BridgeUSAExchange Visitor Program (EVP)J-1 internship
J-1 Visa Program
The Exchange Visitor Program (EVP, J-1 Visa Program) offers cultural and educational exchange opportunities in the US to more than 300,000 foreign citizens annually through a variety of programs.
BridgeUSA is the new brand identity for the Exchange Visitor Program (EVP). FUSIA Communications is a designated sponsor in the J-1 intern category. We offer two types of J-1 visa programs - the Cross Cultural Internship Program (with host placement) and FUSIA J-1 internships (exchange visitors find their own hosts).
Generally, a foreigner who wishes to enter the US must first obtain either a nonimmigrant or an immigrant visa. There are different nonimmigrant visas, J is for individuals approved to travel and gain experience, skills, or knowledge in the US by participating in a work and study-based exchange visitor program.
Administered by the US Department of State Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau (ECA), the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program (EVP, BridgeUSA, or the J-1 visa program) provides opportunities for international candidates to travel and gain experience by participating in work- and study-based programs in the US and then return home to share their experiences. These programs enable foreign nationals to come to the US to study, teach, conduct research, learn about the American culture, improve their English proficiency, demonstrate special skills, receive on the job training, and develop new skills for periods ranging from a few weeks to several years.
The purpose of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) is to promote international educational and cultural exchange to develop mutual understanding between the people of the US and other countries in accordance with the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, as amended (Fulbright-Hays Act) through Educational and Cultural Exchanges.
There are 15 different types of exchange programs available in the J-1 exchange visitor status: Au Pair, Camp Counselor, College and University Student, Government Visitor, Intern, International Visitor Physician, Professor, Research Scholar, Secondary School Student, Short-Term Scholar, Specialist, Summer Work Travel, Teacher, and Trainee.
The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is for foreign nationals who wish to come to the US to teach, study, research, receive training, or exchange skills, experience, or knowledge in various areas. The State Department designates private and public entities as sponsors to conduct exchange visitor programs for which interested foreign nationals can apply for. After being screened and accepted into the program by the designated sponsor, prospective exchange visitors will then apply for a J-1 visa at an embassy or consulate with necessary documents, including the DS-2019 form issued by the designated sponsor, which is the basic document to support an application for an exchange visitor visa.
Form DS-2019 or Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status is the basic document to support an application for an exchange visitor (J-1) visa, certify that admission into a program has been accepted and that the exchange visitor has demonstrated sufficient financial resources to stay in the US for the length specified on the DS-2019 form. This form also identifies the exchange visitor's passport information, his/her designated sponsor, and provides a brief description of the exchange visitor's program (exchange category, an estimate of the cost of the program, and so on). Note that the original DS-2019 form is always required when applying for the visa for a prospective exchange visitor to seek an interview at a US embassy or consulate to obtain a J visa and entering the US, and that only designated sponsors are authorized to issue this form.
J-1 internships are offered in the following occupational categories: (1) Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing; (2) Arts and Culture; (3) Construction and Building Trades; (4) Education, Social Sciences, Library Science, Counseling, and Social Services; (5) Health-Related Occupations; (6) Hospitality and Tourism; (7) Information Media and Communications; (8) Management, Business, Commerce, and Finance; (9) Public Administration and Law; (10) The Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics, and Industrial Occupations. FUSIA sponsors internships in the following occupational categories: (1) Arts and Culture, (2) Education, Social Sciences, Library Science, Counseling and Social Services, (3) Information Media and Communications, (4) Management, Business, Commerce and Finance, (5) Public Administration and Law, and (6) The Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics and Industrial Occupations.
Form DS-7002 or Training/Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP) is an official document from the US Department of State that defines the agreed-upon training or internship objectives, outline the proposed internship program and exchange activities, and provides details on how the J-1 internship will be supervised, what the exchange visitor to do, what skills to learn, how the performance to be measured, and so on to help ensure that the exchange visitor gets valuable and relevant professional development and cultural exchange experience. A copy of this form with signatures and signed dates from all parties is required when applying for a J-1 visa.
SEVIS, or the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. SEVIS is an Internet-based system that the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) administers and uses to maintain information of the M, F and J visa holders, as well as J visa sponsors and Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified schools. All exchange visitors, including their spouses and dependents must be registered in SEVIS. Both DS-2019 and DS-7002 are SEVIS-generated forms. The data is accessible by the Responsible Officer and Alternative Responsible Officers of the program sponsors, consular officers, US Customs and Border Protection (port of entry) officers, and related US government staff.
About > J-1 visa program
The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) is a cultural exchange program administered by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the US Department of State with the purpose to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges. Five principal parties are involved in the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program.
About > J-1 visa program
How to apply to J-1 internship
J-1 internships (one of the 15 exchange visitor programs) are designed to allow foreign college and university students or recent graduates to come to the US to gain exposure to US culture and to receive hands-on experience in US business practices in their chosen occupational field.
Confirm the program cateogry
Use the program comparison chart to compare the different programs and confirm that J-1 intern is the one meant for you and that you meet the minimal eligibility requirements such as demonstrating sufficient financial solvency, your intent to return to your home country when your visa expires, and so on.
If decided to proceed with J-1 internship, contact a designated sponsor of the intern category and your occupational category. The sponsor will charge a fee which vary by sponsors and based on the condition. Eligibility criterion and operational guidelines also vary by sponsors. Study carefully before committing to a program.
Once decided which sponsor and program to go for, submit an application with the required documents such as a valid passport copy, postsecondary transcripts, proof for sufficient funds, and so on. As English proficiency is an important factor in the screening process, an interview with the sponsor is generally required to ensure that the intern is proficient enough in English.
Identify a host
Some programs come with the host placement, some don't. If the latter, find a qualified host that will work with the sponsor to provide you with the exchange experience. To save time, ensure that the host meets the minimal eligibility requirements. Reference the federal regulations (22 CFR Part 62) that government exchange visitor programs.
Apply for eligibility screening (host)
The next step is for the host to submit an application with the required proof such as a copy of the workers' compensation policy, offer letters, and so on, followed by an interview. A site visit, which may add additional time to the application process, is generally required for hosts that have less than 25 staff and have less than $3 million annual revenue.
Complete DS-7002 (by the host)
A DS-7002 form is required when a J-1 intern applies for the J-1 visa. This is an important form that outlines the training objectives, syllabus, cultural activities, etc. and demonstrates that the sponsor, host, and intern have discussed, reviewed, and agreed upon a plan for the internship and educational outcomes.
Apply for a J-1 visa
If you are accepted into an exchange visitor program, your host, you, and the sponsor will sign the finalized DS-7002 form, your sponsor will issue (and mail) you a DS-2019 form, the basic document to support an application for a J-1 visa. You will then pay the SEVIS fee and complete the DS-160 form and pay the visa application fee of $160 to schedule a consular interview. On the day of your interview, attend with your original DS-2019 form and additional supporting documents.
Be approved for a J-1 visa
At the end of your interview, the interview officer will likely to let you know whether your visa is approved or denied. If approved, the officer will tell you when you should expect to receive your visa. Continue to work with your sponsor to prepare for your arrival in the US.
About > J-1 visa program
Commonly asked questions
Below you'll find answers to the questions we get asked the most from prospective J-1 interns.
Approved tourist (B) visas are used for foreign nationals to enter the US to engage in temporary tourism or business. They are not allowed to work or intern (even it is unpaid) of any kind while in the US. A violation of immigration status can result in deportation or ban on any future entry into the US.
ESTA holders are not permitted to work or intern (even it is unpaid) of any kind while in the US. According to the US Customs and Border Protection, an approved ESTA is not a visa. It does not meet the legal requirements to serve in lieu of a US visa when a visa is required. Travelers that possess a valid US visa may travel to the US on that visa for the purpose it was issued.
Bermudan and Canadian citizens can intern in the US with a J-1 visa status (which can be obtained from a designated visa sponsor in the intern category) without needing to be screened at a US embassy or consulate. You will go through the J-1 intern program application process same as everyone, but you can skip the consular interview with the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV) and Form DS-160 waived. You will enter the US with a valid Form DS-2019, passport, Form DS-7002, evidence of financial support, evidence of SEVIS fee payment (must be paid online at least 3 days before entering the US, etc.
Here are the basic requirements:
- Your internship does not exceed 12 months
- You are at least 18 years of age
- You can complete your internship either during your studies (after the second semester) or within 12 months after graduation
- You have secured an internship placement
- You have proficient English language skills
- Sufficient financial support of at least USD 2000/month
- You must account for a processing time of at least
Generally, it takes about 8 to 10 weeks to apply for a visa. However, this timeframe also depends on the cooperation from your host organization as well as how rapidly you submit all of your required documents. To avoid any delays, we advise you to start your application as soon as you can.
Your J-1 program duration is specified on your Form DS-2019. The maximum duration of your J-1 program, however, is determined by your J-1 program type and subject to approval by your program sponsor. For example, J-1 interns may be issued J-1 visas for a maximum of 12 months.
No one can guarantee this. The success of your DS-2019 application depends exclusively on whether you and your host organization selected for a J-1 visa are appropriate and all necessary information is presented. The respective criteria are outlined by the U.S. Department of State and the task of visa sponsors, is to examine all applications strictly according to these guidelines.
Unlike many other countries, the U.S. authorities have delegated part of the visa procedure to organizations that act as a legal sponsor. These can be viewed as an extension of the U.S. Embassy and are responsible for implementing programs in accordance with all U.S. regulations. You must work with a legal sponsor without exception as the U.S. embassies or consulates only issue the J visa after presenting the DS-2019.