The U.S. Department of State has a special category called “J-1 Student Intern” under the J-1 Exchange Visitor visa classification, which is intended for undergraduate students who are currently enrolled in a degree program abroad to visit the United States for internships of up to 12 months in duration. Due to the additional eligibility requirements, documentation and fees involved, International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) recommends that this category be used only for J-1 Exchange Visitors who are not eligible for Short-term Scholar, Research Scholar or Professor categories.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to participate as a J-1 Student Intern, a prospective Exchange Visitor must meet these conditions:

  • Be currently enrolled in and pursuing a degree at an accredited postsecondary academic institution outside the United States.
  • Participate only in an internship in the United States that fulfills an educational objective for his/her current degree program at his/her home institution abroad.
  • Have verifiable English language skills sufficient to function on a day-to-day basis in the internship environment.  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.
  • 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.
  • Be accepted into a student internship program at the postsecondary accredited academic institution listed on his/her Form DS-2019.
  • Be in good academic standing at his/her home institution outside the United States.
  • The student must return to his/her academic program outside the United States and fulfill and obtain a degree from such academic institution after completion of the student internship program.
  • Have sufficient finances to support himself/herself and dependents for their entire stay in the United States, including housing and living expenses.

If a department is interested in hosting a student intern, please contact ISSO for more information.