Skip to main content

J-1 Interns

All participants in the J-1 student intern category must be currently enrolled and pursuing a degree at a postsecondary academic institution outside the U.S. 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/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 opportunity must conform to the following 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 unskilled or casual labor, child care or elder care, aviation, clinical positions, patient care or contact, or 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.
  16. Not be fully remote. State Department guidelines allow a maximum of 40% remote participation (e.g.: in a 5 day, 40 hour workweek, the exchange visitor may work up to 2 days remotely).

J-1 Student Intern Process

If you are invited by a Vanderbilt department to participate in a J-1 student intern program, the department will initiate the request process with ISSS, and will ask for information and documentation from you. Once requested, you will complete the J-1 Student Intern – Student Application, provide proof of financial support (if not entirely sponsored by Vanderbilt), transcripts, a good standing letter from your University, proof of of English language proficiency, copies of your passport, along with any additional required documents. If you are eligible, ISSS will prepare a Certificate of Eligibility (DS-2019) and notify requesting department to mail the DS-2019 and DS-7002 to you, along with the additional information provided by ISSS. You will pay the SEVIS Fee, schedule a visa appointment, and follow US Consulate visa guidelines and requirements. Canadian citizens are exempt from the visa application process, but will enter the U.S. in J-1 status with the DS-2019.

All J-1 exchange visitors are required to maintain health insurance that meets the Department of State requirements. For detailed information, please visit Health Insurance for J-1 Exchange Visitors. You are required to read and complete the J-1 Health Insurance Acknowledgement, and provide this to the department when requested.