Skip to Content

Programs:

FAQs

THE FAQs ARE DIVIDED INTO THE FOLLOWING SECTIONS: 

Prospective Applicant for a J-1 Trainee or Intern visa:

1. What occupational categories can the American Immigration Council sponsor?

2. How long can the training program or internship program be?

3. What are the fees?

4. What is the refund policy?

5. How fast is the processing time for an application?

6. How will webcam interviews affect processing times?

7. Can the American Immigration Council sponsor an international intern who was previously in another J-1 training program or other J-1 program?

8. What are the minimum qualifications for an international intern?

9. Is there a minimum age or age limit?

10. Can the American Immigration Council sponsor an international trainee who was previously in another J-1 training program or other J-1 program?

11. Can the American Immigration Council sponsor a J-1 trainee applicant who has recently completed F-1 practical training?

12. What are the minimum qualifications for an international trainee?


Current Trainee/Intern Participant in one of our J-1 exchange programs:

1. How and when do I apply for a Social Security number?

2. Do I need a Social Security number in order to begin my training or internship?

3. Do I need to pay taxes?

4. I lost my passport!

5. I lost my DS-2019!

6. I lost my I-94 card!

7. Can I travel outside of the United States during my training or internship?

8. My address has changed. Who should I contact?

9. Are J-2 dependents allowed to work in the US during my training or internship?

10. Can I travel outside the US during my J-1 training program or internship?

11. What is a "Travel Validation?"

12. How can I get my DS-2019 signed with a Travel Validation?

13. When should I send you the form? Or, what do I do if I have to travel urgently and plan to leave very soon?

14. Where do I send the DS-2019 Certificate(s) and the Travel Validation Request form?

15. What should I do when I get back to the United States?

16. Do I need to have my DS-2019 signed with a Travel Validation each time I leave the US?


Host Organization for a J-1 Trainee or Intern:

1. Can start-up companies host J-1 exchange visitors?

2. What are the minimum qualifications of a prospective host company?

3. Does the size of the company matter?

4. Is there a limit as to how much a J-1 trainee or intern can receive in the form of remuneration?

5. How do I put a J-1 trainee/intern on the company payroll?

6. Do exchange visitors need a Social Security number in order to begin their training or internship?

7. Can a trainee/intern receive remuneration without a Social Security number?

8. Can a training or internship be extended?

9. Can a trainee or intern return for a second training or internship program after the first has been completed?

 

Attorney representing a J-1 Applicant or Host Organization: 

1. What types of J-1 exchanges can the American Immigration Council sponsor?

2. What occupational categories can the American Immigration Council sponsor?

3. What are the minimum qualifications for program participants?

4. What are the fees for sponsorship?

5. What is the refund policy?

6. Does the International Exchange Center accept electronic signatures on application materials?

7. What is the Dun & Bradstreet DUNS number and is it an absolute requirement for potential host companies?

8. Can potential exchange visitors change status to a J-1 trainee or intern visa?


 

PROSPECTIVE APPLICANTS:[top]

1. What occupational categories can the American Immigration Council sponsor? [top]

The American Immigration Council is designated by the U.S. Department of State to sponsor J-1 intern programs in the following occupational areas:

  • Information Media and Communications;
  • Management, Business, Commerce and Finance;
  • Science, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics and Industrial Occupations;
  • Public Administration and Law;
  • Arts & Culture
  • Tourism
  • Social Sciences, Library Science, Non-clinical Counseling, Social Services

 

2. How long can the training program or internship program be? [top]

Intern programs have a maximum duration of 12 months. Trainee programs have a maximum duration of 18 months.

3. What are the fees? [top]

Total fees can vary based on the type of application service requested and the specifics of the case. An up-to-date breakdown of fees can always be found on our fees page. Fees include the following services:

• Screening & processing of J-1 training program application

• Shipping of Certificate of Eligibility (Form DS-2019) to accepted applicants

• Payment of SEVIS fee to the US Government

• Identification of Sickness & Accident Insurance meeting U.S. government requirements for J-1 visa holders

• Participant and host user handbooks

• Orientation materials

• Consulting on the J-1 visa process

• Newsletters

• Program monitoring

• On-going support to J-1 trainees and host companies

• Certificate of Completion

• Government reporting and compliance with SEVIS

4. What is the refund policy? [top]

Applicants are eligible for a partial refund of program fees in the case of host company or foreign national withdrawal prior to the issuance of form DS-2019 and/or prior to Consular processing. The International Exchange Center is unable to provide refunds due to rejection at the US Consulate. SEVIS fees are nonrefundable.

5. How fast is the processing time for an application? [top]

Applications will be reviewed on the Friday or Monday before the scheduled webcam interview is set to take place; a decision will be reached on the case within this timeframe and applicants will be contacted for an interview to be completed shortly thereafter.

6. How will webcam interviews affect processing times? [top]

The International Exchange Center at the American Immigration Council conducts a video interview with each intern applicant prior to approving internship proposals for sponsorship. It is up to individual applicants to schedule webcam interview appointments in a timely manner.

7. Can the American Immigration Council sponsor an international intern who was previously in another J-1 training program or other J-1 program? [top]

Intern applicants who meet eligibility requirements are eligible regardless of any past J-1 internships or other J-1 programs, including summer work/travel, camp counselor, visiting scholar, and others.

8. What are the minimum qualifications for an international intern? [top]

Potential J-1 interns must be able to document and/or demonstrate the following in order to meet basic eligibility requirements:

• Sufficient English language fluency (to be determined by IEC staff)

• Current enrollment in a post-secondary, degree-granting academic program outside of the United States

OR

• Graduation within the past 12 months from a post-secondary academic institution outside of the United States

9. Is there a minimum age or age limit? [top]

The International Exchange Center has a minimum age requirement of 18 years for participation in our program. There is no maximum age for program participation.

10. Can the American Immigration Council sponsor an international trainee who was previously in another J-1 training program or other J-1 program? [top]

Yes. Trainees need to reside outside the US for at least 2 years between successive J-1 training programs.

11. Can the American Immigration Council sponsor a J-1 trainee applicant who has recently completed F-1 practical training? [top]

Yes, however the applicant must still have a degree from outside of the United States and their training or internship program must be significantly different from their OPT.

12. What are the minimum qualifications for an international trainee? [top]

Potential J-1 trainees must be able to document and/or demonstrate the following in order to meet basic eligibility requirements:

 • Sufficient English language fluency (to be determined by IEC staff)

 • Post-secondary degree related to the field of the training, plus one year of related work experience, both of which were gained outside of the United States

 OR

 • Five years of related work experience outside of the United States



CURRENT TRAINEES/INTERNS:
[top]

1. How and when do I apply for a Social Security number? [top]

First things first: before you can apply for a Social Security number, you'll need to submit your follow-up information report to the International Exchange Center. This is the first step toward getting an SSN because it allows us, as your sponsor, to let the US government know that you have arrived and started your internship. You'll need to wait at least 48 hours after submitting this information. Please also note that you may not apply for the SSN until you have been in the United States for at least ten days. You will need to apply in person for the SSN at the SSA service center closest to you. Be sure to bring your original DS-2019 form, passport (with J-1 visa and I-94 card enclosed). To find the Social Security office nearest you and to download a copy of the SS-5 form, visit http://www.ssa.gov/online/ss-5.pdf.

2. Do I need a Social Security number in order to begin my training or internship? [top]

You do not need to have received your Social Security number in order to start your internship or receive payment from your host company. If there are delays in obtaining your SSN, please be aware that this does not prevent you from beginning your training and receiving remuneration. There is no law that prevents payment to an intern who does not yet have an SSN. If more than three (3) weeks have passed from the time that you applied for your SSN, and you still have received no response from the Social Security office, please contact us.

3. Do I need to pay taxes? [top]

Yes, if you receive payment from your US host company, you are subject to US local, state and federal taxes.

4. I lost my passport! [top]

If your passport has been lost or stolen, you will need to replace it immediately. First, file a police report as soon as possible by going to the closest police station and reporting your passport as lost or stolen; if possible, bring copies of the missing documents (passport, visa and I-94 card). Next contact your home country’s embassy or consulate in order to apply for a replacement passport. Report the loss of the J-1 visa in your passport to the US consular post responsible for issuing the visa.

5. I lost my DS-2019! [top]

If you've lost your DS-2019 form, let us know by email and we will issue you a replacement form. There is a $50 fee for a replacement DS-2019, so make sure that you've really lost the original, not just misplaced it.

6. I lost my I-94 card! [top]

If you have lost your I-94 card, you will need to contact the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). You will need to complete an Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document.

7. Can I travel outside of the United States during my training or internship? [top]

Yes, you are allowed to travel outside of the United States during your internship. Before you can travel outside of the country, you'll need to send your original DS-2019 form(s) to our offices in Washington for an additional signature. Please include with the DS-2019 a brief letter of acknowledgement from your training supervisor and a note from you explaining the dates that you will be outside of the US and the purpose of your trip. Send all documents to the following address:

American Immigration Council

1331 G Street NW, Suite 200

Washington, DC 20005

8. My address has changed. Who should I contact? [top]

If your address changes at any point during your internship, you are required to let us know. Please do so by sending an email with your new address. We'll be sure it is updated in our records as well as in SEVIS.

9. Are J-2 dependents allowed to work in the US during my training or internship? [top]

Yes, J-2 dependents are eligible for work authorization and should apply through a USCIS regional service center. For more information and to access appropriate forms, please visit the USCIS website: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176....

10. Can I travel outside the US during my J-1 training program or internship? [top]

This is perhaps the most common question we get from J-1 and J-2 Exchange Visitors. J-1 trainees and interns frequently email us to ask if they and their J-2 dependents are allowed to travel outside the US during their J-1 visa programs.

The answer is: of course you are! You are not a prisoner of the United States during your time as a J-1. You are our valued guest, and we want you to be able to enjoy the time here while also taking advantage of opportunities that are available to you outside US borders.

That said, there are two things you can do to make leaving and reentering the United States during your J-1 program much easier.

  1. CHECK YOUR VISA EXPIRATION DATE! (Note: the info below does not apply to Canadians, who do not obtain physical visa stamps in their passports but rather use the DS-2019 in lieu of a visa)

    You will not be allowed to enter the United States--or in many cases, even board a plane flying to the United States--with an expired visa in your passport, even if you have a valid DS-2019 that says your training program or internship has not ended.

    If your visa will expire while you are traveling outside the US, and you plan to reenter the US to continue your training program, you must apply for a new J-1 visa at a US consulate in a country where you are a resident.

    The process for applying for the J-1 or J-2 visa while you are traveling abroad is the same as when you first applied: you fill out the DS-160 form on the embassy or consulate website, pay the visa application fee, schedule an appointment and then visit the US consulate for an in-person interview.

    Important:
    Please consider that although a visa denial is unlikely if you have remained in compliance with your immigration status, it is not guaranteed that you will be issued a second J-1 or J-2 visa just because you were issued the first one before you began your training program or internship.

  2. HAVE YOUR DS-2019 TRAVEL VALIDATED. Before you leave the country the first time, make sure to contact your J-1 sponsor (that's us: the American Immigration Council) to obtain a Travel Validation authorization signature on your DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility.


11. What is a "Travel Validation?"
[top]

Good question! The United States Department of State (DOS) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) require that all J-1 Trainees/Interns and J-2 dependents have their DS-2019 forms validated for travel taking place outside the United States.

The validation on the DS-2019 form(s) will let US customs officers know that your J-1 visa sponsor (us, the American Immigration Council) is aware that you will be traveling outside the US during your J-1 program.

Obtaining the signature will help you avoid delays at the port of entry when you return from traveling abroad.

12. How can I get my DS-2019 signed with a Travel Validation?
[top]

You will need to send us your DS-2019, which we will sign in the Travel Validation signature field. The signature is valid for up to 12 months from the date the form is signed. As long as you present your DS-2019(s) to the US Customs officers when you return to the country, you can leave and reenter multiple times.

Also, when you send us your DS-2019, please include the Travel Validation Request form as a cover letter, signed by your supervisor:

http://www.internationalexchangecenter.org/sites/default/files/docs/iec/...

13. When should I send you the form? Or, what do I do if I have to travel urgently and plan to leave very soon? [top]

Please send us your DS 2019 no later than 2 weeks before your date of travel, so that we can return the form to you with plenty of time to spare.

If you will be traveling in less than 2 weeks, then you should send the DS-2019 using an overnight courier service (FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc.) and include a self-addressed and paid overnight envelope in the packet so we can return the form to you before you travel abroad.

14. Where do I send the DS-2019 Certificate(s) and the Travel Validation Request form?
[top]

You may send the form to the following address:

American Immigration Council
International Exchange Center
Suite 200
1331 G Street NW

Washington, D.C.  20005

15. What should I do when I get back to the United States? [top]

When you return from traveling abroad, make sure to send us a copy of your I-94 Admission Number Confirmation, which you can look up here: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/request.html

Also, email your visa sponsor (yes, that is still us) to let us know if you have recently returned from traveling abroad.

We ask that when you do return, you email us a copy of your I-94 Admission Number confirmation, which can be retrieved here: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/request.html

16. Do I need to have my DS-2019 signed with a Travel Validation each time I leave the US? [top]

No. Since the travel validation signature is good for 12 months from the date it is signed, you only need to have the form signed the first time you travel outside the US, or if you plan to reenter the US after 12 months from the date next to your first Travel Validation Signature.

Sound easy? It is! We understand that not all travel is planned, so try your best to let us know about your travel plans in advance so that we can coordinate signing your DS-2019 documents. If you must leave and there is absolutely no time to obtain the signature, do not panic.

As long as you have a valid DS-2019 and J-1 or J-2 visa, you will be permitted to enter the United States.

Two things might happen, though. First, you may be subject to additional verification questions from the US customs officers, which can take extra time. Or, you may be admitted conditionally on 515(a) status, which also creates additional and unnecessary work for you and for us.



HOST ORGANIZATIONS:
[top]

1. Can start-up companies host J-1 exchange visitors? [top]

We require most J-1 training companies to have been in operation for at least 2 years (24 months).

2. What are the minimum qualifications of a prospective host company? [top]

Potential host companies must be able to document and/or demonstrate the following in order to meet basic eligibility requirements:

• qualified personnel to provide the proposed training/internship;

• the appropriate facility and equipment to provide the proposed training/internship;

• fewer than 10% of total staff members, regardless of staff compensation (from stipend, grant or direct company payroll), in a J-1 exchange visitor program;

And must further guarantee that:

• the J-1 exchange visitor will not be engaged in ordinary employment and will not be used to fill a position that is, or could be, occupied by American workers;

• the proposed training/internship is in an occupational category the International Exchange Center is designated to sponsor;

• the host company has established a bona fide training program.

3. Does the size of the company matter? [top]

The International Exchange Center sponsors trainings and internships at host companies of all sizes, from boutique law firms to fortune 500 giants; however, size does matter. The Department of State requires that potential host companies with fewer than 25 full time employees or less than $3,000,000 in annual revenue be visited by a representative of the American Immigration Council before hosting an exchange visitor.  In addition, the American Immigration Council requires the site of activity where the exchange visitor will receive training have at least six full-time permanent employees.

4. Is there a limit as to how much a J-1 trainee or intern can receive in the form of remuneration? [top]

There is no minimum or limit to remuneration; however, exchange visitors need to be able to demonstrate financial support sufficient to fully meet anticipated expenses, and companies should be aware that very high remuneration may give the impression of employment rather than training.

5. How do I put a J-1 trainee/intern on the company payroll? [top]

Please refer to IRS publication 515 for instructions on filling out a w-4 form for a J-1 exchange visitor: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p515/index.html.

6. Do exchange visitors need a Social Security number in order to begin their training or internship? [top]

Trainees and interns can begin their programs prior to receipt of a Social Security number. If the SSN is significantly delayed, please visit the SSA online for help: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/employer/hiring.htm.

7. Can a trainee/intern receive remuneration without a Social Security number? [top]

Yes, exchange visitors can receive remuneration prior to receipt of Social Security numbers. There is no law preventing host companies from paying trainees or interns while they wait to receive Social Security numbers.

8. Can a training or internship be extended? [top]

Training and internship programs can be extended to the maximum program length (18 months for trainee programs; 12 months for internships). In order to request an extension, please submit the following materials to the Inernational Exchange Center (we recommend that you do so by courier):

• An evaluation of the exchange visitor’s progress in the current training plan

• A letter from the training/internship supervisor explaining why an extension is being requested

• A training/internship placement plan on form DS-7002 detailing activities to take place during the extension

• Proof of insurance coverage for the exchange visitor and any J-2 dependents during the extension period

• Payment of $300 to cover extension fees.

9. Can a trainee or intern return for a second training or internship program after the first has been completed? [top]

Yes, trainees and interns are eligible to participate in additional training and internship programs under certain conditions. Additional training and internship programs must address the development of more advanced skills. Interns may participate in additional internship programs as long as they maintain student status or begin a new internship program within 12 months of graduation. Potential trainees are eligible for additional training programs after a period of at least two years residency outside the United States following their first training or intern program. There is currently no limit to the number of J-1 training or internship programs an individual may complete.


 

ATTORNEYS:[top]

1. What types of J-1 exchanges can the American Immigration Council sponsor? [top]

The International Exchange Center of the American Immigration Council is designated by the Department of State to sponsor intern and trainee J-1 programs.

2. What occupational categories can the American Immigration Council sponsor? [top]

The American Immigration Council is designated by the U.S. Department of State to sponsor J-1 programs in the following occupational areas:

  • Arts and Culture
  • Social Sciences, Library Science, and Social Services
  • Tourism
  • Information Media and Communications
  • Management, Business, Commerce and Finance
  • Public Administration and Law
  • The Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics and Industrial Occupations

3. What are the minimum qualifications for program participants? [top]

Minimum qualifications for intern, trainee, and host company eligibility are detailed in our application instructions.

4. What are the fees for sponsorship? [top]

Total fees can vary based on the type of application service requested and the specifics of the case. An up-to-date breakdown of fees can always be found on our fees page.

5. What is the refund policy? [top]

Applicants are eligible for a partial refund of program fees in the case of host company or foreign national withdrawal prior to the issuance of form DS-2019 and/or prior to Consular processing. The International Exchange Center is unable to provide refunds due to rejection at the US Consulate. SEVIS fees are nonrefundable.

6. Does the International Exchange Center accept electronic signatures on application materials? [top]

Yes. Electronic (faxed or scanned) signatures are acceptable on all International Exchange Center application materials as well as on the DS-7002 form.

7. What is the Dun & Bradstreet DUNS number and is it an absolute requirement for potential host companies? [top]

**Effective September 2010 the DUNS number is no longer required.

Dun & Bradstreet is a provider of international and US business credit information and credit reports.

8. Can potential exchange visitors change status to a J-1 trainee or intern visa? [top]

No. The American Immigration Council requires that all potential exchange visitors consular process in their home countries (or in any country in which they hold a legal status).