woman with beeker in engineering lab Image by Tory Germann

The J-1 student intern category is designed to allow international students currently enrolled in and pursing a postsecondary academic institution outside of the US, or who have graduated from such an institution no more than 12 months prior to their planned exchange program in the US, to participate in an internship at a US College or University, or affiliated worksites.

The focus and nature of the activity should be aligned with the following:

  • The internship should be in the student's field of study. If it is not, very strong documentation will be required to prove that there will be fulfillment of the educational objectives for his or her current degree program at his or her home institution.
  • All tasks assigned must be necessary for the completion of the student internship program.
  • A student may participate in an internship with or without wages or other compensation, and full-time employment is permitted. To be employed, the student needs the approval of the exchange program's responsible officer (ISSO & HR) and the student's home institution's dean or academic advisor.
  • The internship must be for at least 32 hours per week, and tasks may consist of no more than 20 percent clerical work. It cannot be purely clerical in nature.
  • The internship must 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.
  • Internships cannot place a student intern in any position that involves the following:
    1. unskilled or casual labor
    2. child care or elder care
    3. 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.
    4. any position, occupation, or business that could bring the Exchange Visitor Program or the University into notoriety or disrepute.