We’re thrilled that you are interested in hosting an international intern or trainee at your organization! The resources below will help to guide you through the program.
Applying for J-1 Visa Sponsorship
Watch the Host Employer Orientation:
- Watch the Host Employer Orientation.
- Ensure your company meets all of the Host Employer Requirements.
Create Your InterExchange Account:
- Sign up here.
- If you already have an account, log in here.
Complete Your Application and Create Your Participant’s DS-7002 Training Plan:
- Check out our guide on How to Create a Successful Training Program.
- View examples of acceptable Worker’s Compensation documents.
- Review the Department of Labor’s criteria for unpaid internships.
Before Participant Arrival
Read the Host Employer Handbook:
- Familiarize yourself with program requirements and tips for a successful program.
Help the Participant Prepare for their Program:
- We encourage you to provide guidance to the participant on housing and transportation, as well as cultural resources in your local area.
Monitor the Participant’s U.S. Arrival:
- Participants are permitted to arrive up to 30 days before their program start date (but they may not begin training until the start date).
Remind the Participant of SEVIS Registration:
- Once the participant arrives, they must contact InterExchange within 10 days to register in SEVIS.
- Participants can let us know they’ve arrived by submitting this Arrival Form.
Understand the Social Security Number Application Process:
- At least 5 days after their SEVIS record is activated, participants may apply for their Social Security Number.
- The wait time to receive a card could be 4-6 weeks, but participants may begin to intern/train and be paid before they have been issued a number, provided they provide you with the application receipt.
- Check out the following information from the Social Security Administration:
Complete Tax Forms and Understand Withholding Requirements:
- If you are offering a salary/stipend, have the participant complete W-4 and I-9 forms. Follow the special instructions for J-1 exchange visitors.
- J-1 interns/trainees are nonresident aliens for tax purposes and are therefore exempt from paying certain taxes like FICA and FUTA. Make sure you withhold the appropriate taxes.
Provide a Workplace Orientation:
- Orient the participant to your office and company culture upon arrival. Explain company policies like sick days or paid time off and provide a company handbook.
- Be patient with the participant as they acclimate to their new environment. Take the time to answer their questions and give them an introduction to the local area.
- Check out our other tips for a successful program.
During the Program
Stay in touch with InterExchange:
- Contact InterExchange if there are any changes to program details or if you or the participant have any issues or concerns.
Offer Cultural Exchange Opportunities:
- Offer opportunities for the participant to experience U.S. culture and to share their own culture with their coworkers.
- Check out our suggestions for cultural activities, including company activities and traditions, sporting events, happy hours, and holiday parties.
Follow the Training Plan:
- Follow the Training Plan, provide challenging, professional-level tasks and responsibilities, and fully support your participant as they learn and ask questions.
- Remember that the participant is here for cultural exchange and is not meant to be viewed as a normal employee. Misuse of the program is considered visa fraud.
Provide the Promised Compensation:
- Compensate the participant per the terms outlined in their DS-7002 Training Plan.
- All trainees, as well as interns on programs longer than 6 months, receive at least the local minimum wage. If minimum wages rise during the program, you must provide at least the new minimum wage once the law goes into effect.
Be Prepared to Handle Culture Shock and Language Barriers:
- Be on the lookout for signs of culture shock or difficulties adjusting to living and training in the U.S., and be patient with the participant if English is not their native language.
Complete Program Evaluations:
- InterExchange will email you links to State-Department-required program evaluations to complete at the end, and sometimes the middle, of the program.
Consider an Extension:
- If the participant has not met the maximum length of their internship or trainee program, an extension may be possible. Contact InterExchange for more details.
After the Program
Understand the Grace Period:
- Participants can remain in the U.S. up to 30 days after the program end date as listed on their DS-2019.
- They may not intern or train during this time, but they are welcome to travel the country and get their affairs in order before they depart.
Send the Participant’s W-2 and Provide Guidance on U.S. Taxes:
- Send the participant their W-2 form when it is time to file a tax return.
- Participants who are paid must file a U.S. tax return for the calendar year during which they trained with your company, even if they are no longer in the U.S.
Invite Future Participants:
- Host another intern/trainee through InterExchange! Once you have a new candidate, log in to your InterExchange account to invite them to the application.
- If your new candidate will be completing a similar program as a prior participant, you can even copy the previous training plan and edit it as necessary.