Student Intern Category Overview

Students who are currently enrolled in and pursuing a degree at a postsecondary academic institution outside the U.S. and whose U.S. internship will fulfill the educational objectives for their current degree program may participate in the J-1 Student Intern program as long as they meet certain requirements.

Who is eligible for the J-1 Student Intern category?

Students who are currently enrolled in and pursuing a degree at a postsecondary academic institution outside the U.S. and whose U.S. internship will fulfill the educational objectives for their current degree program may participate in the J-1 Student Intern program as long as they meet the following requirements:

  • Be accepted into an internship program at a postsecondary academic institution in the U.S. 
  • Be in the U.S. primarily to engage in an internship program rather than to engage in employment 
  • Have verifiable English language skills sufficient to function on a day-to-day basis in the internship environment
  • Have sufficient finances to support themselves (and any dependents) for their entire stay in the U.S. 
  • Be in good academic standing at their academic institution outside the U.S. 
  • Return to and obtain a degree from their academic institution outside the U.S. after completing the internship program 

What requirements must the internship program meet?

The internship program must satisfy the following requirements:

  • It must fulfill the educational objectives for the student’s current degree program at his/her home institution.
  •  It must be a minimum of 3 weeks in length; maximum 1 year.
  • The internship cannot serve to fill a labor need. It must exist primarily so that the J-1 Student Intern can achieve the objectives of the internship program.
  • All tasks assigned to the J-1 Student Intern must be necessary for the completion of the internship program. 
  • The internship must consist of work-based learning rather than ordinary employment and unskilled labor. Internship tasks may consist of no more than 20 percent clerical work. 
  • The J-1 Student Intern may participate in the internship with or without wages or other compensation. Full-time employment is permitted with the approval of the student's dean or academic advisor at the student’s home institution. 
  • The internship must expose the J-1 Student Intern to American techniques, methodologies and technology, expand upon the participant's existing knowledge and skills, and not duplicate the student's prior experience. 
  • Internships cannot place a J-1 Student Intern in any position that involves the following: 
    • Unskilled or casual labor
    • Child care or elder care
    • Aviation
    • Clinical positions or any work that involves patient care or contact, or the provision of therapy, medication or other clinical or medical care (e.g. sports or physical therapy, psychological counseling, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, social work, speech therapy, early childhood education). 
  • The internship cannot displace “American workers" (full or part-time, temporary or permanent). 
  • The internship must not involve any position, occupation or business that could bring the Exchange Visitor Program or the Department of State into notoriety or disrepute.

What requirements must the hosting department meet?

The hosting department must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Verify the J-1 Student Intern's English language ability through an interview, by a recognized English language test, or by signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school 
  • Ensure that the internship is full-time (ie. a minimum of 32 hours per week) 
  • Complete and sign the “Training/Internship Plan” (Form DS-7002)
    • For assistance please refer here.  
  • Monitor the health and safety of the Exchange Visitor and inform the Office of International Student Services (ISS), 210 Talbert Hall, if there are any concerns.
  • Inform International Student Services if any of the internship details change (i.e. program start or end date, site of activity or any changes to the plan outlined on the Form DS-7002.  
  • Complete a mid-point evaluation (for programs lasting longer than 6 months) and concluding evaluation of the Student Intern and their work.