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J-1 Internship programs are designed to allow foreign college and university students or exchange professor/research scholars to come to the United States to gain exposure to U.S culture and to receive hands-on experience in U.S business practices in their chosen occupational field. 


The J-1 Visa provides countless opportunities for international candidates looking to travel and gain experience in the United States. The multifaceted programs enable foreign nationals to come to the U.S. to teach, study, conduct research, demonstrate special skills or receive on the job training for periods ranging from a few weeks to several years.


Program Sponsor

Only State Department-designated sponsors (Columbia College) are authorized to issue the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status (Form DS-2019), which is the basic document to support an application for an exchange visitor visa (J-1 Visa). Sponsors screen and select prospective exchange visitors based on the criteria set forth in the governing regulations (22 CFR Part 62).

Form DS-2019

The Form DS-2019 or "Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status" is the basic document used in the administration of the exchange visitor program.

This form permits a prospective exchange visitor to seek an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in order to obtain a J visa to enter the United States.

The Form DS-2019 identifies the exchange visitor and their designated sponsor and provides a brief description of the exchange visitor’s program, including the start and end date, category of exchange, and an estimate of the cost of the exchange program. 

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How can I obtain a Form

Designated sponsors are authorized to issue this form to prospective exchange visitors they have screened and selected for participation in the exchange visitor program. The information in this form is completed by the sponsor prior to being given to the participant, who once given the DS-2019, can apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate for the J-1 visa.
Issuance of the J-1 visa, like all non-immigrant visas, is at the discretion of Consular Officers viewing visa applications at U.S. embassies and consulates. This means that even if you are accepted to an exchange visitor program and have received your DS-2019, the Consular Officers decide if you receive the J-1 visa.


  • Currently enrolled College/University Students

  • Trainees obtaining on-time-job training with firms, institutions, and agencies

  • Professors coming to teach or do research at institutions of higher learning 

  • Research Scholar

  • International visitors coming for the purpose of travel, observation, consultation, research, training, sharing, or demonstrating specialized knowledge or skills, or participating in organized people-to-people programs

Privileges of J-1

  • Enter the U.S and participate in exchange visitor program approved by the U.S Department of State

  • Travel in and out of the U.S or remain in the U.S continuously till the completion of your exchange visitor program

  • Apply for dependent visas for your spouse as well as unmarried dependent children under 21

  • Work legally in the U.S. if work is part of your approved program or if you receive permission to work from the official program sponsor

  • Apply for and receive work permits for accompanying relatives

Limitations of J-1

  • Restrict yourself to studying, working or other wise participating in the special exchange program for which your visa has been approved

  • First be accepted as a participant in the program approved by the DOS before you apply for J-1 visa

  • Return to your home country for at least two years before you are permitted to get a Green Card or change to another non-immigrant visa status. This is true if you are an exchange visitor participating in a certain type of program

How long can I stay in
the U.S on J-1 VISA?

Can I extend my stay
on J-1 VISA?

Can I change my status
while on J-1 VISA?

When you enter the U.S. on an exchange visitor visa, you will usually be admitted for the duration of your program. The final decision on how long you may stay in the U.S. is made by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Inspector at the port of entry/airport.

Yes, you may apply for J1 visa extension, which may be granted as long as it is necessary to complete the program. However, extensions for J-1 are not easy because the length of the stay is usually granted for the period considered reasonable for the type of program.

Exchange visitors participating in certain types of programs may be required to return to their home countries for at least two years before they are permitted to adjust status from J-1 visa to Green Card or apply for change of status. If not subject to the home residency requirement you may change status in the U.S.



  • This program is designed for international students who wish to enroll in American degree-granting, post-secondary accredited academic institutions, or engage in a student internship program that aligns with the educational goals of their home country's degree program. 

  • The participants in the program must be currently enrolled or have graduated from a post-secondary academic institution outside the U.S. within 12 months prior to the program start date. 

  • The internship must be full-time and consist of a minimum of 32 hours per week. 

  • The internship must consist of work-based learning, rather than unskilled or casual labor. 

  • Program Length: Maximum 12 months 

College and University Student Program

  • This program is designed for international students who wish to enroll in American degree-granting, post-secondary accredited academic institutions, or engage in a student internship program that aligns with the educational goals of their home country's degree program. 

  • The participants must pursue a full-time course of study at an academic accredited institution in the U.S. 

  • The program must include a cultural component in addition to the academic work. 

  • Students may engage in career-related training as a student intern that will also fulfill the educational objectives for the student’s degree program. 

  • Program Length: Maximum 24 months 

Research Scholar

  • This category is for foreign nationals who enter the United States for the primary purpose of conducting research, observing, or consulting in connection with research projects at research institutions, corporate research facilities, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited academic institutions, or similar types of institutions.

  • The Research Scholar's appointment to a position shall be temporary, even if the position itself is permanent

  • Incidental lectures or short-term consultations are permitted with the approval of the responsible officer so long as they are directly related to the objectives of the participant's program, and do not delay the exchange program's completion date

  • Spouse and dependents are eligible for J-2 VISA

  • Program Length: Maximum 5 years

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