Professional Career Training USACIEE Logo

Up to 18 months in the USA at a US Host Company

    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 as part of 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!

    *You can apply to arrive up to 30 days before your Traineeship starts and remain in the US for up to 30 days after it ends. Please see you application form for details
    † Please note Programme sin tourism and hospitality are subject to a max 12 months - if in doubt please contact us

    Key Points

    • 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

    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

    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.
    • 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.

    Included in the Programme

    • 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

    How to Apply Please read this section carefully

    1 Secure your internship with a US Host Company (employer)
    2 Download your participant application (see below)
    3 Complete the form on this page (see below) 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 review your application and 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

    Scroll Down to get Started on your Online DS-7002

    There are TWO parts to your Application

    Please note we need both completed before we can start the process for you.
    1: Please fill out the form to start the online DS-7002 (please also take a look at the video as this shows you the process)
    2: Please download YOUR part of the application - you can work on this while the DS-7002 is being completed by your Host Company.

    Only once we have both parts (the completed online DS-7002 AND your own completed application) can we review your application and move ahead.

    Scroll Down to get Started on your Online DS-7002

    You should wait until your online DS-7002 is completed before submitting your pdf Participant Application.

    Without a completed online DS-7002 we are unable to review any part of your application - or your eligibility to undertake the traineeship!
    You must also make sure the 4 dates on the top page of your Participant Application match exactly the dates on the online DS-7002.
    Applications submitted without a completed online DS-7002 may face significant delays.


    The DS-7002 is an online document that once approved will be printed and shipped to you along with your own visa documents (the DS-2019 certificate)
    The formal training plan outlined on Form DS-7002 is required by the U.S. Department of State for all J1 Interns and Trainees and is an essential part of the J-1 Visa program. Developed by your host organisation, it helps to ensure that you will have a successful experience that includes gaining valuable, relevant professional development, along with a better understanding of American culture.

    The training plan must clearly describe what you will be doing during your time with the host organisation, what skills you will learn, how cultural exchange will be encouraged, and how your performance will be measured.

    The DS-7002 is an important document that:

    • Details information about the host organization and the nature of the position it’s offering, serving as a formal, signed agreement between participant and host organization
    • Charts the stages of professional development and sets tasks and objectives to help interns, host organizations, and CIEE fully understand what’s expected
    • Ensures that the training is relevant to the participant’s goals and background, and does not duplicate past experience
    • May be able to be extended once the initial program is complete, with approval and a supplemental plan

    My Image

    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


    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

    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"

    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
    SW9 8RR

    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.

    Fees - How much will it Cost?

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

    For example, if you are have a 18 month Traineeship, but plan to fly out the week before AND stay the max 30 days after, this will mean a 20 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"

    Change Dates once application has been approved and documents shipped: Once you have received your DS-2019, requests for new documentation as a result of new dates (or loss of documentation): £55 +cost of any additional month new dates may require
    All prices subject to change












    Fee (£)






















    Fee (£)











    *Please note the fees do NOT include the $160 dollar US Embassy interview fee - this is payable direct to the embassy at the time of booking your face to face interview.

    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 internship ends - but you must apply for these dates at the time of application - you won't be able to get them changed once you're in the USA.

    Please note all fees are in UK Pounds (GPB)

    Cancellation Charges

    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.

    Change Dates once application has been approved and documents shipped: Once you have received your DS-2019, requests for new documentation as a result of new dates (or loss of documentation): £55 +cost of any additional month new dates may require
    All prices subject to change


    Booking an Interview at the US Embasy or Consulate

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

    Extending your Professional Career Training Programme - Application Materials

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

    • Unless your programme is in Tourism and Hospitality (total time max 12 months at your Host Company)You are eligible to extend your internship to a max 18 months from the start date on your DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility
    • Any extension must show advancement and progression from your original training
    • Please email our team once you have decided to apply for an extension and we will ad an extension request to your online DS-7002. This will need to be completed in its entirety buyout Host Company supervisor (in addition to your application) in order for us to be able to move ahead

    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.

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

    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


    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.

    Stay up to date by joining our mailing list


    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

    • IST Plus
    • Shakespeare Business Centre
    • 245a Coldharbour Lane
    • London
    • SW9 8RR