Interning or training at a top U.S. company is one of the smartest career moves you can make. Not only will you gain real-world skills that will serve you throughout your career, but you will also get valuable firsthand insight into American culture and business practices. Along the way, you will share ideas with colleagues, make important new business connections, and build lifelong friendships.
If you want to go to the USA it will save you (and us) lots of time if you read as much as you can below about the J1 internship Programme before you apply, so you have an understanding of the entire process.
In order to apply for Internship USA you must meet the following criteria
While most activities are allowed under the Internship Programme, there are some that are prohibited under the program guidelines - such as coaching, care of children etc.
Even if you are planning on undertaking a short term unpaid internship experience in the USA you will need to apply for the Internship Programme. Under no circumstances are you allowed to use a Visa Waiver or tourist visa with the intention of undertaking any form of work placement - even unpaid.
If you are a full time student at university and currently attending class, you should be eligible for an internship in the USA.
*Please note the US government does not consider distance learning or online classes to be a full time course.
If you are not on a full time university course, the minimum requirement for eligibility for a J1 Intern category visa is HNC or equivalent - but only if you are already accepted and enrolled on a full time university level course to commence the following year.
The preferred minimum from the US Department of State is HND level or BTEC Professional Award Level 5.
Please note your course must be full time and your university or institution must confirm this in writing as part of the application process - see the Supporting Documents Section of this webpage
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.
Your Host Organisation (US employer) must provide structured and practical training while abiding by some key program regulations.
In order to start the process you will need to register for an online account.
Please make sure you read the instructions carefully and also download your Supporting Documents
For a list of the costs involved and how these work please see our dedicated Fees Section
Once the application is complete and approved, you will need to book a face to face interview at your local US Embassy or Consulate - see our step by step guide on this page
As well as completing the online application, you will also need to upload some supporting documents - including Proof of Univeristy Status, Passport ID page.
Those with a Download link should be downloaded from this page before you start your appication
Once you have completed these you will need to upload them to the relevant parts of your online account
*You will need to upload the Fees Disclosure to the DOCUMENTS section at the bottom of our account page
*This can be completed, signed and stamped by any member of staff at your university
You will need to upload a profile picture to the top of your online account.
This must be of yourself and not include any other people.
To do this, please click on the grey profile picture box at the top of your BEACON application - you will then be able to upload a suitable picture.
Please make sure this image is less than 1mb in size
If you are planning on undertaking an internship at more than one Host Company during your time in the US there is a slightly different process for your application.
▪ Your 1st Host Company will need to complete the online DS-7002 - you will need to invite them to do this via your online account.
▪ Your Second Host Company will need to complete and sign off on a PDF version of the DS-7002 - you can download this below
▪ Once they have completed and signed this they must send to you so you can complete all relevant sections.
▪ You must then also sign this form!
▪ You'll need to upload this to the "Documents" section of your online application
Please note: For split internships please leave the Program End date on your online Training Plan BLANK. You will need to tell us this date when you have uploaded the PDF Training Plan for your second host by emailing email@example.com
It is VITAL you email our team at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know when you have uploaded your 2nd Training Plan. Until you do we will not be able to review your application.
Once you have logged into your online account you will see a blue button marked Training Plan.
This will take you to your online training plan.
Scroll Down to the Section marked MAIN SUPERVISOR/ POC and click the blue INVITE button.
Enter your Supervisor details and hit the SEND INVITATION button
You can then return to your part of the application!
Once both the online DS-7002 AND your part of the application has been completed we will be able to start the process for you.
As part of this our colleagues in the USA will liaise with your US Host Organisation to verify the details and get legal approval.
*YOU SHOULD ALLOW AT LEAST 6 WEEKS FOR THIS PROCESS*
Once your application has been approved, your legal documents will be sent to us and we in turn will send them on to you via 1st class post.
At that point you will be able to book and attend your face to face interview at the US Embassy or consulate
*Shipment to international addresses may take longer and will be subject to additional fees. See How Much Does it Cost for information
Don't forget your Supporting Documents!
Remember - the fees cover the time you are actually IN the USA- not just the time you spend at your Internship.
You are allowed to apply to arrive in the USA up to 30 days before your official internship start date and apply to remain in the US for up to 30 days after your internship finishes but you will need to apply for this on the application and pay for the additional time in the USA
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 all programme fees are in UK Sterling (Pounds).
**Legal documents requiring Shipping outside the UK or Ireland will be charged accordingly. You will be able to choose between UK Royal Mail international Delivery (where available for your country) or UPS International Courier.
You do not automatically qualify for time in the USA before or after your training dates. You MUST apply for this time as part of your application (see Program Dates above).
Under NO circumstances will we be able to extend your program dates in the USA for the purposes of tourism and travel AFTER you have travelled to the USA so should you wish to do so please make sure you apply for this on your application before you sign your training plan
You must make sure these are entered into your online training plan before you sign! Without these dates we are unable to review or start the process for you.
Your PROGRAM END DATE MUST BE AFTER YOUR TRAINING END DATE or we will not be able to submit your application.
*It's very important you choose the total dates you want to be in the USA . Once you have been approved and legal documents printed and shipped from the US, there will be a charge of at least £50 + any additional month charge for any changes.
There is a sliding scale of non-refundable charges based on the time you cancel your programme.
Please read these carefully.
Our team are unable to assist with any issues you may have booking your interview or completing the DS160. Please refer the the Embassy FAQs or contact them directly
Once you have received all your legal documentation from us (including your DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility ) you can go ahead and book your face to face interview at the USA Embassy.
Remember - you can't book your face to face interview until you have your DS-2019# (also known as a SEVIS ID) - and you can't get this number until you have been approved by CIEE and received your documents back.
Please note the US Embassy charges $160 US for visa interviews (approx £120). This is separate to the SEVIS fees paid on your behalf
Once your application has been processed through SEVIS you will receive an email confirming this from FMJfee. This email is confirmation that CIEE have paid your SEVIS fee - but is not confirmation that your documents have yet been printed or shipped from the USA. Please wait for your legal paperwork to arrive at your address before booking your face to face interview.
You will not be able to book an interview without FIRST completing Step 1 - the DS-160. Only with your DS-160 confirmation number will you be able to create an account in the Embassy/ consulate booking system .
*In order to compete your DS-160 you will need your SEVIS ID/ DS-2019# from your online account
Go online and complete your DS-160. This can be found at https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/. Remember you are a J1 Exchange Visitor when choosing certain options! You will need to complete the DS-160 and upload a digital photograph of yourself before you can move to Step 2.
*Please note we are unable to assist with technical issues completing the DS-160. Please follow the guidance above or check the FAQ section at https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/
Please note: Only residents of the Republic of Ireland may book an interview at the Dublin Embassy.
If you are based in the UK you must apply at either London or Belfast.
If you are attending an interview in any other country please refer to your local embassy instructions for guidance on booking an interview for your J1 Visa.
After creating your account, please follow the process and guidance for each of the steps
1. Provide your DS‐160 number (see Step 1).
2. Determine your visa type (J1)
3. Select a courier return location – read the options carefully as an additional fee may be charged
4. Pay your U.S. visa fee via debit card (Visa or Mastercard) – this is $160 US Dollars and is required for anyone booking a visa interview.
5. Schedule an appointment
When attending an interview at the US Embassy, there are some important things to remember.
You should make sure you have read your DS-7002 carefully and are ready to discuss this in detail with the consular officer
You should be able to clearly explain your plans for when you return from the programme
You should be able to clearly explain the benefits of the international experience this opportunity will offer you - and why this differs from opportunities available in your Home Country
You should always be polite, professional and respectful of the US Embassy and what it represents
No. They are totally separate. Even though your SEVIS fee has been paid you still need to pay the embassy fee.
In almost every case the answer is YES. The only time you will not automatically be required to go for an interview is if you extending a current J1 visa - this is where your DS-2019/ SEVIS ID number remains the same. For all new J1 visas an interview is required.
In order to book your interview you need to complete the DS-160 and to do this you need your DS-2019 Number (also known as your SEVIS ID).
This number can only be generated once your application for the programme has been approved in the USA.
No. The wait times are published here You may get lucky and get a quicker appointment by checking in on your account daily to see if any free up.
There is also an option within the online booking system to request an expedited appointment - HOWEVER please note this is normally reserved for emergencies so do not expect to be successful in gaining an expedited appointment.
You can't speed up the processing at the embassy however - this takes 3-5 working days AFTER your interview before you will get your passport (with J1 Visa printed inside) and DS-2019 Certificate returned to you.
In some cases however your application may be put forward for more checks and administrative processing - which can take longer.
No. You can choose to have your passport sent back to one of the pick up locations around the UK - or for an additional fee you can choose to have it delivered to an address of your choosing.
These options are made clear when you book the interview using the online system.
We recommend allowing at least one week from the day of interview to allow for your passport and visa to be returned to you. In addition, if you are currently on a programme in the US the embassy recommends you be in the UK for at least 2 weeks prior to your interview. You may choose to be in the UK for less time than this but please note this is at your own risk.
If applying for an interview in the UK You will need additional documents such as an ACRO certificate and VCU1. Details can be found at https://uk.usembassy.gov/visas/ineligibilities-and-waivers-2/arrest-caution-conviction/
If you are applying for an interview in Dublin and your arrest was in Ireland please see https://ie.usembassy.gov/visas/ineligibilities-and-waivers/arrest-caution-conviction/
If you are applying for an interview in another country please check the requirements for your local embassy or consulate - you can find the links for world-wide embassies at the top of this page
Make sure you have the right paperwork before you get on the plane!
In line with US Department of State and Embassy recommendations, we advise against making any firm travel plans until you have received your passport and visa back from the Embassy or Consulate.
Neither the US Embassy/ Consulate nor IST Plus can be held responsible for any delays or costs incurred should you book flights prior to receiving your passport and visa.
Once you have received your passport and visa (this is printed inside your passport) back from the US Embassy or Consulate, please check the details carefully.
Your Visa will normally be issued with an end date that matches the end date of your actual internship or traineeship - this is NOT necessarily the date you must depart the USA.
You will be allowed to remain in the USA until the end date as listed on your Certificate of Insurance. These details are also available to view on your online account.
If there is an error in the dates on your Visa it is VITAL you contact the US embassy direct to query this. You should not travel to the US unless your visa has been issued with the correct dates.
For UK applicants you should contact the embassy using their Visa Error Contact Form at https://uk.usembassy.gov/visas/visa-errors/error-in-visa-contact-form/
Once you are in the USA, you will need to make sure you register in SEVIS. We recommend doing this on the 1st day of your internship or traineeship.
It is a legal requirement that you register in SEVIS once you are in the USA. You must do this within 20 days of your DS start date or you risk having your programme terminated.
It's easy and should take just a couple of minutes - here's how you do it:
Call CIEE on their toll free number from any US based phone (international mobiles in the US won't work for toll free numbers):
Tell them you want to register in SEVIS - they'll need the address where you're staying and your SEVIS ID.
*If at any time during your programme you change address it is VITAL you call CIEE to update your details!
Depending on how long your original programme is, you may be able to apply for an extension.
You are allowed to apply to extend your internship to a maximum 12 months total duration.
If you choose to extend you MUST apply for this at least 6 weeks in advance of the end date on your DS-2019 Certificate (this is the actual end date at your host Company- NOT the end date of your programme).
In order to extend your programme please email our team at email@example.com to request we unlock your online training plan for an extension. Your Host Company will then be able to log in and complete this.
You will also need to download your own part of the Extension application - please download this below.
**Please note: We will be unable to review your online Extension until we have received your completed PDF application. Email this to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as your online training plan has been signed by you and your host company supervisor
The fees for an extension are the same as if you were starting a new programme. For example, if you choose to extend for a further 6 months the fee for that extension will be the same as if you were applying for a 6 month programme.
▪ Your SEVIS number will remain the same as your original programme
▪ You should NOT travel outside the US without your extended DS-2019 Certificate.
▪ Your new J1 Visa should be applied for in your home country - if this is the UK you are able to apply for the Visa Re-isuuance programme/ Interview waiver programme (you will not need to attend an interview but can instead send your documents to the embassy for processing)
▪ The process will take between 4-7 days once you have submitted your documents to the embassy/ consulate - please allow enough time for this in your travel plans
*If you are applying for a new visa in the UK, you may be eligible for the Interview Waiver from the US Embassy
It's important to remember that when you extend your eligibility to remain in the USA you are not extending your original J1 Visa.
As such, should you travel outside the USA while on an extension to your programme you will need to apply for a new J1 Visa at your local home embassy in order to gain re-entry to the USA.
To do this you will need to follow the following steps:
• Complete a new DS-160 form
• Apply for a new visa using your original account at your local embassy/ consulate (this is where you booked your original interview)
• Your SEVIS ID AND Program number will remain the same as you are extending an existing and approved J1 program.
If you are based in the UK, Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland you may be eligible to apply for the interview waiver program.
*If you are eligible to apply for an interview waiver you will be notified of this when you apply for a new visa using the online booking system for wither the Uk or Republic or Ireland
This process will take approximately 1-2 weeks from the time you are able to submit your passport and new DS-2019 via the courier service. Please plan your travels accordingly!
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