The Exchange Visitor Program allows foreigner to intern in the US

The Exchange Visitor Program allows foreigner to intern and to be trained in the US

The goal of the Exchange Visitor Program of the United States Department of State (State Department) is to allow foreign participants the opportunity to engage with Americans, share their culture, improve their English language proficiency, and learn new skills for their future careers. There are 15 different categories of sub-programs under the J1-Visa Program. Every year approximately about 300.000 foreigner participate in the Exchange Visitor Program. The State Department designates more than 1.500 for-profit, non-profit, or federal, state, and local government organizations to conduct different private sector programs. Exchange visitors on private sector programs may study, teach, do research, share their specialized skills, or receive on-the-job training for periods ranging from a few weeks to several years.

Interns and Trainees

Here we are focusing on 2 private-sector categories of the Exchange Visitor Program: trainees and interns.

Trainees are professionals with a degree, professional certificate, or relevant work experience who gain exposure to U.S. culture and receive training in U.S. business practices through a structured and guided work-based program.

Interns are college and university students or recent graduates gain exposure to U.S. culture as they experience U.S. business practices in their chosen occupational field.

Intern Program

Internship programs are designed to allow foreign college and university students or recent graduates to come to the United States to gain exposure to U.S. culture and to receive hands-on experience in U.S. business practices in their chosen occupational field.

Interns must be foreign nationals:

Who are currently enrolled in and pursuing studies at a foreign degree- or certificate-granting post-secondary academic institution outside the United States; or

Who have graduated from such an institution no more than 12 months prior to their exchange visitor program start date.


Practical Experience: The program bridges the gap between formal education and practical work experience.


Interns cannot work in unskilled or casual labor positions, in positions that require or involve childcare or elder care or in any kind of position that involves medical patient care or contact*. Nor can interns work in positions that require more than 20 percent clerical or office support work.

*That is the reason why medical internships, nursing internships or psychology / psychiatry internships in hospital or treatment facilities with practical hands-on patients components are not allowed in the USA.

Internships are allowed in the following occupational categories:

  • Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing;
  • Arts and Culture;
  • Construction and Building Trades;
  • Education, Social Sciences, Library Science, Counseling and Social Services;
  • Health Related Occupations;
  • Hospitality and Tourism;
  • Information Media and Communications;
  • Management, Business, Commerce and Finance;
  • Public Administration and Law; and
  • The Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics and Industrial Occupations.


Who can employ a foreigner as an intern or trainee in the US?

Host companies and organizations are required to:

Sign a completed Form DS–7002 – Training/Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP) to verify that all placements are appropriate and consistent with the objectives of the interns as outlined in their program applications and training plans. All parties involved in internship programs should recognize that interns are seeking entry-level training and experience. Accordingly, all placements must be tailored to the skills and experience level of the foreign intern.

To work closely with an assigned visa sponsor who controls the execution of the internship program.

Abide by all occupational health and safety laws, program rules and regulations set forth by the visa sponsor, including the completion of all mandatory program evaluations.

Have sufficient resources, plant, equipment and trained personnel available.

Provide continuous on-site supervision and mentoring by experienced and knowledgeable staff.

Ensure that interns obtain skills, knowledge, and competencies through structured and guided activities such as classroom training, seminars, rotation through several departments, on-the-job training, attendance at conferences and similar learning activities, as appropriate in specific circumstances.

The same applies to trainees.

In summary: The Exchange Visitor Program in the USA thus enables foreign interns to complete a study or training-related internship in the USA. There are many regulations to be followed by the intern, the supervising visa sponsor and the host company. The internship is limited to 12 months, a training to 18 months. Internships and trainings can be paid or unpaid.

The internship is not a way to immigrate to the USA or to want to earn money with a low-skilled job. Applicants who do not meet the requirements to participate in the internship or training program will be rigorously rejected by us as an foreign internship agency and by our US placement agencies and the assigned visa sponsors.

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