At first glance, a paid internship or training in the United States can seem like the ideal opportunity: you get to learn new skills, experience a new culture, and get paid while you’re at it. What could be better? We agree that U.S. internships and trainings through the J-1 visa can be fantastic, life-changing experiences. However, you should be aware of the total J-1 visa cost for any internship or training before you sign up for it.

In fact, you need to know the costs of a J-1 visa before you can obtain one, because many of the questions in the J-1 visa interview are meant to determine whether you can afford the total J-1 visa price. Beyond the costs of traveling to the United States, there are various J-1 visa fees and J-1 visa sponsorship costs that you will need to pay throughout the J-1 visa application process. 

There is no one answer to the question, “How much does a J-1 visa cost?” J-1 visa fees in India are different from J-1 visa costs in the U.K. But this article can help you think through the expected cost of a J-1 visa to travel to the United State. 

J-1 Visa Fees

Although many of the costs of a J-1 visa vary depending on the length of your visit and your country of origin, there are some costs that everyone who applies for a J-1 visa will have to pay as part of the J-1 visa application process.
Specifically, there are two main J-1 visa fees:

  1. $160 visa application processing fee
  2. $220 I-901 SEVIS fee

If you apply for a J-1 visa through Intrax Global Internships, you will have to pay the $160 J-1 visa application fee separately — Intrax includes the I-901 SEVIS fee as part of our J-1 visa sponsor services. 

J-1 Visa Application Fee

The $160 visa application processing fee is not unique to the J-1 or J-2 visa. Almost everyone who applies for a non-petition-based nonimmigrant visa has to pay this fee. That includes:

  • Applicants for the B visa (business, tourism, and medical treatment)
  • Applicants for the D visa (airline and ship crewmembers)
  • Applicants for the F visa (academic students) and M visa (vocational students)
  • Applicants for the I visa (media and journalists)

The purpose of this fee is to cover the costs of administering and processing the visa application. That’s why applicants in petition-based visa categories, like R visas (for religious workers) and H visas (for temporary workers) have to pay more: their fee is $190. 

The only J visa applicants who do not have to pay this $160 J-1 visa fee are applicants participating in “official U.S. government-sponsored educational and cultural exchanges” and their dependent children/spouses. If your exchange program meets any of the following requirements, you are exempt from this fee:

  • Sponsored by a Department of State
  • Sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • Part of a federally-funded exchange program with a program serial number, as listed on your Form DS-2019, that starts with G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-7

You will pay this $160 J-1 visa fee as one of the last J-1 visa application requirements. Before you pay the fee, you will need to:

  1. Complete an online DS-2019 application
  2. Submit the required J-1 visa documents
  3. Pay any program fees (more on that later)
  4. Attend a pre-departure orientation
  5. Receive your Form DS-2019 from Intrax Global Internships

Once you’ve done all that, you can fill out the online DS-160 application form and pay your $160 application fee. Information about where to pay the fee should be available on your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate’s website, which you can find here

If you cannot figure out where you should pay the J-1 visa processing fee, contact the embassy by phone or email. You must pay this fee before scheduling your J-1 visa interview because you will need to bring your application fee receipt to the interview. 

J-1 Visa Issuance Fees

Depending on your country, you may have to pay a visa issuance fee in addition to your visa application processing fee. You should only have to pay this fee if your country is subject to reciprocity requirements: if your government has imposed certain visa issuance fees on U.S. citizens, then the United States will charge a “reciprocal fee” for visa applicants from your country. 

To determine whether you will have to pay a reciprocity fee, go to the U.S. Visa Reciprocity website. From there, select the table for your country and click “J” to see if there is an issuance fee for J-1 and J-2 visa applicants. 

Although citizens of many countries do not have to pay a reciprocity fee to the United States, some still do. The size of the J-1 Visa Issuance fee varies by country. For example:

Australia: $105 (USD)

United Arab Emirates: $52 (USD)

Angola: $10 (USD)

Unlike the $160 J-1 visa application fee, which you will have to pay before the interview, you will only have to pay the reciprocity fee after the interview and if your visa application is approved. Like the application fee, you also do not have to pay the reciprocity fee if your exchange program is officially sponsored by the United States government. 

I-901 SEVIS Fee

The only other fee that is part of the official J-1 visa procedure is the I-901 SEVIS Fee. This fee covers the costs of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), an online database that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and designated sponsor organizations use to keep track of temporary visitors to the United States. 

Although some J visa applicants will need to pay this $220 fee directly, you will not need to pay this fee if you work with Intrax Global Internships. We will pay this fee on your behalf (it is included as part of the fees that we charge you) in addition to putting your information in the SEVIS database. 

You will need to print a copy of the fee payment confirmation online and bring it with you to your visa appointment at the Embassy (as Intrax paid the fee, the receipt will indicate Intrax’s office address). You can find additional answers to any questions about this U.S. J-1 visa fee here.

Program Fees

In addition to the J-1 visa fees that the U.S. government requires, the vast majority of J-1 visa sponsor organizations like Intrax Global Internships charge program fees. These fees help cover the total J-1 visa cost, including the following:

  • $300 application fee
  • $220 I-901 SEVIS fee
  • Administrative costs for issuing the Form DS-2019
  • Cost of shipping the Form DS-2019
  • Cost of travel health insurance, which all J-1 and J-2 visa holders must have
  • Pre-departure advising and orientation services
  • Emergency support, monthly check-ins, and other support costs

You can use Intrax’s J-1 Visa Pricing Calculator to identify the estimated cost of your J-1 visa application. This cost will vary depending on your country of residence and the length of your stay. Take a look at how the expected J-1 visa price can change based on these variables:

Country | Duration of Visit | Starting Price

Brazil | 1 month | $1245

Brazil | 6 months | $1675

Brazil | 12 months | $2275

India | 1 month | $1600

India | 6 months | $2600

India | 12 months | $3800

United Kingdom | 1 month | $1060

United Kingdom | 6 months | $1510

United Kingdom | 12 months | $2050

As you can see, applying for a J-1 visa from the U.K. generally costs less than J-1 visa fees in India. Your ultimate J-1 visa cost will depend on your situation and location.

You should also remember that there are additional costs not included in the Intrax pricing calculator, such as:

  1. Expedited application processing fees, if requested
  2. DS-2019 reprint fees, if needed
  3. Airfare
  4. Housing
  5. Personal expenses

There may also be fees associated with finding an internship or training program. Intrax Global Internships offers internship placement and application services with on-program support. Although it may seem strange to pay a company to help you find an exchange program, our services can make it easier to find a high-quality, reputable internship with a well-regarded company. We work with thousands of well-known businesses, like Lime and memSQL, and can help you find the J-1 visa job that’s right for you. These services do have an additional cost, which you can explore using the Internship Pricing Calculator.

You may not have to pay all of these costs yourself — for example, your host company might pay for your housing, and you may not need to expedite your visa fees. However, outside of special circumstances, your final J-1 visa cost will probably be at least a few thousand dollars, once you include the application processing fees, program placement fees, and additional external costs. 

Affording the J-1 Visa Cost

If the prospect of paying thousands of dollars for your exchange visit makes you nervous, you’re not alone. However, there are many strategies you can use to cover your J-1 visa cost, making the experience affordable and enjoyable. 

Paid and Unpaid Internships

One of the most obvious ways to reduce the total cost of a J-1 visa is to find a paid internship. With a paid internship, you can make enough to cover any J-1 visa fees and even put some additional money in the bank. 

Finding a paid internship can be tricky, especially because paid internships are often more competitive than unpaid ones. Using an internship database to search for paid internships can make the process much easier. Intrax’s database of available internships allows you to sort opportunities by location, category, and compensation, so you can find a program that works for you.  

In addition, you can use a few easy tips to find paid internships abroad. For example:

  • Be open to different options: Although it’s important to know what you want out of an internship abroad, you should also keep your options open. Maybe an internship isn’t in the exact location you wanted, but it is relevant to your field of study. Maybe a training would cover concepts you’re unfamiliar with, but it could still teach you new skills and boost your resume. Know your priorities and understand what you’re willing to compromise on so you can have a wide range of suitable options.
  • Use your school’s resources: If you’re still attending college or university, your school’s career center can be a fantastic resource. Many companies will reach out directly to postsecondary institutions when they’re looking for interns, so your school might know about opportunities that aren’t available anywhere else. See if you have a job placement center or career counselor who can help you explore the possibilities. If you don’t, try talking to professors who specialize in your area of interest. They might know about the best internships in your field or have connections in other countries. 
  • Target specific organizations: Many large companies, especially multinational ones, have job opportunities and internships all over the world. Try researching the most well-known companies in your industry to see if they offer positions to international students. If you’re not sure where to start, just look at this list of 10 companies that hire international students for valuable internships — you might be surprised to see big names like Capital One and Google on the list.

Sometimes, though, you can’t find a paid internship in the field you want. If you need to take an unpaid internship, there are still many options for you to consider.

For example, you can often ask your employer to cover some expenses in an unpaid program. Although they might not provide a generous stipend like a paid internship could, they may provide for your housing, moving and travel expenses, or other daily needs. 

You can also explore external funding options for your internship or exchange program. Many countries, nonprofits, and other organizations offer financial support to study abroad applicants. Some of these scholarships and grants are available on the U.S. State Department’s USA Study Abroad website. If your employer is unwilling to pay you for your internship, try applying for other sources of funding that could help cover the J-1 visa costs.

Finally, you can always consider a virtual internship or training program. Although remote work is not the same as an in-person cultural exchange, there are countless benefits to remote internships.

  1. The cost is much lower: Since you don’t have to apply for a J-1 visa or pay for travel and housing, remote internships generally cost little to no money — many of them even pay their interns. 
  2. There are fewer restrictions: You need to meet all sorts of requirements related to your age, education, and language abilities to even apply for a J-1 visa in the United States. By contrast, virtual internships are generally less restrictive and accept a wider range of applicants. 
  3. You can apply easily: Intrax’s virtual internship program makes it easy to find and apply for paid virtual internships, especially in the tech industry. These internships have year-round start dates, and without the need to apply for a visa, the time between applying for an internship and starting the job is much shorter. 
  4. They provide a great learning experience: You’ll be surprised by how much you can learn from remote work. Virtual internships are increasingly prestigious and look good on a resume, teaching you concrete and practical skills that you can use for the rest of your career, especially if you know how to make the most of a remote internship.  

Ultimately, the best strategy is to apply to as many internships and scholarships as possible. The more options you have, the better your chances are that you’ll find a J-1 visa job that works. 

The Importance of Affordability

While there are many different things to consider while looking for an internship — the location, the focus area, the duration — cost should always be one of your primary concerns.

This may seem obvious: clearly, you don’t want to go into extreme debt over an internship. However, there’s another reason why you should consider the J-1 visa cost from the beginning of the J-1 visa application process. The J-1 visa application requirements are meant to ensure that you can only get a J-1 visa if you can afford it. The U.S. government asks about your financial means at multiple points throughout the J-1 visa procedure, including:

  • Section 5 of the DS-2019, which discusses the financial support you will receive throughout your exchange visit
  • During the J-1 visa interview, where your interviewer may ask about your family’s financial status and your compensation for the exchange program

Although internships in the United States are fantastic, they should also be affordable. You must figure out the estimated J-1 visa price you’ll need to pay before you get too far into the application process. That means you should explore paid internships and scholarships early on in the J-1 visa procedure, check out the J-1 visa sponsorship cost pricing calculator, and consider your ability to cover all of the costs of a J-1 visa, including placement fees, travel expenses, and J-1 visa application fees.
If you need help navigating any of these J-1 visa costs, our staff is here to help. Explore our Frequently Asked Questions page or contact us today!

Aug 11, 2021

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