Professional Career Training USA

Up to 18 months in the USA on a J1 Trainee Visa Programme

Boost your CV and get real international experience

J1 Trainee Visa Programme

The Professional Career Training USA Programme (PCT USA) allows you to spend up to 18 months* at a US Host Company aspartof the J1 Trainee Visa Programme.

It offers an invaluable opportunity to widen your horizons, gain vital international experience and give your CV a real boost!

*Programmes in tourism, hospitality or agriculture are normally subject to a maximum 12 months duration - please contact us for details if this applies to you.

Recent Graduate?

As long as you start your programme in the USA within 12 months of finishing full time study you may be eligible for Graduate Internship USA

Still in unversity level study/ full time education?

You may be eligible for Internship USA

The Programme

  • The Professional Career Training USA Programme (PCT USA) allows you to go to the USA for up to 18 months* at a US Host Company
    The position must be in a field directly related to your experience
    *Positions in tourism, hospitality or agriculture are normally restricted to 12 months - please contact us for details if this applies to you.
  • You can take either paid OR unpaid positions
    If you are going on an unpaid placement you will need to provide proof of access to at least $1000/ month for the duration of your time in the USA - full information can be found on the application form
  • You must secure a placement before applying for the programme - we are not allowed to process applications that do not have the DS-7002 Training Plan from your Host Company in the USA.
    Full information on the DS-7002 training Plan and your own application please see "How to Apply" below
  • You can arrive up to 30 days BEFORE the traineeship starts and stay up to 30 days AFTER it ends
    You must apply for these dates at the time of application (on the top page) - the dates you give us are the dates you will legally be allowed to be in the US

To qualify for Professional Career Training USA:

  • You must be over 18 years old
  • You must have a degree and at least one years' full time experience in your field outside the USA.
    If you do not have a degree in this field you should be able to show at least 5 years full time experience in order to qualify for the programme.
    If you are not sure whether you are eligible for this programme or have any questions please contact us
  • You must either be a UK national OR a foreign national presently living in the UK (UK nationals living abroad are also welcome to apply).
    **If you do not meet either of the above criteria please contact us via email (details at the bottom of this page) and we will guide you to the appropriate contact.

What's Included?

  • Legal Sponsorship
    The Legal Sponsorship and documentation required to apply for the J1 visa (this is known as the DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility)
  • Insurance
    Comprehensive medical and liability insurance* for the duration of your time in the USA - for full details on this please see
    *Dental cover limited - please check your policy for details
  • 24/7 emergency support
    Our teams are available for you 24 hours a day if you have an emergency. You can call them toll free from any phone in the USA
  • Participant information and Extras
    Every participant gets a comprehensive handbook - as well as access to discounts and extras.
  • Online Orientation
    Every participant must complete an online orientation prior to their departure for the USA - this is full of useful an important information about the J1 programme, living in the USA and staying safe.
  • SEVIS Fees
    SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. It's included in your fees!
    Once your application has been approved, we send you a SEVIS receipt along with your other documentation - you then take this to the embassy interview with you!
  • FREE International Sim card for all participants (worth up to $30).
    Easy access to discounted calls and cheap data bundles

Common Questions

  • How long does the process take?

    We recommend allowing at least 6 weeks for your application to be processed - including the time it takes to get a face to face interview at the embassy (and to get your passport and visa returned to you!).
    These times vary though - in the busy months approaching summer the embassy can get extremely busy so wait times get much longer!
    bear this in mind when submitting an application..
    There is an expedited option for speedy processing in the USA - please contact us for details on this.

  • I don't have a DS-7002 - can I apply without it?

    In order for us to start the process for you we need both parts of your application completed. You can get started on the DS-7002 on this page.
    See below

  • My Passport will expre soon - can I still apply?

    Your passport needs to be valid for at least 6 months AFTER the date you plan on returning from the USA.
    You can start the process with your current passport but we won't be able to approve the application or issue you with your legal documentation until we have received a copy of your new one.

  • What if my position is UNPAID?

    You still need to apply for the J1 Visa. You'll also need to show proof of access to funds of at least $1000/month for the duration of your time in the USA.
    This can be either a bank statement OR a letter from a parent or guardian.
    There's instructions on this on the application.

How to Apply

  1. Secure your position with a US Host Company (employer)
  2. Download your participant application (see below)
  3. Complete the form on this page to start the DS-7002 Training Plan (you can do this at the same time as completing your own part of the application)
  4. Once we have a completed online DS-7002 AND your completed Participant Application (including all payment) we will be able to start the process for you (see Sending your Application to Us)
  5. Once your application is approved and you have received your legal documentation you will then be able to book and attend your face to face interview at the US Embassy for your J1 Visa


The US Department of State now requires all DS-7002 Training Plans to be completed online.
This replaces the PDF version previously accepted.

Please complete the form on this page (or we will do this for you when you submit your part of the application).
Once this has been done and checked by our team, an automated email will be sent to you with a link you can send to your US supervisor to complete the DS-7002.

Please make sure you check your emails regularly as once this has been completed by your supervisor you will be asked to "review and sign off" on the form online.
ONLY once this stage has been completed will we be able to start the process for you.

YOUR part of the Application

  • Complete this application
  • Remember to include a copy of your Passport ID page - and either a copy of your Graduation Certificate - or a letter from your university on headed paper confirming your award.
  • If you do not have a degree you will need to show at least 5 years full time work experience in your field to qualify for this visa
  • Include 2 reference letters from previous employers
  • Send to IST Plus using one of the methods below

This will open a new page in your Browser - you can save the pdf from there. Alternatively you can (on a PC) right click and "Save Target As", or (on a Mac) ctrl+click "Save Link As"


In order to enter the USA on a J1 Visa Programme you must have a passport that is valid for AT LEAST 6 months AFTER the end date of your internship or traineeship.
Please make sure your passport meets these requirements. If not your application will be subject to delays as your legal paperwork (the DS-2019) can NOT be issued without a passport that meets these criteria

DS-7002 Training Plan

Fill out my online form.

If you have a criminal record or previous arrest/ conviction you will need to provide information relating to this in addition to your application.
Please note that we will not accept any application from you if your previous conviction relates to class A drugs, Sexual offences or crimes relating to children.
If your application is approved by us you will still need to declare any previous convictions when booking your interview at the US Embassy.
This may result in a special interview process for you and may cause delays in your visa process.


Sending Your Application to Us

Via Post

You can send your application via post to:
IST Plus

Via Email

You can email your completed application to
Please make sure it is a singe PDF file no larger than 5mb or it may be rejected

Upload via our website

You can also upload your Participant application direct to our team using the Upload function on this page (remember we still need the completed online DS-7002 to move ahead!)

Fill out my online form.

Putting your application together as a SINGLE PDF

This can be confusing if you don't have expensive software - but there's a great FREE service we use called SMALLPDF.
It allows you to change jpegs into pdf and also to put together multiple PDFs into one single file!
It ALSO lets you make the file size smaller if it's too large!
We recommend using this if you're having problems!


Remember - the fees cover the time you are actually IN the USA- not just the time you spend at your J1 Traineeship.

For example, if you are have a 12 month internship, but plan to fly out the week before AND stay the max 30 days after, this will mean a 14 month programme.

Please note fees include all sponsorship, legal documentation, 24/7 support in the US, medical and liability insurance for the duration of your time in the USA - as well as the US Government SEVIS fee. The fees do not include the visa interview fee (payable direct to the embassy when you book your face to face interview (currently $160 US dollars - see US Embassy Interviews).
***Should your US Host Company require a site visit there will be an additional charge of £200 for this - see "Host Company Site Visits"












Fee (£)






















Fee (£)











Use our Fees calculator
Remember to choose Professional Career Training USA from the Programme dropdown menu and to put the dates you plan on leaving for the USA and coming home - not the dates you plan to be at the internship.

  • You're allowed to stay in the USA 30 days after your Traineeship ends - but you must apply for these dates at the time of application - you won't be able to get them changed once your int the USA.

Please note all fees are in UK Pounds (GPB)

Cancellation Charges

Please note: We are only able to process an application once full fees have been paid.

In case of cancellation your fees will be refunded MINUS the amounts shown below:

After application received: £200
After application received and DS-2019 printed: £385
Please note there will be no refunds if you cancel AFTER the LISTED DATE of DEPARTURE on your application or you have travelled to the USA - if you are unable to travel to the USA you MUST inform us prior to your programme start date/ listed date of departure.
In case of visa refusal at embassy participants will be refunded programme fees minus £250 (this includes the non refundable SEVIS fee).
On the rare occasion that an application is refused sponsorship there will be a non refundable application fee of £200.
If legal sponsorship is refused AFTER a Site Visit has taken place in the USA the non refundable fees will be £350.
Once you have received your DS-2019, requests for new documentation as a result of new dates (or loss of documentation): £55
All prices subject to change

US Embassy Interviews

Once you have your legal paperwork back from us you'll need to go ahead and book your face to face visa interview.

We have a dedicated page for all Embassy Interview Information.

Extending your J1 Trainee Programme - Application Materials

If you are considering an extension to your programme please read the following:

  • You are eligible to extend your internship to a max 18 months* from the start date on your DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility *12 months for tourism and hospitality trainees
  • Any extension must show advancement and progression from your original training
How much does an extension cost?
The fees for an extension are the same as if you were starting a new programme - and are based on the amount of extra time you plan to be in the USA (not just the time you plan to remain at your Internship).
Please use the "Fees" section of this page to work out the cost - an extension will start the day after the end date on your DS-2019 form and finish on the day you plan to return from the USA.

You can download your Application materials here - once you and your Host Company have completed them you can scan and email them to us or upload to our system - see above for info on this.

Remember to apply for any extension AT LEAST 6 weeks before the end date as listed on your DS-2019 Certificate - NOT your J1 Visa

• You will need to complete the Application for Programme Extension
• Your Host Company will need to complete the DS-7002 for Extensions

  • How much does it Cost to Extend

    The cost of an extension is the same as for a new programme. Please see Fees above for information on this.

  • Can I extend past 18 months

    Sorry no. The maximum time the US government allows you to be at your Host Company is 18 months. You can't extend past this date for any reason. Please note for tourism and hospitality traineeships the maximum is almost always 12 months.

Once you have completed this please scan all relevant documents and email to


An extension can only be granted in order to continue your training at your present Host Company in the USA. We are not authorised to approve an extension request in order to change Host Companies - sorry.

When you apply to extend your programme you are extending your eligibility to remain in the USA. If during your extension period you leave the USA you will need to apply at your local US Embassy for a new J1 Visa before you can re-enter the US.

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IST Plus was formed in 2003. Since then we have worked with thousands of students and young people from all over the world to help and guide them on their international journeys.
We work with partners across the globe to provide the best service possible.


In the UK: 0207 788 7877
International: +44 (20) 7788 7877

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