Can I repeat my J1 internship?
If you LOVED your J1 experience and one question keeps lingering in your mind: “Can I repeat my J1 internship?” Good news is that you actually can.
That’s right, it’s actually possible to repeat your J1 internship, and not just once but many times. Unlike some other J1’s, J1 internship and training visas are not once-in-a-lifetime visas. But, as in everything dealing with the Department of State rules and regulations, there are exceptions on when you can come back to the States on another J1 training and internship visa.
The general rule is that the repeat training/internship cannot duplicate training/internship you have already received.
Interns may participate in multiple J-1 internship programs as long as the additional internship program addresses the development of more advanced skills in your professional field or if your training is focused on a different field of expertise (after you get another university degree, for example).
The Intern must either
- (a) maintain student status or,
- (b) if already graduated, engage in the “new” internship program within 12 months of graduation.
There is otherwise no limit to the number of times individuals may participate in a J-1 internship program.
Individuals who do not satisfy the requirements for repeat participation as a J1 Intern might be eligible instead to visit the U.S. as a J1 Trainee, provided they have lived outside the U.S. for no less than 2 years from the end-date of their J-1 internship, as recorded on the form DS-2019 (also known as “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status”).
J1 repeat scenarios
- J-1 Intern to J-1 Intern = OK (as long as the internship plan shows that you’ll get different or higher level internship)
- J-1 Trainee to J-1 Trainee = OK (as long as the training plan shows that you’ll get different or higher level training)
- J-1 Intern to J-1 Trainee = OK ( as long as the training plan confirms different or higher level training)
- J-1 Intern to J-1 Trainee = Must wait for 2 years to repeat the same kind of training
- J-1 Trainee to J-1 Trainee = Must wait for 2 years to repeat the same kind of training
2 year rule and 2 year wait for J1 repeats – NOT the same thing
It’s important to understand that a Two-Year Home-Country Physical Presence Requirement on your J1 visa, also known as the “2 year rule” is different from the 2 year wait time required to repeat J1 internship and training. One does not cancel out the other and there is no relationship between the two. Even though in some cases you can waive the 2 year rule, you cannot waive the 2-year wait time required to repeat your J1 internship or training.
Duration of repeat J1 training and intership programs
Maximum duration of stay for repeat program participants remains the same:
- 12 months maximum for J1 interns
- 18 months maximum for J1 trainees
- 12 months maximum for J1 Hospitality and Tourism trainees
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