J-1 Visa Trainee Programs are designed to allow foreign professionals to the U.S. to gain exposure to U.S. culture and to receive training in U.S. business practices in their chose occupational field. Upon completion of their training, participants are expected to return to their home countries to utilize their newly learned skills and knowledge to advance their careers and share their experiences with their communities.
- A trainee must be a foreign national who has:
- A degree or professional certificate from a foreign post-secondary academic institution and at least one year of prior related work experience in his or her occupational field outside the U.S.; or
- Five years of work experience outside the U.S. in the occupational field in which they are seeking training.
- Participants must have their English language proficiency evaluated or verified either by a recognized English language test (such as TOEFL, Cambridge, etc.), by signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school, or through an interview conducted by the sponsor in-person, by video conference, or by webcam.
- Participants must be at least 20 years of age.
- If you have already done a training previously on J-1 visa, you will have to first complete two years of residency outside the U.S. before the program, and your Training Plan Form DS-7002 will need to prove that you are not duplicating your previous training.
- The trainee can not work in the following work environments:
- Unskilled or casual labor positions.
- Positions that require or involve childcare or elder care.
- Any kind of position that involves medical patient care or contact.
- Positions that require more than 20 percent clerical or office support work.
- Use of the Exchange Visitor Program for ordinary employment or work purposes is strictly prohibited.
- Sponsors may not place trainee participants in positions which are filled or would be filled by full-time or part-time employees.
- The training cannot duplicate a trained participant’s prior work experience or training.
Internships are offered in the following occupational categories:
- Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
- Arts and Culture
- Construction and Building Trades
- Education, Social Sciences, Library Science, Counseling, and Social Services
- Health Related Occupations
- Hospitality and Tourism
- Information Media and Communications
- Management, Business, Commerce, and Finance
- Public Administration and Law
- The Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics, and Industrial Occupations
The maximum duration for the trainee program is 18 months, except for the following restrictions:
- Agriculture Programs: maximum 12 months.
- Hospitality Programs: maximum 12 months. Any program longer than six months must have at least three departmental rotations.
J-1 trainee sponsors must:
- Conduct site visits of host organizations that:
- Have not previously participated successfully in the sponsor’s program
- Have fewer than 25 employees;
- Have less than $3 million in annual revenue.
- Collect the following information from all host organizations:
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Verification of telephone number, address, brochures, website, etc.
- Proof of worker’s compensation insurance policy or equivalent.
- Ensure the following for participants:
- Ensure that trainees are appropriately selected, oriented, supervised, and evaluated
- Ensure that the training program is full time, that is, at least 32 hours a week
- Be available to trainees to assist as facilitators and information resources.
- Have a written agreement in place with any third-party involved in a training program. The written agreement must outline the responsibilities on all matters involving the administration of the exchange visitor program.
Program Evaluation Requirements
Midterm and Final Evaluations are required for internship programs that exceed six months. For programs with a duration of less than six months, an evaluation is required at the conclusion of the program.
All evaluations must be received by the designated sponsoring organization before the end of the participant’s exchange program and must be signed by both the participant and their immediate supervisor.
The host company is the company who will host the participant for the training program and will be the employer.
Hosts are required to:
- Sign a complete Form DS-7002 – Training/Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP) to verify that all placements are appropriate and consistent with the objectives of the interns as outlined in their program applications and as set forth in their T/IPPs.
The T/IPP identifies the skills or experience the intern will learn and must be signed by the trainee, host organization, or supervisor, and sponsor organization representative (RO/ARO) – before a sponsor may issue Form DS-2019.
Faxed and digital signature signatures on the Form DS-7002 will accepted; however, all three signatures must appear on the final form.
- Notify sponsors promptly of any concerns about changes in or deviations from T/IPPs during training and internship programs and contact sponsors immediately in the event of any emergency involving trainees or interns
- Abide by all federal, state, and local occupational health and safety laws
- Abide by all program rules and regulations set forth by the sponsors, including the completion of all mandatory program evaluations
- Have sufficient resources, plants, equipment, and trained personnel available
- Provide continuous on-site supervision and mentoring by experienced and knowledgeable staff
- Ensure that interns obtain skills, knowledge, and competencies through structured and guided activities, such as classroom training, seminars, rotation through several departments, on-the-job training, attendance at conferences, and similar learning activities, as appropriate in specific circumstances.
- Maintain 5 full time employees per 1 trainee ratio if hosting more than one trainee.
Many companies provide their trainees with a monthly stipend.
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