J1 internship eligibility

IIUSA J1 Program is your opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience as a full-time PAID* intern or trainee placed with a company in the United States. Let’s go over the main J1 internship eligibility rules.

J1 Interns

To be eligible for the J1 internship visa, candidates must be foreign professionals

  • Who are currently enrolled in 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 J1 internship start date.

J1 Trainees

To be eligible for the J1 training visa, candidates must be foreign professionals who have

  • A degree or professional certificate from a foreign post-secondary academic institution AND at least 1 year of work experience in his/her professional field. Note that in this case both education and the experience must come from outside the United States.

If a candidate has a degree from the United States or a degree from overseas unrelated to his/her desired field of training, candidate needs to show he/she has

  • 5 years of work experience outside the United States in the field in which they are seeking training

OPT training

If you are currently on an F1 visa as a full-time international student of a college or university in the United States, you are eligible for up to 12 months of OPT training and we will be glad to help you find a company to train with. Need more information? Contact us.

Questions to answer

If you are a qualified J1 candidate, we have many openings for paid internships/trainee programs. To determine if you are ready to move forward with one of our host companies, you must be able to say yes to the following questions.

  • Can you work hard for the company that is training you?
  • Do you have the highest work and personal ethics standards?
  • Do you understand that this is not a job?
  • Do you understand that this is an internship meaning a host company is taking the time and energy to give you a valuable training program?
  • Do you realize that getting an internship in an American company is part of your plan and this will be of value to you?
  • Can you pay the J1 visa fees through our visa partners? This money goes directly to the visa sponsor when you are ready to get your DS2019.
  • Can you live in the USA for 12 to 18 months on an hourly fee or stipend or can you live in the USA for no pay if you are staying less than one year?
  • Are you hoping to do an internship in the next three to nine months?

*Please note: Paid internships will only go to those candidates who can commit to the program for 12 to 18 months but we will certainly try hard to find you a paid internship even if you can’t do an internship for 12 months or longer.

If you can say yes to all of the above questions, you can now move forward to the next steps.

We also suggest that you read our Frequently Asked Questions.