Who can host?

So who can host international interns. Here is what we found on the US Department of State J1 Visa website:

“Employers interested in transforming their business with international talent or training individuals to start overseas branches of your company will find a valuable solution with the J-1 Visa.”

Department of State regulations allow the following businesses to hire international interns:

  • The host company must be an established US-based business in operation for at least one year and provide IIUSA with their Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN).
  • A minimum of 5 full-time employees is required at the company and at the training site.
  • The host company must be able to prove they have a valid workers compensation insurance policy. If exempted by law from having such insurance, proof of exemption must be submitted to IIUSA.
  • All interns must be interviewed by IIUSA and by the prospective host company AS WELL AS THE VISA SPONSOR.  Host companies may also be interviewed at the discretion of the Visa Sponsor and may also be asked to provide an on site visit from the Visa Sponsor.
  • Department of State requires such interviews to be documented and performed via web camera, videoconference or in person. Since most of IIUSA applicants live overseas, we ask host companies to conduct intern interviews via Skype.
  • The host company must commit to offering a minimum of 32 hours per week to the J1 internship/training participant.
  • The host company must provide continuous on-site supervision and a valuable cultural immersion experience for all J1 interns and trainees.
  • The host company is expected to provide the participant with practical career training as stated on form DS-7002, also known as the Training/Internship Placement Plan. Any changes to participant’s nature of training and duties should be discussed with and approved by IIUSA ahead of time.
  • With the exception of some interns doing training for 6 months or less, all of our interns must get paid. Wages paid should be comparable to what you would pay an intern or trainee in a similar role who is a U.S. citizen. Salary should be determined with each participant prior to his or her arrival in the U.S.
  • The host company must abide by all federal, state, and local labor and wage laws.  This includes laws relating to withholding applicable taxes.  Please note that Department of State and IRS exempts J-1 visa trainees and interns from FICA (Social Security/Medicare) and FUTA (Unemployment) taxes and requires them to obtain a Social Security Number in order to be paid wages, also known as trainee stipend.
  • The host company must ensure that interns and trainees notify IIUSA of their arrival into the United States
  • During training, participant’s visa sponsor requires host companies to fill out and submit mid-term and final training evaluations.

What host companies cannot do with J1 interns/trainees

  • The host company must NOT use the intern/trainee program for employment or staffing purposes.
  • Training position provided by the host company must NOT displace American workers.
  • The host company must NOT intend to assist the J1 participants in remaining in the United States beyond their authorized program dates.
  • Participants should NOT be treated as independent contractors under any circumstances.