For more than 35 years we have been offering programs in various J1 visa categories. Throughout the years, we have repeatedly reached important questions which we always try to answer competently and honestly. The following overview should summarize what previous participants wanted to know and help you prepare for your stay abroad. If you still have a question that remains unanswered, we will be happy to answer it and expand our list of frequently asked questions.

FAQ

When Can I Apply for the J1 Visa for My Internship in the USA?

After Intrax has checked that you and the host company meet all J1 visa requirements and have issued the DS 2019 form.

Why Do I Have to Apply for the J1 Internship Visa Through an Exchange Organization and Not Directly at the American Consulate?

To request the J1 visa required for an exchange program, you need the DS-2019 document. This may only be issued by exchange organizations approved by the US Department of State. The organization must first check the applicants for the legal requirements and the suitability for the program. The DS-2019 proves to the US consulate that you, your American host company and your internship comply with the J1 program guidelines.

What Do I Have to Do Before Leaving for the USA?

- Make copies of all documents, including the passport.

- You should know your first address in the US as you must specify this on entry.

- Clarify in advance with your bank as the conditions for withdrawing money with the credit card are. Perhaps your bank has a partner bank in the US?

- Inform yourself about the process of your insurance in case of illness and accident.

- If you are taking regular medications, please take an English-language note from your doctor and the medication in the original packaging. Find out how you can get these drugs in the US.

- Ask if your phone / smartphone is contract-bound, whether you can extend the contract, or use a new SIM card if necessary. We will send a telecom offer for all program participants for $ 45 / month.

When Should an Intrax Internship Company Be Visited (On-Site-Visit)?

If your American host company has not yet taken part in the Intrax J1 visa Program, has fewer than 25 employees and less than $ 3 million annual turnover, an Intrax employee must personally visit the company (On-Site Visit) and check that they meet the requirements to host a J1 intern. In this case you will be charged an additional €210 /$245 . If the On-Site-Visit has taken place, these costs are not refundable after a program cancellation. No on-site visit is required for governmental institutions.

For the locations Alaska and Hawaii, we have to ask our partner in advance whether an on-site visit is possible at the desired time. There may also be additional costs for remote locations.

Please note: We would also need to do an additional site-visit during the program if the host company relocates and does not meet the host company requirements.

Who Is My Contact for Conflicts During the Internship?

Conflicts are rare because the American employers and colleagues appreciate the fact that someone is coming from so far to gain work experience in the US. For this commitment and openness you will get a lot of respect. However, you must also be committed and professional! If misunderstandings occur, you should contact your supervisor. Intrax can enter the conversation for clarification as a second step.

Please note that your stay is linked to your visa and visa to your internship site. That you can not simply cancel and remain in the US, and even if you have found another placement, this must also be checked by Intrax and your DS-2019 should then be issued for the new job. Only in very rare cases is this permitted.

What Is the J1 Program?

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State has developed the J1 Visa program as a visa category for all cultural exchange programs. This includes work & travel, au pair, study, academic stays and also for internships and trainings. An internship in the US is not a work program but one which allows interns in the USA to get to know American everyday life and culture while gaining experience in American practice and methods in their chosen field.

How Long Does It Take to Get the Visa Document DS-2019?

Before Intrax issues the DS-2019, your documents or application must be sent to the United States. From this time on it usually takes about 2 weeks.

We will forward your application to Intrax in San Francisco if

• We have received all documents from you and your internship firm completely and correctly (please remember that the trainee and the company are responsible for sending us the documents in time.)

• we have completed the final interview

• and have received your payment

The process until receipt of the J1 visa is delayed if

• your documents are incomplete

• your payment has not been received by us

• an on-site visit is required

• Intrax can not accept your application because it does not meet the J1 visa guidelines. We would then ask you to change your documents or reject your application

• Intrax can not reach your personnel responsible for a telephone call, where your internship must be confirmed under the J1 visa guidelines

• Problems with shipping

• the waiting times for an appointment at the US consulate increase

What Criteria Do I Need to Apply for the J1 Visa?

As a rough overview:

Interns must have studied at least two semesters full-time at a university outside the USA and the internship must be closely related to the course of studies. Trainees must be able to demonstrate a relevant professional experience for at least one year at the end of their studies. These 12 months can also be composed of part-time jobs and internships during their studies. The next step is to examine whether the guest company in the US also meets the requirements for the J1 visa.

When Can I Enter and When Do I Have to Leave the USA?

The program dates are stated on the DS-2019.

You can enter the USA up to 30 days before and stay up to 30 days after the internship. The expiration date on the visa indicates the latest date you are allowed to enter the US (e.g. after a trip during the program).

My American Company Is Small and Does Not Have Many Employees. Can I Apply?

Yes, however, our main office will check especially during the validation call (telephone call) or, if necessary, the On-Site-Visit, that the J1 regulations are respected:

- How constant ongoing supervision can be ensured (for example in the case of business travel or illness)

- What cultural activities are planned for you

- Why the company wants an international J1 trainee instead of U.S. Employees

What Happens If I Lose My Internship Position in the US?

Theoretically, your internship company can terminate your internship at any time. Neither we nor our American head office have any influence on this. Unfortunately, we can not provide you with a new job in case of termination. However, you may have the opportunity to look for a new internship on your own. The new internship company must first be checked and approved by our US office. If the company has fewer than 25 employees or less than $ 3 million annual turnover, it must also be inspected personally.

What Is a J1 Sponsor?

This is not sponsorship in the financial sense, but J1 sponsorship or legal sponsor represents a guarantee: The American consulates only accept the application for a J1 visa if a designated exchange organization vouches that an intern, trainee and host company in the USA have met all of the program requirements. Intrax as a sponsor is responsible for the execution of the program in accordance with US regulations. Not every exchange organization is a J1 visa sponsor. Exchange organizations must apply for this and are themselves regularly checked by the US Department of State.

What Documents Do I Need for the J1 Visa Service?

Once you've logged in to the MyIntrax Portal, you can upload your documents:

- passport

- Resume (in English)

- Proof of Student Status (only for internship applicants who are still enrolled)

- A certificate of enrollment or university letter (including an English translation if the certificate/letter isn’t already in English)

- Diploma/Certificate of Graduation (only if you have already graduated) - Please include an English translation in case your degree isn’t already in English

- Intrax contract

- Financial Statement (only if applicable)

If your program is unpaid or your host company pays less than $1500 per month, we need a financial statement. You can either ask your parents or another direct relative to fill in and sign a Letter of Guarantee or you can ask your bank to complete the Financial Statement or to provide their own bank statement in English, also listing the total amount in USD.

Previous U.S. Visas (only if applicable)

If you have previously been to the US on a visa, please upload these as well

We will write your Supervisor by e-mail (with you in cc) and send him or her the Host Company Agreement and the training plan DS-7002 to complete and return.

Do I Have to Apply in My Native Country?

No. It is possible in any US embassy or consulate which issues J1 visas. If you are currently studying in another country this is no problem. You should be able to clearly explain your plans immediately after the internship and your long term plans so that it is clear that you do not want a long-term stay in the USA.

Can I Leave the US and Enter Again During My Internship?

Generally yes. But not during the Grace Period (30 days before and after the internship) and also not if you have extended your J1 visa.

You will need to contact our US office to obtain travel validation

For travel to Mexico, Canada or the adjacent islands such as the Bahamas, no travel validation is necessary. For all travel outside the USA you have to take the passport and DS-2019.

Is There a Guarantee That I Will Receive the J1 Visa After Issuing the DS-2019?

First of all, you will not automatically receive the J1 visa after issuing the DS-2019 form, but this document will allow you to make an appointment at the US Consulate to apply for the J1 visa. If you are approved in the interview the passport with visa will be sent to you a few days after the consulate interview. There is no guarantee that you will be approved, since the decision-making power lies with the embassy or the consulate. Visa rejections are rare due to the pre-verification of compliance with the guidelines performed by sponsors like Intrax. Reasons for visa denials could be violations of visa violations in the past, or if one makes statements in the interviews, which could be interpreted as meaning that one would stay in the USA and want to work there.

Can I Change My Internship During My Internship in the USA? Can I Practice Secondary Jobs During My Internship?

A change of internship is only possible in certain rare cases and after examination and approval by our American partner. You may only hold internships, which have been mediated or approved by a sponsor. For a change to be approved, there must be extenuating circumstances as to why you cannot continue with your first internship.

Apart from volunteer activities such as with charities, no other jobs or internships are allowed while on a J1 visa. It is strictly forbidden to hold a part time job while on a J1 visa.

What Are the DS-2019 and the DS-7002?

The DS-2019 is a document for exchange programs that you require to apply for the J1 visa. The Department of State has designated responsibility to exchange offices, such as Intrax (our US headquarters), to ensure that interns meet the visa requirements. By submitting the DS-2019, Intrax provides the guarantee of the eligibility of your internship. Without this document, no J1 visa will be issued!

The DS-7002 is an internship / training plan that must be completed by host company. This section explains exactly what, when and how you learn during the internship, whether you are going through different departments and who will be your contact. The DS-7002 normally only has one phase for interns, since they do not have to have different phases / rotations (with the exception of hospitality internships) For trainees, who usually rotate in the company every three months, the DS-7002 is longer, as a new page has to be filled for each learning phase. This form is also required to apply for the visa.

How Does the Proof of Financing Work?

U.S. The authorities have stipulated that interns and trainees must demonstrate that they have more than $ 1500 per month. If your internship is remunerated at this level, we do not need any proof as the DS-7002 training plan will serve as evidence of this. If the internship is not paid at all, then we need either a guarantee (from your parents) or a financial statement from your bank for the difference or for the entire $ 1500 per month. (Please link to the docs in the download) Please inform yourself in advance if you come to a city where even the $ 1500 are not enough due to high rents.

Can I Take Part in the Program After I Graduate High School If I Have Found an Internship Place in the USA?

No, unfortunately not. The requirements regarding the J1 visa require that you are already in higher education, have a degree or 5 years relevant professional experience.

What Documents Do I Need When I Arrive?

For entry to the USA, you need your passport and the original DS-2019.

You must also know your first address and specify it on arrival. You will also receive a customs form on the aircraft. To do this, a digital photo of you is made and the fingerprints of both hands are scanned. As a rule, an official asks you about the reason for your stay. Again, it should be noted that a J1 visa is not a work visa. So you do not talk about work or job.

Is There a Guarantee That I Can Travel to the USA With the J1 Visa?

Even the U.S. Consulate-issued J1 visa does not constitute a guarantee. The last word is the Immigration Officer at the entry airport. But here, too, there are experiences. It is highly unlikely that you will be sent back at the airport, unless you are looking at statements that could be interpreted as meaning that you want to stay in the US and work there.

Do I Need a Bank Account in the US?

If the internship is not remunerated and you only go to the USA for a few months, then you do not need to open an account. But please clarify in advance how you should pay the rent. If you are paid during the internship, you usually need an American account. Enquire at your local bank if there is a cooperation with an American bank.

What Is the SEVIS-Fee?

First of all, SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System,. This is an online database of the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security. It serves the tracking & monitoring of all exchange visitors, E.g. regarding the current location and the program data. The fee for SEVIS is $ 180 per person. It is included with Intrax in the program costs. Intrax will register you in the database as soon as your DS-2019 is issued.

Can I Apply for the J1 Visa Several Times in My Life?

Yes, the J1 visa can be applied for several times. There are J1 visas for au pair programs, student exchange programs or internship programs. The receipt of another category of the J1 visa is possible without certain conditions, however, the programs should have a minimum of 90 days outside the USA between visas. This serves as a proof that the residence is still outside the USA (Home Ties).

Can I Apply for the J1 Visa Service If I Have Not Yet Studied Two Semesters?

You can apply at the earliest during the second semester and start the internship after the beginning of the lecture-free period.

How Long Does My Passport Have to Be Valid After the End of the Internship in the USA?

For members of the so-called "Six-Month-Club" (download program), such as, For example, Germany and Austria, the passport only needs to be valid until departure from the USA. Other citizens need a passport valid at least 6 months after the end of the internship in the USA.

What Do I Need to Consider During the Interview for the J1 Visa at the American Consulate?

Please take only the necessary documents (in a transparent plastic cover) with you. For safety reasons, electronic devices (including mobile phones, smart watches, etc.), backpacks, suitcases and larger bags may not be carried into the consulate. These items can not be stored in the embassy so you must make alternative storage arrangements.

Be punctual but do not show up too early.

The interview itself will probably take just a few minutes. Please remember that an internship visa is not a work visa. It is not about work and job, but about intern and learn.

Answer all of their questions honestly.

Do I Wear Certain Clothes During My Internship in the USA?

This is an important topic and you should discuss dress code and any other important rules with your supervisor in advance.

What Is the Grace Period?

After completing your internship, you have the opportunity to stay for up to 30 days in the USA. During this time you may only travel within the USA, so you should not travel to Canada or Mexico and then re-enter. You may also travel to the USA up to 30 days before the start of the program if you receive the visa on time. During Grace Period, you may not be active in your host company. You would need to contact our US office to extend your insurance to cover the grace period.

Can I Then Complete a Second Internship With the Same J1 Visa?

No, the J1 visa is only issued for a specific internship in a particular company. For a second J1 visa, you must leave the country and make a second application. There should be at least one semester between the two internships.

If your host company has several offices in the USA and from the outset it is clear that you should be used at several locations, you can apply for it. However, it will cost extra to intern at multiple sites. We then need a host company agreement and a training plan from each branch as well as the validation call and, if necessary, on-site visit.

Is Insurance Included With J1 Visa Sponsorship?

Your J1 visa sponsorship with Intrax includes travel medical insurance which meets the department of state requirements for the J1 visa program.
Insurance coverage begins on arrival and covers you until the last day of your internship.

You may also purchase additional insurance if you plan to stay in the USA for the grace period after your internship.

Please note that our insurance does not cover any Pre existing conditions. If you have such conditions then you should strongly consider taking out additional insurance for the duration of your stay in the USA.
This policy includes a co-pay of $100 for each medical occurrence. The co-pay for a visit to the Emergency Room is $250.

Do I Have to Apply ESTA for Entry Into the USA?

No. ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) applies only to travel without a visa. As an intern or trainee in the US you have a J1 visa for entry.

What Documents Are Required for the Interview?

We will send you more detailed information when your DS 2019 is issued. You need the interview at the American Consulate

- DS-2019 (2 sheets)

- Training plan DS-7002

- Confirmation of date and barcodes

- DS-160 Confirmation Page

- SEVIS Fee payment slip (paid by Intrax)

- passport

What Is a Social Security Card? Do I Need to Apply for a Social Security Card in the US?

The social security number is a very important number in the US is often abbreviated as SS # or SSN. This number serves as a universal identification of individuals – even for foreigners and for persons who do not pay in to the American Social Security system. Without SSN it is difficult to open a bank account in the US or to take out insurance. It can also cause problems with your driving license.

If you earn money in the US, you need the social security card, which you apply for personally. Employers pay the first salary only after receipt of the Social Security Card. Information about the application and forms can be obtained by logging in to your MyIntrax Portal.

What Is the TIPP, Training Internship Placement Plan, DS-7002?

These terms refer to the document that ultimately shows what you will do during the internship in the US, what is the relevance of these activities to your studies, how your learning is measured, what methods your supervisor will use, what qualifies the supervisor for the role and that during your stay you still have the opportunity to experience the USA and American life and culture. The document is important to prove that your internship or training is in the spirit of a J1 exchange program.

The DS-7002 gives the opportunity to present the internship in phases. The subdivision into phases is however only necessary for trainees and for internships in the field of ​​hospitality. No phase may take longer than four months.

The DS-7002 will ultimately be signed before you, the Supervisor and Intrax. (online, Docusign)

Can I Change My Visa Status From J1 to F1 (or Vice Versa) in the US?

Intrax does not support a change of visa type. We advise you to apply for another visa category in your home country.

Does My Company in the US Have a Workers’ Compensation Insurance That Covers Me?

As a rule, American host companies need to have a Workers' Compensation Insurance, which also covers  interns in the event of an accident during their internship, on their way to and from the internship and during business travel. If your host company does not have Workers' Compensation Insurance or does not cover interns, the company must prove that it offers an equivalent alternative or that it is exempt from the requirement.

How Do I Apply for an Internship in the USA?

Many of our program participants have received the recommendation and contact data from fellow students who were previously at the company in the USA. Often Career Services and the International Office of the University also help in finding positions in the USA. Sometimes interns have previously gained experience at partner companies or branch offices in their home country or have a personal or family connection to the firm.

Some students successfully use internet research and look for companies, especially those with business connections to their home country or with specializations which closely match the student’s studies. It is important in these applications that you can convincingly argue why the company would benefit from an international intern Especially important is that you are clear that the J1 Visa process does not cost the company any money and not much time.

If you would like to do an internship in the USA and you do not have time for the company search and application, you can use our mediation service for an internship in the USA. However, we primarily provide unpaid internships for 3 or 4 months in the field of study.

How Long Before the Start of the Internship Should I Register for the J1 Visa Service?

You can apply a maximum of 6 months before starting your internship in the USA. Otherwise you should register as soon as possible if you have received an offer for an internship. Intrax in the US will issue the DS-2019 within two weeks of receipt of all documents and the program payment, but business travel, illness, faulty and incompletely completed documents, the need for an on-site visit, etc. may delay the process.

Will I Get a Certificate for My Internship in the USA?

You will get a certificate of participation from us upon completion of the program. You should ask your supervisor to write a Letter of Recommendation a few weeks before your internship ends. We do not have any influence on this, but if your colleagues and supervisors are satisfied with you then you should receive a very positive Letter of Recommendation.

What Does the 5:1 Ratio Mean?

This ratio is relevant for US host companies who want to hire more than one J1 intern/trainee at the same time. In this case, five American full-time employees must be present in the workplace for each international J1 trainee. It does not concern companies that have only one J1 trainee. However companies with less than 5 employees may be subject to additional checks to ensure they can provide adequate supervision and training to the intern.

Can I Extend the J1 Visa?

It is possible to apply to extend your J1 visa up to the maximum duration for your program. This means Internships and Hospitality Trainee programs can be extended up to 12 months.

Other Trainee programs can be extended up to 18 months.
It is not possible to extend beyond this.

Please note that if you leave the United States after you renew your internship, you will need to apply for your visa again. Your return to the US can be denied to you, even if your placement extension has been approved by your sponsor.

Why Should I Choose Intrax as a Visa Sponsor?

Intrax is reliable :Intrax has over 25 years of experience with various J1 visa categories. We are transparent: there are no surprise costs to you and our website lists all costs and answers all of the common questions we have received about J1 visas in recent years.

Everything in one place: We have offices in Europe and the USA so we are always on hand whether you are applying or on program.

Is My Internship Going to Be Paid?

You and your supervisor decide if the internship will be paid. We as a J1 sponsor only need to make sure you have access to $ 1500 a month. Whether the money comes from an internship remuneration or whether you have worked previously to save funds or received a scholarship or support from your parents is equally acceptable to us.

If your host company pays you or provides you with a car, rent subsidy, canteen food etc. then the value must be noted in the DS-7002.

It is also important that you do not accept a secondary job during the internship in the USA.

Can I Change My Internship Dates After I Enroll for the J1 Visa?

Yes, that is possible. Please let us know as soon as possible so that we can enter the current dates in the SEVIS (Student Exchange Visitor Information System) database. This can be done in an emergency, after the DS-2019 has already been issued. If the shift is more than two weeks, we would request a new DS-2019 from our main office and bill for the Reprint and FedEx Shipment. (Please link to the optional extras)

What Does DocuSign Mean?

DocuSign is a software for electronic signature technology that enables the digital exchange of contracts and signed documents. DocuSign provides authentication services, user identity management and workflow automation.

Docusign works with any internet-enabled device and is quite simple. You will automatically get to the place where you insert your name and then click Finish.

You will receive two emails with links to DocuSign twice:

- To sign the Intrax Terms & Conditions

- To sign the training plan DS-7002.

How Long Can I Stay Before or After My Internship in the USA?

You may enter the USA up to 30 days before the start of the internship and have 30 days (Grace Period) after your internship until your departure.

How Soon Can I Get the DS-2019 and How Soon Can I Get the Visa?

If you and your American supervisor have submitted all the necessary documents to us, they are correct, require no on-site visit, you have time for a phone call with us and you pay the invoice immediately, our main office usually needs 2 weeks from the date of submission.

You can only schedule the interview at the American Consulate when the DS-2019 is issued. In the summer there are sometimes longer waiting times for an interview. After the visa interview, the consulate needs 3-5 days to send you the passport together with your visa by registered post.

Do I Have to Pay Taxes During a Paid Internship in the US?

Yes, an income tax will be deducted from your payment. However, you only have to pay the Federal Income Tax as well as the (if any) State Income Tax and City Income Tax. Social Security Tax, Medicare and Federal Employment Tax do not apply to you. In February, you will receive the W-2 form, which you need to submit the tax return, so that some of the taxes can be refunded. There are various tax companies that do this for you and withhold a percentage or a fixed sum.

When Will I Receive the J1 Visa?

The J1 visa will be sent to your address by FedEx. Usually this takes three to five days.

What Is the DS-160 Confirmation Page?

The DS-160 is an on-line questionnaire that each visa applicant must complete to book the appointment in the US. Consulate. After completing the questionnaire, you will receive a confirmation page which should be printed out. You have to take this confirmation to the embassy appointment along with the other required documentation.

Do I Need an Internship Contract or Job Offer Letter From My Host Company?

Not for us. For Intrax the contracts are in the form of the Host Company Agreement and the training plan DS-7002 which we send to the host company.

I Do Not Have an Internship Offer Yet. Can I Still Apply?

If you have not found an internship, please feel free to contact us and ask for application tips. It is only necessary to fill out our online application if you have an offer from an American company. If you simply do not have time to apply, you may also consider whether you would like to use our placement program for Internships in the USA.

Am I Entitled to Vacation During My Internship in the USA?

You do not have an automatic right to vacation but some guest companies arrange free time for holiday with the J1 interns. If you want to leave the US you may need a Travel Validation from Intrax on your DS-2019.

When Will the Program Fees for the J1 Visa Service Be Due?

The J1 visa service program fee is payable after we have received all the documentation from you and your internship company and can ensure that your application complies with all basic guidelines. As soon as the documents are complete, we will inform you and send you the invoice.

Do I Really Need a J1 Visa for My Internship in the US?

Yes. Even if it is only a four-week internship with the American friend of your parents, the J1 visa must be applied for and a J1 visa sponsor such as Intrax has to check whether the trainee and the host company in the USA meet the eligibility criteria for the J1 visa, (Please link to the prerequisites for participation)

When Is It Advisable to Book a Flight to the USA?

Even if flights booked at short notice are expensive, we can only recommend following the advice of the US Consulate: Only book the flight when you have  received the J1 visa. Sometimes there are long waiting times for the appointment, which in the worst case can lead to missing the beginning of the internship. In very rare cases, the consulate decides on "administrative processing" which means additional processing time and can also move the program start.

If you book flights before you have your visa in hand then you do so at your own risk.

How Long Can My Internship Last in the Tourism/Hospitality?

Your internship or training in a hotel may not exceed 12 months. This also applies if you want to be a Business Management Intern, Finance Intern, Marketing Intern or IT Intern in a hotel, resort or tourism related company. In the hospitality sector, the duration of a training or internship is always limited to 12 months.

Can I Travel in the USA During My Internship?

Yes, during the internship, you may travel both within the US and leave the US. Traveling across borders is only possible in consultation with the American sponsor organization and must be announced in advance. To do this, fill out a Travel Validation form and send it to our main office in San Francisco together with the DS-2019. Our American Head Office notes on your DS-2019 that Intrax is still your J1 visa sponsor and you can legally re-enter the J1 visa.

You do not need a travel permit for tourist trips under 30 days to Canada, Mexico or the adjacent islands.

After the internship, during the 30 days Grace Period, you can only travel within the USA.