

  • The internship must be full-time; i.e., consist of a minimum of 32 hours per week. [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(i)(3)(i)(A)]
  • Student interns may participate in a student internship program for "up to 12 months for each degree/major." [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(h)(3)] Extensions beyond 12 months are not possible.

Focus and nature of activity

  • The internship does not have to be in the student's field of study, but it does have to "fulfill the educational objectives for his or her current degree program at his or her home institution." [22C.F.R. § 62.23(i)]
  • All tasks assigned must be "necessary for the completion of the student internship program." [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(i)(8)(iv)]
  • A student may participate in an internship with or without wages or other compensation, and full- time employment is permitted, as outlined on the student's T/IPP. To be employed, however, the student needs the "approval of the exchange program's responsible officer and the student's home institution's dean or academic advisor." [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(i)(6)]
  • The internship tasks may consist of no more than 20 percent clerical work. [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(i)(8)(iv)]
  • The internship must expose the participant to "American techniques, methodologies, and technology," expand upon the participant's existing knowledge and skills, and "not duplicate the student intern's prior experience." [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(i)(2)(iii)]
  • Internships cannot place a student intern in any position that involves the following [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(i)(8)(i)]:
    • Unskilled or casual labor
    • Child care or elder care
    • Aviation
    • "Clinical positions or engaging in any other kind of work that involves patient care or contact, including any work that would require student interns to provide therapy, medication, or other clinical or medical care (e.g., sports or physical therapy, psychological counseling, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, social work, speech therapy, or early childhood education)"
    • Any "position, occupation, or business that could bring the Exchange Visitor Program or the Department into notoriety or disrepute." [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(i)(8)(ii)]

Distinction between internships and regular employment

  • The internship cannot "serve to fill a labor need" [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(i)(3)(ii)(B)]
  • The internship must exist "solely to assist the student intern in achieving the objectives of his or her participation in a student internship program." [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(i)(3)(ii)(B)]
  • The internship must consist of "work-based learning," rather than "ordinary employment or unskilled labor." [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(i)(7)(i)]
  • Not involve in any way a "staffing/employment agency." [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(i)(8)(iii)]

Worker protections

  • The internship cannot displace "American workers" (including full or part-time, temporary or permanent). [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(i)(3)(i)(B)]
  • If in the field of agriculture, the internship must meet all requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act. [22 C.F.R. § 62.23(i)(3)(ii)(C)]