Consider J-1 Interns and Trainees this Summer

Consider J-1 Interns and Trainees this Summer


Although the weather may suggest otherwise, summer will be here soon enough. If your company has plans to hire foreign student interns or post-graduate trainees to gain experience and contribute to your organization, ILG can guide you through the process of securing J-1 trainee and intern visas.  The process could take up to 4 months, so now is the time to get started.


Candidate Requirements

J-1 visas are available for trainee candidates who: (1) have a degree or professional certificate from a foreign academic institution and at least one year of prior work experience in his or her occupational field outside of the US, or (2) have five years of work experience in their field outside of the U.S.


Intern candidates qualify for J-1 visas if they are: (1) currently enrolled in a degree or certificate granting foreign academic institution, or (2) are a recent graduate, within the past 12 months, of a degree or certificate granting foreign academic institution.


Company Requirements


In order to host a trainee or intern, a company must meet certain requirements. First, it must establish its business by showing it has been in operation for at last 2 years, and that it has at least 25 employees or earns $3 million annually. Second, the company must establish that it has adequate resources to facilitate training/internship programs. Third, the company must have less than 10% of its staff in the J-1 program (including trainees, interns and permanent staff).


Additionally, companies must ensure that trainees are compensated appropriately, and that all program participants are not engaged in employment activities, or offered employment, on another type of visa.


Training programs must last no longer than 18 months, and internships no more than 12 months.


Additional Considerations


If you foresee hiring trainees or interns in another status such as H, L, K or sponsoring a Green Card in the future, be aware that changing their status may not be an easy option. Certain J-1 trainees and interns may be subject to Two Year Foreign Residency Requirements, and will be required to return to their home country for at least two years after completing the program, or obtain a waiver. The residency requirement is applicable to certain situations: (1) the training/internship was financed by the US or home country’s government, (2) the participant’s home country has been designated as having a need for the services of individuals with the participant’s knowledge or skills, and (3) the participant entered the U.S. for medical education or training.


Please contact ILG for more information.