When looking for a job or educational experience, most people stick to their immediate surroundings. They might search for employment opportunities in their city or maybe their region. But some people look farther away, seeking not just employment but also a life-changing adventure. In many cases, people will seek work outside of their country. In the United States, you need a J-1 visa, also known as an Exchange Visitor visa, to participate in a temporary exchange visit. Getting a J-1 visa requires you to have a J-1 visa job lined up.
Study abroad experiences, including internships and trainings, can be truly mind-blowing. They help you learn about a new culture and get you out of your comfort zone, turning a simple job into a whole new way of living.
But why should you look for a J-1 visa job? And how can you find jobs for J-1 visa holders? Let’s dive in.
Why Get a J-1 Visa Job
If you’re reading this article, you might already be interested in an exchange visit to the United States. But it’s still worth listing out just how valuable J-1 visa USA jobs can be.
Internship programs have a wide range of benefits, including:
- International internships help you grow professionally, learning new skills that will be useful in your professional career. They give you the professional, practical experience that you can’t get from a book or lecture.
- Internship programs let you engage internationally, giving you valuable and eye-opening exposure to a new country. You can build an international network of friends and mentors and become more culturally competent.
- Exchange programs teach you new life skills that you can’t gain in any other way. Especially if you are a current student or recent university graduate, internships are a fantastic way to practice living independently in an unfamiliar setting.
- Internships and trainings improve your employability, setting you on track for a successful professional future. International internships stand out on a resume or job application, proving that you are flexible, intelligent, and up for any challenge.
J-1 Visa Job Testimonials
Don’t just take it from us. Dozens of former interns and trainees say the same thing: exchange experiences are not to be missed.
Take the example of one intern who worked at a company in Berlin that was transitioning from a start-up to an established corporation. He had to remain on his toes, accepting new tasks and information “as quickly and swiftly as possible.” This intern described the experience as “thrilling” and “exhilarating,” teaching him to keep an open mind and work hard.
Or look at the story of another student who spent a summer in Spain. Apart from the value of her work experience, she made new friends, expanded her taste in food, and learned new customs. “Nothing more could have made this summer more wonderful,” she said. “The best part about traveling abroad is that even when you have a bad experience, you still get to learn from it. I can think of some things that didn’t go quite as planned, but without those moments my experience would be incomplete.”
Or listen to the experience of this intern who worked in Italy. He had the chance to visit Milan and Portofino, spending time on the beach and experiencing the Italian culture. These travels helped him become closer with his coworkers and boss. His experience abroad was not only educational but also extremely enjoyable.
Intrax Global Internship customers who traveled to the United States also had a wonderful time. As one former intern said, “This program has made my internship experience very smooth. It has allowed me to grow in terms of technical expertise and communication abilities. It has also allowed me exposure to American culture.” As another put it, “I learned even more than I expected. They helped me to learn and grow in this industry every day, not just this industry, they were making sure the program is professional and cultural for me as well. I learned a lot about American life.”
All of these interns, regardless of where they chose to travel or what industry they worked in, had a fantastic experience in a foreign country. Their stories can be yours, too: by finding J-1 visa jobs in the United States, you can have a fantastic time exploring a new country. There’s only one question left: how?
How to Find J-1 Visa Job Opportunities
Getting a J-1 visa job is the first step in planning your international exchange experience. There are many different ways to find available jobs for J-1 visa holders.
Intrax J-1 Visa Job Database
There are thousands of jobs for J-1 visa holders, so the first step is to narrow down your search by determining your exchange visitor category. The U.S. Department of State lists 14 different exchange visitor categories that are eligible for J-1 visas:
- Au pair and EduCare
- Camp counselor
- Government visitor
- International visitor selected by Department of State
- Professor and research scholar
- Short-term scholar
- Student in a college or university
- Student in secondary school
- Summer work travel
Although the process is a little different depending on what kind of exchange program you are looking for, one of the best strategies for exploring J-1 visa job offers is to use an internship database. Intrax Global Internships offers a database of J-1 visa job opportunities in the following categories:
- Arts and Culture
- Hospitality and Tourism
- Information Media
- Public Administration
Using Intrax Global Internships’ database to search internships offers a wide range of benefits that you can’t get from simply searching for J-1 visa jobs online. The database allows you to search for a J-1 visa job based on the job title, its location, or its keywords. You can look for internships based on their compensation plan (hourly or stipend, paid or unpaid) and category. The database also includes exclusive internship positions that aren’t offered anywhere else because Intrax partners with dozens of customers, including well-known brands like Lime and the University of Toronto, to help them find and recruit talented interns. The database also includes internships with year-round start dates, so you don’t have to wait to get your internship.
In addition to searching a database on your own, you’ll probably want support from experienced professionals who can help you get a J-1 visa job and assist you with the J-1 visa application process. Intrax Global Internships can help you there, too, by offering one-on-one support and assistance with work authorization. Contact your local Intrax office today to learn more.
Other Ways to Find J-1 Visa Trainee Jobs
Using an internship database isn’t the only way to find J-1 visa job opportunities. There are many other strategies you can use to find paid internships abroad. In addition to exploring standard sources of job opportunities, like online job databases and personal contacts, try using the following tips.
Look at scholarship and grant opportunities.
The U.S. Department of State maintains a list of cultural exchange scholarships and grant opportunities offered by specific countries. Some of these scholarships may be connected to specific work opportunities, and others could enable you to take an unpaid internship so you can broaden your search.
Use your school’s resources.
If you’re still a college or university student, you’re in luck. Many companies reach out to schools to find interns in a specific field. Consider visiting your school’s career center or study abroad office and see what they have to offer. You might also try networking with faculty members who know about specific programs in their field.
Explore specific organizations and locations.
Research the companies that are leaders in your field. Many large nonprofits (like the International Committee of the Red Cross) and multinational corporations host traineeships all over the world. Visit their career or job search pages to see what J-1 visa job offers are available.
Don’t limit yourself to the biggest players in an industry. Consider all the different businesses that are in your field. For example, law students should look for jobs for J-1 visa holders at regulatory agencies and international courts, not just large law firms.
Apply as much as possible.
Paid internships are often very competitive. Apply for as many opportunities as you can and explore as many resources as possible to maximize your chances of getting a J-1 visa job.
When applying for internships, keep in mind that only some companies are eligible to host J-1 visa interns. The J-1 visa requirements that employers need to host foreign interns can be lengthy, and most companies work with a third-party sponsor to help them navigate the process. Just look at all the requirements companies need to comply with:
- They have to sign and follow a Form DS-7002 (Training/Internship Placement Plan).
- They need to abide by all federal, state, and local occupational health and safety laws.
- They need to have sufficient resources, equipment, and trained personnel available.
- They need to provide continuous supervision and mentoring for interns.
At the same time, there are dozens of large companies that are eager to host foreign interns. Exchange programs are beneficial for businesses, too, because they create a hiring pipeline, build international connections, and help them understand their client base in other countries. Just look at some of the companies that hire international students for valuable internships:
- Adobe Research
- Capital One
- Cisco Systems
- IBM Corporation
- JP Morgan
As you probably noticed, that list includes companies in almost every sector and industry, from technology to finance to marketing and consulting. No matter what you’re interested in, there is an internship — in fact, dozens of internships — that is right for you.
Considerations When Looking for J-1 Visa USA Jobs
Now you have some general tips for finding a J-1 visa job that works for you. However, there are many specific considerations to keep in mind when looking for J-1 visa job opportunities.
Different exchange visitor categories have different requirements, so it’s important to keep in mind what you’re eligible for and what your exchange program can provide. The type of job you look for will vary depending on what you are eligible for, the amount of time you want to spend in the United States, and the types of tasks you want to perform.
For example, you will need to know if you are looking for a job as an intern or a trainee, depending on your age and educational experience:
- Interns must be currently enrolled in a university or college or have graduated within 12 months of the start of their program. The internship can last from three weeks to a year.
- Trainees must have a post-secondary degree/certificate and one year of work experience, or no postsecondary degree and five years of work experience. Training programs can last from three weeks to 18 months, although hospitality programs can only last for up to 12 months.
Internships and training programs are not the only sources of J-1 visa jobs. Let’s look at some of the other exchange visitor program categories and their requirements.
Professor and research scholar
Purpose of visit: Observe or consult on a research project. Teach or lecture at a university.
Requirements: Participants must have at least a bachelors’ degree. These jobs must be temporary, non-tenure-track appointments that last between three weeks and five years.
Purpose of visit: Pursue graduate medical education or training in the U.S. for up to seven years.
Requirements: Participants need to have passed a qualifying medical examination. There must be a document need in the home country for the skills they will learn in the United States.
Summer work travel
Purpose of visit: Experience United States culture while working in unskilled seasonal or temporary positions.
Requirements: J-1 visa holders need to be enrolled in a foreign university/college and can only stay in the U.S. for four months.
Purpose of visit: Serve as a counselor at a U.S. summer camp for four months.
Requirements: Participants must be “bona fide youth workers, students, teachers, or individuals with specialized skills” who are at least 18 years old.
Purpose of visit: Provide child care to host families and take courses at a U.S. academic institution for one year, with possible extensions.
Requirements: Au pairs must have graduated secondary school, be between 18 and 26 years old, and pass a background investigation in personality profile.
Purpose of visit: Teach full-time at a primary or secondary school in the U.S. for up to three years.
Requirements: Applicants must have two years of full-time teaching experience, have a B.A. or equivalent degree, and satisfy teaching eligibility standards.
Intrax can help you find J-1 visa jobs in a variety of categories, including internship, training, and summer work travel. However, if you are looking for a J-1 visa job in a different category — for example, au pair or teacher — you may want to find a different J-1 visa sponsor who can help you look for work. The BridgeUSA program maintains a database of sponsor organizations for participants in every category of exchange visits.
Another consideration when looking for a J-1 visa job is payment. J-1 visa host companies have to comply with all federal, state, and local laws, which include relevant wage and labor laws. However, internships can be paid or unpaid.
The decision to look for a paid or unpaid internship is a personal one. You may not have the financial means to take on an unpaid internship. However, paid internships are generally more competitive, so you may need to take an unpaid one. Remember that unpaid internships have lots of benefits. It’s possible to make up the lost earnings from an unpaid internship if you get a higher-paying job later because of the professional advantage the internship will give you.
Keep in mind that unpaid internships can still cover certain expenses or provide financial aid. For example, you might negotiate with your employer to cover moving expenses or provide a small stipend for food and transportation. And you can sometimes use other scholarships and grants to cover the costs of an unpaid internship. Use our tips about how to negotiate an internship offer to learn more.
Finally, it’s important to remember the external costs of getting a foreign internship. In addition to travel, insurance, housing, and living expenses, you will probably have to pay a range of application fees to the Department of State. In addition, J-1 visa sponsors often have their own pricing and eligibility requirements to find an internship and get your visa. Although it may seem odd to pay to get an internship, working with a sponsor company means you get extra support and guidance in finding the right internship, making it well worth the cost. Intrax Global Internships also provides support throughout your exchange experience.
What comes next is up to you. International exchange experiences in the United States can be extremely rewarding, whether you’re working as a summer camp counselor or a visiting professor. When you seek out a J-1 visa job, you’re taking the first step on the journey of a lifetime: the chance to work and learn in a new country.
Intrax Global Internships can help you along that journey. From our extensive internship database to our support throughout the J-1 visa application process, we want to make your J-1 training or internship as streamlined and stress-free as possible. Contact us today to learn more.