Internships in the U.S. (J-1 Visa)

Cultrual exchange intern programs are designed to allow students of degree-seeking programs or recent graduates from foreign universities to come to the United States to gain exposure to U.S. culture and to gain professional experience their chosen field of study. Programs are also designed to enhance Americans' knowledge of foreign cultures and skills through an open interchange of ideas between participants and their American associates. These internships require a J-1 visa, which is a non-immigrant cultural exchange visa issued by the U.S. Department of State.


CIPUSA is a United States Department of State authorized J-1 intern visa sponsoring organization. CIPUSA has the ability to issue the required documents needed to obtain a J-1 intern visa and to facilitate internship programs for international students or recent graduates in the United States.

What is a J-1 intern visa?

A J-1 training visa is a cultural exchange visa issued by the U. S. Department of State that allows foreign students or recent graduates to intern with an American organization for 3 weeks to 12 months. The J-1 intern visa is intended to facilitate exchanges that allow individuals from around the world to gain an understanding of U.S. culture, work practices, and institutions.  CIPUSA is authorized by the U.S. Department of State as a J-1 intern visa sponsor. The J-1 intern visa is a non-immigrant exchange visitor’s internship visa that is valid for a specific period of time, no more than 12 months. Non-immigrant status implies that the intern will not stay in the United States once the internship program is complete and intends to return to his or her country of citizenship.

CIPUSA does not allow interns to use the Exchange Visitors Program for ordinary employment or work purposes.

What is the purpose of J-1 intern programs?

The purpose of cultural exchange intern programs is to increase mutual understanding and provide opportunities for cultural and professional learning between citizens of the United States and citizens of other countries by means of educational cultural exchange. CIPUSA’s focus is on enhancing the exchange visitor’s skills in his or her field of study through participation in a structured internship program.

In what internship fields can CIPUSA provide J-1 sponsorship?

CIPUSA can provide exchange-internship programs in a variety of fields for up to 12 months.

Training fields include:

  • Architecture
  • Arts & Culture
  • Information Media
  • Business
  • Law
  • Commerce
  • Library Science
  • Communications
  • Management
  • Education*
  • Public Administration
  • Engineering
  • Social Services
  • Finance

*CIPUSA can arrange for internships for those interested in curriculum development or educational administration. CIPUSA regretfully cannot offer programs that involve direct teaching.

If you have questions about whether CIPUSA can sponsor a particular field, please call or email our headquarters: +1-440-247-1088 or

What qualifications must an applicant have to apply for a J-1 training visa sponsorship?

Applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • You are applying from your home country
  • You have a student enrolled in a degree-seeking program from an accredited university or college outside of the United States, or you will have graduated from an accredited university or college outside of the United States within 12 months of the propsed internship start date.
  • You have the ability to understand and communicate in the English language.

If I have been on a previous J-1 intern visa may I apply again?

Yes, you may apply for another J-1 intern visa for as long as you are able to meet the above criteria.

How long can I be on a J-1 intern visa?

The maximum length of a J-1 intern visa is 12 months.

Can I extend my internship program?

CIPUSA will consider program extension if the internship site can prove the need for additional training. CIPUSA cannot issue an extension beyond the 12-month program limit.

Can I bring my family with me while on a CIPUSA program?

CIPUSA will issue J-2 visas for spouses and dependents in certain programs.  Please contact CIPUSA directly to find out if this is an option for your program.

What is SEVIS?

SEVIS stands for “The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System”. Each exchange visitor issued a DS-2019 must pay a SEVIS I-901 fee of $220 USD. Participant may elect to go online ( to pay the SEVIS fee or have CIPUSA do it and reimburse CIPUSA.

Are there any other fees?

Yes. In addition to the CIPUSA Program Fees, the U.S. Embassy/Consulates charge an applicaiton fee to attend the visa interview.  This fee varies depending on the country and special circumstances. Other fees might also apply.  Always check with the U.S. embassy/consulate where your visa approval interview will be held to determine if additional monies are required.

Am I required to have health insurance coverage while on a J-1 intern program?

Yes, all J-1 interns (and their dependents) are required to have health insurance that meets the U.S. Department of State requirements. The minimum requirements for medical insurance coverage are the following:

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
  • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.
  • An insurance policy secured to meet the benefits requirements must be underwritten by an insurance corporation with an A.M. Best rating of "A-" or above, an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of "A-I" or above, a Standard and Poor's Claims Paying Ability rating of "A-" or above, or a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of B+ or above.
  • Insurance policy may require a reasonable waiting period for pre-existing conditions; include a coinsurance provision that may require exchange visitor to pay up to 25% of the expenses per accident or illness.

How do I obtain health insurance?

CIPUSA can provide interns with the required U.S. Department of State J-1 training visa health insurance through GeoBlue.  Please contact CIPUSA for current prices.  CIPUSA can also provide interns with a list of other health insurance policies that meet the U.S. State Department's minimum requirements.

Cultural Component

The J-1 intern visa is one of ten visa categories under the U.S. State Department’s Exchange Visitor Program (EVP), which brings true global value to American public diplomacy.  People-to-people programs provide unlimited opportunity for exchange visitors and Americans to engage with each other, to inform exchange visitors’ thinking about the United States and its place in the global community, to break down prejudices and misunderstandings, and in the long-term expand and strengthen the relationships between Americans and the rest of the world.

In accordance with the Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961, these cultural, educational, and professional exchanges are intended to build mutual understanding and help create a foundation of trust between Americans and the rest of the world.  By bringing people together to share perspectives and experiences, they strengthen our national security and promote prosperity – at home and abroad.

The EVP offers participants a unique opportunity to experience the U.S. and its diversity and to connect directly with Americans. The cross-cultural component of the EVP experience is critical to the short-term success of each individual exchange, and to the long-term effectiveness of the Program and of U.S. public diplomacy overall.

Success in advancing U.S. public diplomacy goals, as all programs in the EVP are intended to do, is best achieved through careful planning and execution of the cultural component of the exchange.

*from the U.S. Department of State's Exchange Visitor Program "Cross-Cultural Toolkit" (June 2013)

Rules & Restrictions

Intern, Internship Site and CIPUSA Responsibilities:

The participant or the placement site is responsible for arranging the internship program and finances for the intern's stay in the U.S., including living, insurance, and transportation costs. The participant and the placement site are required to create an internship plan documenting the participant’s time spent interning, including goals and skills that will be learned. CIPUSA will assist with internship plans and will provide the participant J-1 sponsorship and support to complete the process. Please see more detailed descriptions of responsibilities below.

Intern Responsibilities:

  • Providing roundtrip airfare
  • Negotiating any compensation from the internship site
  • Arranging living accommodations
  • Arranging travel to and from internship site
  • Paying the CIPUSA administrative fee (this can be paid by the internship site as well)
  • Arranging the required health insurance
  • Committing to learning and professional development
  • Submit all required CIPUSA paperwork (evaluations, etc.) in a timely manner.
  • Adhere to all J-1 intern visa regulations during the training program

Internship Site Responsibilities:

  • Creating a well-designed DS-7002 internship plan for the intern
  • Providing a supervisor for the intern
  • Sign a contract with CIPUSA for hosting the intern
  • Providing the intern with an orientation to the U.S., local city, and U.S. culture
  • Assisting the intern with living accommodations, getting acquainted with the U.S., traveling to and from the internship site, and educational/cultural opportunities.
  • Providing the intern with an overall enriching internship program  

CIPUSA or its network offices will provide:

  • Support in designing an internship plan
  • Sponsorship for the J-1 intern visa by arranging the DS 2019 forms
  • Health insurance if needed
  • Information about the U.S.
  • Support with cultural or educational activities if desired
  • Evaluations throughout the program
  • Support throughout the program 

Searching for a Program

Our network offices offer 1 to 2 month placements in a variety of fields.  Visit our U.S. Locations page for more information on each network office and their program offerings.

For longer programs, we recommend inquiring with U.S. companies or organizations that you would like to train with directly.  Let them know that you are looking to gain experience in your field in the U.S. with the opportunity for cross-cultural exchange.

Tips for a successful inquiry:

  • Create an American-style resume
  • Thoroughly research the company or organization you would like to intern with
  • Prepare to speak about how your international perspective will contribute positively to the workplace

Searching online for short-term internship opportunities is also an effective way to find internship programs in the United States.

U.S. State Department Information

The J-1 intern visa is one of several visas offered through The U.S. State Department's Bureau of Cultural & Educational Affairs' Exhange Visitor Program.  This program provides countless opportunities for international candidates looking to travel and gain experience in the United States. The multifaceted programs enable foreign nationals to come to the U.S. to teach, study, conduct research, demonstrate special skills, or receive on the job training for periods ranging from a few weeks to several years.

Such programs are also intended to increase participants' understanding of American culture and society and to enhance Americans' knowledge of foreign cultures and skills through an open interchange of ideas between participants and their American associates. A key goal of the Fulbright-Hays Act, which authorizes these programs, is that participants will return to their home countries and share their experiences with their countrymen.

Click here to find out more about the J-1 intern visa and other visas offered through the Exchange Visitor Program.


If you would like to participate in CIPUSA’s Intern Visa Program, please complete our Inquiry Form to help us determine if you and the host organization (if already determined) qualify for the J-1 intern visa.

Once your program has been approved then the following must be submitted via mail or email:

Required Application Materials

Program fees

All CIPUSA Program Fees must be paid before CIPUSA will send the J-1 sponsorship forms (DS 2019). Fees can be paid by check from an American based organization, money order, or credit card. Once CIPUSA has received payment for services we will send you the necessary documents.

In addition to the CIPUSA fee all J-1 interns are now subject to a $220 USD SEVIS fee. This fee is being imposed to support the U.S. Government Student Exchange and Visitor Information System to maintain accurate and secure information on exchange visitors to the United States. This fee must be paid prior to your U.S. Embassy visit. U.S. Embassies will not issue a J-1 visa until this fee has been paid. CIPUSA will process this fee on behalf of the intern. For further information about SEVIS please visit the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement web site at

Expedite Service

Normal processing time for CIPUSA is 6-10 business days. For an additional $600 Expedite fee, CIPUSA can process the application within 3-5 business days. This service is based on CIPUSA receiving a complete application, training plan, additional forms, and all fees paid in full.

J-2 Dependents

The applicant must complete the CIPUSA application J-2 dependent section as required and provide CIPUSA with a copy of all dependents' passports and marriage/birth certificates. The cost for J-2 sponsorship for each dependent is $750 USD. Please be aware that in order for J-2 dependents to be employed while in the U.S., dependents must apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Please contact CIPUSA for more information on J-2 dependents.

After submitting an application to CIPUSA.....

Once CIPUSA receives the completed application form, signed DS-7002 internship plan, host site agreement form, and administrative fees, CIPUSA will begin reviewing the application. An approved CIPUSA staff member will interview the participant by Skype or telephone. The CIPUSA application review process is as follows:

CIPUSA will review the application and signed DS-7002 internship plan. If it meets CIPUSA requirements it will be submitted for J-1 intern visa sponsorship. CIPUSA processing time is generally 6-10 business days. (Should you request expedited processing, CIPUSA can review and process your application within 3-5 business days for an additional $600. Please note that a completed application, signed DS-7002 internship plan and administrative fee payment are required for expedite processing) . If the application is approved, CIPUSA will send all necessary documents (DS 2019 form) to the address listed on the application. CIPUSA will not send original papers to any party other than the applicant applying and application materials must be sent to the applicant's home country.

NOTE: CIPUSA cannot send out any Intern Visa Program documents until both the administrative fees and the $220 USD SEVIS fee have been paid.

For further information about the Intern Visa Program, please contact CIPUSA at


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