J-1 Trainee/Intern Program Details

Who can apply to work in the USA?
How to apply
How much will it cost?
When to apply
Trainee wages and reimbursement
Other expenses

Arrival and orientation
Trainee/Intern Obligations and Responsibilities
Getting your Visa
Prior J-1 Visa status
Health Insurance
Tax Information
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  • Placements can only be made in the applicant's area of study or career field.
  • Applicants must apply through a program partner in the home country.
  • To see a list of program partners, click here.

Who Can Apply to Work in the USA?

Criteria to apply as a trainee
  • Minimum of 21 years of age (no upper limit)
  • A post-secondary degree or certificate in career field and 2 years work experience in career field OR Five years work experience in career field
Criteria to apply as an intern
  • Students enrolled in a degree-seeking program related to agriculture or natural resource management, or
  • Recent graduates who will begin their program within 12 months of graduation
Criteria for All Applicants
  • Conversational English
  • Self-motivated
  • No criminal record and solid references
  • Documentation of "home country ties" that show you will depart the United States and return home at the end of the program
  • Valid home country driver's license required; international license recommended

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How to Apply

  • Contact Experience International's program partner in the applicant's home country.
  • Students and recent graduates may contact the Career Services Office at their school.
  • Complete and submit an application to the program partner.
  • Interview with the program partner.
  • Verify English conversational ability if English is not the first language.
  • Program Partner will submit your materials to EI.
  • Upon confirmation of placement, pay EI program fee.
  • EI sends Certificate of Eligibility for J-1 visa and full visa application instructions.
Placement Process

Placements are made two ways:

  • Applicants that find their own placement and provide contact information to EI.
  • Applicants that are not self-placed, are placed by EI based on application materials.

Once the placement has been identified

  • EI will develop a training/internship plan which is shared and agreed to with the applicant.
  • Sign and submit Trainee/Intern Agreement.

Click here to view our current Program Partners

How Much Will it Cost?

Download the program fees sheet here.

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When to Apply

  • Applications are accepted year-round.
  • Apply at least 3 months prior to your desired start date.
  • If you have your own placement the process will only take between 3 and 4 weeks.

Agricultural placements are often dictated by season. Please observe the best start date for each type of placement before submitting an application and ask our country partner for clarification. Off-season start dates risk non-placement.

Click here to download a list of Best Starting Dates (87k PDF file)
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Trainee Wages and Reimbursement

Trainees and interns in the private sector receive compensation from their hosts. Trainees/interns with government agencies are considered volunteers and receive reimbursement for subsistence. In private and public sector placements, the combination of room, board, wages, or reimbursement cover basic living expenses once in the United States. Each placement is unique and trainees/interns must be clear that the program is for gaining quality practical experience and not to just make money. Whatever the compensation and/or reimbursement 'packet', all trainees/interns will know the exact details before making a commitment.

The minimum wage in the U.S. varies by state and ranges from $7.25/hour to $9.32/hour.

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Other Expenses

  • Program Partner Fees: Please be sure to clarify with our country partner the fees they charge for their support in applying to the program.
  • Visa Application Fee Paid to U.S. Embassy. This visa application fee is currently $180 and paid directly to the U.S. Embassy when making the visa appointment. For information on how and when to pay this fee, visit the U.S. Embassy web site in the country where you're applying for the visa.
  • SEVIS Fee Paid to Homeland Security. This fee is currently $180 and paid on-line directly to Homeland Security. The SEVIS fee can be paid anytime after the DS2019 has been issued by going to: https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/ - You will need to have your DS2019 number and a credit card to process the payment. Be sure to print the SEVIS receipt before logging off of the web site. This receipt must be presented to the Consular Officer at the time of your visa interview.
  • Arrival and Orientation: All participants arrive in Seattle and attend a 2-day orientation seminar. You will be responsible for your living expenses (room and food) from the day of arrival in Seattle through the day of departure for your host site (4 days). Living expenses during this time average $50 to $75 per day.

Arrival and Orientation

All participants must attend an orientation seminar before traveling to the placement site. Your program will begin with an orientation seminar when you arrive in Seattle, WA. An Experience International representative will meet you at the airport and accompany you to the orientation site. At the orientation, you will learn about J-1 visa regulations, EI program rules, cultural adaptation, living and working in the U.S., solving problems, social customs, medical insurance, traveling, money, safety, and general agricultural information. You will also meet the Experience International staff responsible for your program and participants from other countries.

Trainee/Intern Obligations and Responsibilities

All participants in the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program are required to follow both Federal Guidelines and Experience International Program Policies. These guidelines and policies help assure you have a safe and successful program in the United States. In accepting Experience International sponsorship as a trainee or intern, you accept the Trainee/Intern Obligations and Responsibilities.

Getting Your Visa

When your placement has been confirmed, Experience International will send you a DS2019. This is the form you need in order to apply for your J-1 visa. We will send you instructions for applying for the visa. There is a SEVIS fee and visa application fee you will need to pay in order to make your appointment with a U.S. Embassy in your country. Go to http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1267.html#5 for current information on visa application fees and processes.

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Prior J-1 Visa Status

Participants who have visited the U.S. on a J-1 visa previously may be eligible for a repeat J-1 program. Be sure to provide complete information regarding your previous J-1 visa program during the application process.

Both the intern and trainee categories allow repeat visas with the following rules:

  • Interns may participate in additional internship programs as long as they maintain student status or begin a new internship program within 12 months of graduation. Interns are limited to 12 months total duration of all programs combined. So, for example, if a student travels to the U.S. on a J-1 intern visa for 6 months in 2009 and then graduates from University in June of 2010, he/she can do another 6 month J-1 internship provided it begins prior to June 2011.
  • Trainees that come to the U.S. on a J-1 visa for any length of time must wait 2 years before eligible for another J-1 training visa. Each J-1 training program must address the development of more advanced skills than the previous training program.

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Health Insurance

Program participants are required by law to have health insurance that meets J-1 visa regulation standards. Most participants will enroll in CISI insurance through Experience International. This policy covers medical treatment of all accidents and illnesses that occur while in the U.S. It does not cover pre-existing conditions. A few of our program partners provide insurance policies that have been approved by EI. If your home country program partner provides approved insurance you may enroll in that program.

CISI insurance policy

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Tax Information

All trainees and interns are required to pay taxes from any wage or stipend earned while in the USA. There are two parts to paying income taxes in the U.S.

  1. Tax Withholding. Your employer will withhold federal and state income taxes from your paycheck. This could amount to between ten and thirty percent of your gross income.
  2. Filing a Tax Return. At the end of each year you are required to file a tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). On this form you report your gross earnings and calculate the amount of tax you owe. In many cases, the amount you owe will be less than the amount withheld and you will get money back from the federal government.

In the case of J-1 exchange visitors, the tax form you must file is the 1040-NR or 1040-NR-EZ. You can download this form and obtain full information on how to file your tax return from the IRS website: www.irs.gov. Examples of these forms are given to you in the appendices of your orientation manual.

Discussion on paying taxes is a part of the EI Orientation for newly arriving interns and trainees.

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