Frequently Asked J-1 Questions

U.S. Internships

How do I find an internship in the U.S.?
As with any job search, your chances of finding your perfect internship will be greatly improved by pursuing as many different options as possible. We recommend searching online job announcements, making direct contact with companies, and networking with personal and professional contacts in the U.S. If you are looking for a full placement service, Intrax offers business and hospitality internship placements.
What is a host company?
A host company is the U.S. company or organization where you will be training and receiving supervision during your internship or training program. The host company is different from your visa sponsor.
What is the Employer Identification Number?
The host company must have an Employer Identification Number. An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, and is used to identify business entities in the USA.
What is the Workers’ Compensation Policy?
The host company must have workers compensation insurance or proof of legal exemption. Workers compensation insurance covers workers injured on the job, whether they are hurt on the workplace premises or elsewhere, or in auto accidents while on business.
I've already completed an internship/training in the U.S. Can I participate in another?
Internship: You can apply for another internship. However, your Internship Plan DS-7002 needs to prove that you are not duplicating your first internship. You need to spend one additional school term/semester or, if already graduated, a minimum of 90 days outside the U.S. in between the two internships.

Training: You can apply for another training after having completed an internship or training program. However, your Training Plan DS-7002 needs to prove that you are not duplicating your previous training. Also, you must wait two years before applying for a new training program.
Can I change my visa status in the U.S.? F-1 to J-1 and vice versa?
Intrax does not support visa status changes in the U.S. The J-1 program is a cultural exchange program and all J-1 participants are expected to return to their home country at program end and share their experiences and their newly gained skills. All applicants are expected to apply for the J-1-visa in their home country or country of residence.
Can I change the dates for my internship after I have applied for the J-1 visa service?
Yes, you can change the dates before you arrive in the U.S. but need to inform Intrax so that we can make the changes in SEVIS (Student Exchange Visitor Information System) accordingly.
Will I be paid for my internship?
As a J-1 Intern or Trainee, you are eligible to receive payment for your time on program. You would need to negotiate the amount of the compensation directly with your host company. Host companies should be aware of the Department of Labor guidelines outlined in Fact Sheet: #71: Internship Programs Under The Fair Labor Standards Act to confirm whether or not the internship position should be paid according to minimum wage guidelines. In addition, host companies and participants should consider the cost of living for the US city where the program will take place, as well as the cost of travel and basic living expenses when determining compensation for the J-1 Intern/Trainee.

Regardless of whether or not you will be receiving compensation from your host company while on program, Intrax requires all participants to have access to a minimum of $1,500 each month for the duration of their program. If a participant will be receiving less than $1,500 each month while on program, Intrax requires the participant to submit proof of financial resources or copies of bank statements confirming access to funds. Intrax will also consider funds received from home country organizations or other home country sources as proof of financial resources. Host companies may also provide non-monetary compensation in the form of housing, commuter or other benefits, but this will be considered as separate from the $1,500 monthly requirement.
Do I need to pay taxes for my paid internship?
Yes, if you are receiving a stipend for your internship, you will need to pay taxes. However, many exchange visitors are able to file tax returns at the end of their stay in order to get some money back.
How do I find housing?
Finding an affordable place to live is one of the biggest challenges. As a participant, you are required to secure safe and suitable housing before you depart for the U.S.

The host company may have some housing options to suggest, although it is not their responsibility. You may use your resources: using the Internet, asking for suggestions from your host company, and consulting maps of the area are all important steps when searching for housing. Once you have found potential housing you must consider the following questions:
  • Can I afford it?
  • Is there convenient transportation to and from my host company?
  • Is it a safe environment to live/travel in late at night?
  • Will it be convenient to get to my internship?
Remember, although it is not required that you have housing organized for your entire Internship period before you leave your home country, you are required to have at least temporary housing arranged.

Make sure that you pay all required housing deposits and complete all required forms and agreements by the specified deadlines to ensure that your housing is secured for your arrival.

Helpful Websites to consult:
How do I apply for a Social Security Number?
You can apply for a Social Security number no sooner than 2 business days after having checked in with Intrax and receiving confirmation by email. If the Social Security Administration is NOT able to verify your status and cannot accept your application, make sure that you request an official certificate/receipt or an official letter from the Social Security Administration confirming your attempt to apply for a Social Security Card. This notice will serve as proof that you attempted to apply for your Social Security card and should be shown to your host company before beginning your program.

To apply for a Social Security Card, take the following items and visit your local Social Security office:
  • Social Security Application
  • DS-2019 form
  • Passport with your J-1 Visa
  • I-94
  • A copy of your Training Plan
  • Additional identification documents if your passport is less than one year old
To find the Social Security office nearest you, visit www.ssa.gov or call 1-800-772-1213 (toll free).
If I already have a Social Security Number from a previous program can I still use that number?
Yes. If you have participated in an exchange program before, the Social Security number you were issued during that program will remain valid throughout your life. Therefore, you do not have to reapply for a new card.
Do I need to apply for a Social Security Card even if my internship is unpaid?
If you are not receiving an internship stipend, you are not required to apply for a Social Security Card. Please note, however, that a Social Security Card can be very useful even if your internship is unpaid, as the card and number functions as a means of personal identification, which might help you with opening a bank account, signing a cell phone contract, etc.


When can I book my flight?
While we realize that airfare is best when you book your flight well in advance, the U.S. embassy warns against early booking: “Notice: The Consulate General cannot be held responsible for extra costs due to changing tickets or re-booking flights if delivery is delayed." We therefore strongly urge you not to purchase tickets until you have received your visa and passport in the mail.
Do I need to register myself in ESTA before my flight?
When can I enter the U.S. and when do I need to leave the country?
Officially, you can enter the U.S. up to 30 days before your internship start date and you need to leave 30 days after completing your internship (grace period). Participants that are terminated from the program are not entitled to the grace period. Please note that your travel insurance will cover you only until the end of your internship. For the grace period after your internship has ended, you will need to purchase additional insurance coverage.
What documents do I need in order to enter the U.S.?
Upon entering the U.S. foreign visitors have their two index fingers scanned and a digital photo taken to match and authenticate their travel documents at the port of entry. When you go through U.S. Immigrations you will have to provide the Immigration Officer with your stamped DS-2019 form and Passport. Make sure that you receive all documents back before you proceed to U.S. Customs.
Am I allowed to travel outside the U.S. during my internship?
If you would like to travel outside the U.S., you need to contact Intrax. You will be asked to complete a Travel Validation Request Form and send it to our office together with your original DS-2019, so that Intrax can sign on the form that will allow you to re-enter the U.S. You do not need a Travel Validation Request for trips shorter than 30 day to Canada, Mexico or the adjacent islands when the purpose of this trip is tourism.
More questions about our J-1 visa service?
Help us add questions to the list! Please e-mail your questions to our J-1 Visa Service Team.

J-1 / J-2 Visa Service

Can I apply for a J-1 internship visa if I have not yet completed one year of university/college education?
No, unfortunately you need to wait until you have completed your first year.
How far in advance should I apply for the Intrax J-1 Visa service?
You can apply as soon as you have found a host company and as soon as you can name your supervisor - but not more than 6 months before your internship start date. Make sure you leave enough time for you and your host company to send us the complete documents. Sometimes, we need to ask host companies to re-send documents because of missing signatures, erroneous training plans, readability of documents and so forth. You should leave enough time for document revisions.
Is it true that my passport needs to be valid for six months after the end of my program in the U.S.?
Generally, passports of international applicants who wish to do a program in the U.S. need to be valid for six more months after the end of their program. However, there are quite a few exceptions to this rule, the so-called “six-month club” –- This document on the DOS website gives a good overview of the countries where passports only need to be valid for the time participants stay in the U.S. (including a possible grace period). Some of the U.S. embassy webpages also mention this topic in their FAQ section.
What is the 5:1 ratio? When does it apply?
The 5:1 ratio applies if a host company is hosting more than one intern or trainee simultaneously. In case the ratio applies, your company will need to prove they have 5 full-time employees for every intern or trainee. In order to find out whether the ratio applies, we ask host companies in our first email to inform us about the number of international interns or trainees that they are currently hosting. The 5:1 ratio is an Intrax policy designed to ensure that each participant receives sufficient guidance and supervision throughout the course of his or her program.
Why does Intrax sometimes need to conduct an on-site visit?
This is a Department of State requirement concerning host companies that do not have annual revenue of $3 million or a minimum of 25 employees. An Intrax representative needs to ensure that the smaller host company can provide resources and equipment for a true learning experience regarding American business methods.
(I am currently living in a foreign country.) Is it possible to schedule an embassy appointment outside of my home country?
Yes, it is possible to apply for the J-1 visa at an embassy outside of your home country. However, we would recommend you to contact the embassy where you would like to apply in order to find out whether you will need to submit additional documents. Still, please note that chances for a successful visa application are best in your home country.
How do I use the Travel Insurance?
If you need to see a doctor but it is not an emergency you should:
  • Call your insurance company for a recommendation of a medical facility nearest you
  • Receive treatment
  • Pay medical bill (in many cases you will have to pay the doctor first)
  • Save receipts and records
  • File a claim with your insurance company
  • Wait for the reimbursement decision
If you are going to see a doctor for a non-emergency medical problem, check your health insurance policy to make sure that type of treatment is covered. For example, most international health insurance policies limit coverage for pre-existing medical conditions and do not cover things such as general doctor visits or sexually transmitted diseases. Once accepted you can view additional insurance information under the "Resources" tab in your myIntrax account.

If you need emergency care, go immediately to the nearest emergency room or urgent care center. If you are unable to take yourself to the emergency room or urgent care center, dial 911 immediately for assistance.

Extending Travel Insurance Coverage
As a participant on the Internship Program it is your responsibility to maintain your health insurance for the duration of your stay. Many participants choose to stay an additional 30 days in the U.S. after they have finished training. For this reason an additional four weeks of medical insurance can be purchased from Intrax. This purchase can be made by calling Intrax during normal office hours and must be done before the program end date listed on your DS-2019 form.
Who can apply for J-2 Visa?
Family members of a J-1 visa holder may apply for a J-2 visa. The spouse and unmarried children (under the age of 21) may accompany the J-1 visa holder to the United States. J-2 visa holders can stay in the U.S. as long as the J-1 visa holder remains in official valid status.
What are the required J-2 Visa documents?
The following are required documents for a J-2 Visa:
  • A completed J-2 application form
  • A copy of your valid passport
  • A clear copy of a marriage certificate OR, if a dependent is a child, a copy of a birth certificate
  • If the marriage or birth certificate is not in English, an official English translation of the certificate
  • Intrax needs a letter from the J-1 Visa holder or his immediate family stating that the family possesses adequate financial resources to support themselves while on program
  • Three J-1 pay stubs from the preceding months if J-1 is already on program
  • Bank statements or financial proof from J-1, J-2, or their immediate family
  • A non-PO Box address where FedEx can deliver the DS-2019 form and a local phone number

Start building your personal brand with an internship.

Partnering with employers, attorneys, and universities to build a professional and diverse program for top talent.
Personal Brand