Do You Qualify to Intern in The United States?

An internship in the United States is one of the best investments you can make in yourself. It will set the stage for career advancement and enrich your life immeasurably as you experience American business practices and culture. If you’ve decided that a CIEE Internship USA program sounds like the right choice for you, the first step is to find out if you’re eligible.

Prospective interns have to meet some basic requirements set by the U.S. Department of State to qualify for a J-1 Visa.


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You must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a full-time student, or if you’ve completed university, be within one year of graduating
  • Have the English skills necessary to contribute in an American workplace
  • Train in a field related to your academic background

There may be additional eligibility criteria, depending on the specifics of your proposed internship. Please check with your CIEE international representative for comprehensive eligibility information, or contact CIEE directly.

If you have a post-secondary degree (of at least one year in duration) and at least one year of professional experience related to the proposed training, or have five years of professional experience related to the proposed training, CIEE Professional Career Training USA may be the right program for you. Learn More

A Look Inside the J-1 Visa Program

The U.S. Department of State

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  • The J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program was introduced by the U.S. Department of State more than 45 years ago to promote international exchange and cultural understanding. The U.S. Department of State:
  • Approves and issues visas through embassies in a participant’s home country. Students apply for a J-1 Visa, valid for up to 12 months. The American Embassy also issues J-2 Visas for dependents.
  • Grants a set number of eligibility certificates – called Form DS-2019 – to qualified sponsors, including CIEE. Learn more.
  • Oversees the program; sets and enforces rules to guarantee that visa holders are supported and benefit from cultural exchange
  • Requires an approved training plan – called Form DS-7002 – to ensure proper professional development. Learn more.

Host organizations

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Host organizations include American businesses, nonprofits, government offices, and educational institutions. The host organization:

  • Offers positions that promote professional development and exchange
  • Creates the DS-7002 training plan as part of the application process
  • Supervises and trains participants during the program by executing the training plan
  • Provides opportunities for cultural exchange for participants

CIEE’s Role

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CIEE is a leading J-1 Visa sponsor – in fact, one of the largest – entrusted by the U.S. government to manage the program. While every sponsor must comply with J-1 rules, CIEE goes farther by offering a higher level of service and value to participants and host organizations.