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J-1 Student Intern


A final rule effective July 21, 2008, amends the J Exchange Visitor regulations to create a new “Student Intern” subcategory under the College and University Student category.  Participation in the Student Intern subcategory will be open to foreign students currently enrolled and pursuing a degree at a postsecondary academic institution outside the United States. Student interns may participate in a student internship program for up to 12 months for each degree/major.

Participant Eligibility

To be eligible to participate as a J-1 Student Intern, a participant must meet these conditions:
  1. Be currently “enrolled in and pursuing a degree at an accredited postsecondary academic institution outside the U.S.”
  2. The U.S. internship must “fulfill the educational objectives for his/her current degree program at his/her home institution.”
  3. Have “verifiable English language skills sufficient to function on a day-to-day basis in the internship environment.”
  4. Be “primarily in the United States to engage in a student internship program rather than to engage in employment or provide services to an employer.”
  5. Be “accepted into a student internship program at the postsecondary accredited academic institution listed on his or her Form DS-2019.”
  6. Be “in good academic standing” at his or her home institution outside the United States.
  7. The student must return to his or her academic program outside the United States “and fulfill and obtain a degree from such academic institution after completion of the student internship program.”
  8. Have “sufficient finances to support himself or herself and dependents for their entire stay in the United States, including housing and living expenses.”

Internship Program Requirements

The internship activity secured for the participant must conform to these requirements and prohibitions:
  1. Be full-time; i.e., consist of a minimum of 32 hours per week.
  2. Consist of no more than 20 percent clerical work.
  3. All tasks assigned must be “necessary for the completion of the student internship program.”
  4. Verify the student’s English language ability, “through a sponsor-conducted interview, by a recognized English language test, or by signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school.”
  5. Not displace “American workers” (including full or part-time, temporary or permanent).
  6. Exist “solely to assist the student intern in achieving the objectives of his/her participation in student internship program.”
  7. Consist of “work-based learning,” rather than “ordinary employment or unskilled labor.”
  8. If in the field of agriculture, meet all requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.
  9. Expose the participant to “American techniques, methodologies, and technology,” expand upon the participant’s existing knowledge and skills, and “not duplicate the student intern’s prior experience.”
  10. Not place a student intern in any position that involves the following:
    1. Unskilled or casual labor
    2. Child care or elder care
    3. Aviation
    4. “Clinical positions or engaging in any other kind of work that involves patient care or contact, including any work that would require student interns to provide therapy, medication, or other clinical or medical care (e.g., sports or physical therapy, psychological counseling, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, social work, speech therapy, or early childhood education)”
    5. Any “position, occupation, or business that could bring the Exchange Visitor Program or the Department into notoriety or disrepute.”
  11. Not involve in any way a “staffing/employment agency.”
  12. A student may participate in an internship with or without wages. To be employed, however, the student needs the “approval of the exchange program’s responsible officer and the student’s home institution’s dean or academic advisor.”
  13. The internship does not have to be in the student’s field of study, but it does have to “fulfill the educational objectives for his or her current degree program at his or her home institution.”
  14. Student interns may participate in a student internship program for “up to 12 months for each degree/major.”
  15. Develop and conduct evaluation for each Student Intern. All programs must conduct a concluding evaluation prior to the conclusion of the internship, and both student intern and immediate supervisor must sign the evaluation forms.  Programs lasting more than six months must conduct both a midpoint and concluding evaluation. Submit a copy of all evaluations to ISSS.  ISSS must retain these evaluations for three years following completion of the student’s internship program.