Simply put, a J-1 visa sponsor helps prospective international interns obtain their J-1 visas so they can travel to the U.S. for an Exchange Visitor Program.
Exchange Visitor Programs (EVPs) were originally created to strengthen ties between the U.S. and other nations. Through the program, visitors may fill a duty from one of 15 categories (including camp counselor, intern, and au pair). You can find everything you need to know about this program here.
Because the EVP is meant for cultural exchange, rather than as a path to citizenship, participants must secure themselves a J-1 visa before visiting. Having a sponsor is a requirement of this visa. Additionally, sponsors are experts at guiding participants through the proper documentation and application procedures.
That being said, sponsors also do much more. In this article, we will cover questions including:
- What do sponsors do?
- A lot! Read on to learn more.
- Why do I need a sponsor?
- It’s a requirement of the J-1 visa.
- How can I find a sponsor?
- You can access an official list of J-1 visa sponsors like us.
- How can my company become a sponsor?
- Through an online application. We detail this later in the article.
If you are interested in completing or hosting an Exchange Visitor Program, all of this information will be extremely relevant for you. Stick around to learn more.
General Info for Visitors: What Do J-1 Visa Sponsors Do?
Sponsors for a J-1 visa in the USA are not hard to find. There is an official list of designated sponsors for J-1 visas that you can search for online. Depending on your current circumstance, you may have different concerns, like:
- What is the cheapest J-1 visa sponsor?
- What is the best J-1 visa sponsor?
- What are the differences between all these J-1 visa sponsors?
- Can my host company function as my J-1 visa sponsor?
While you are welcome to do your own research and read up on various options, in this article we will focus on answering these questions based on our program at Global Internships. By the end, you’ll understand why visitors from around the globe enjoy working with us.
Why Do I Need a J-1 Visa Sponsor?
Before we answer all your burning J-1 visa sponsorship questions, let’s make sure we cover why you need a sponsor at all.
According to the U.S. State Department, designated sponsors have many responsibilities related to the Exchange Visitor Program. These include:
- Screening participants
- Selecting participants
- Monitoring participants throughout their stay in the U.S.
- Explaining to participants how the program works
Beyond our responsibility to choose EVP participants and prepare them for their stay, we also assist in the legal process of securing proper documentation and visas.
J-1 Visa Sponsor Services at Global Internships
At Global Internships, we are committed to making the small stuff easy so you can focus on the big picture of your new program.
As your J-1 Visa sponsor, we will:
- Match You with a Host Company
We know you’re capable of finding an internship or training program abroad, but why go through the search alone when you could benefit from our years of expertise? At Global Internships, we can help you build your personal brand with a global internship. We will make sure your unique skills, cultural interests, and professional goals align with a great host company. We have connections to companies hosting interns in fields including:
- Arts and Culture
- Hospitality and Tourism
- Information Media
- Public Administration
Plus, we work with many universities and companies that could be a good fit for you. Just a few of these leading companies and universities are:
- University of Toronto
- University of Waterloo
To begin the process of finding your ideal J-1 visa internship match, check out our Available Internships board. This is a great starting point to browse positions that currently need to be filled. For a more personalized service, contact us at your local Intrax Global Internships office. Our friendly staff will give you the information you need to start getting matched with your perfect J-1 visa internship host company. We are a global team to support you.
- Issue Your DS-2019
Once you are matched with one of many J-1 visa internships, our priority as J-1 visa sponsor is to get you your visa. The DS-2019 is a document you must bring to your local consulate or embassy in order to receive this J-1 visa. It verifies that you are eligible to be an Exchange Visitor and includes:
- Information about you (the trainee/intern)
- Information about us (your J-1 visa sponsor)
- Program details (like start and end dates and program category)
- Details about the financial support you will provide
- Our contact information and officer signature
In order to receive your DS-2019, you must submit other application materials and payment to us. We will also need to verify your company placement. If you are still not totally understanding the DS-2019 and other visa documents, don’t worry. We have a detailed explanation of working with a J-1 visa internship sponsor in our Ultimate Guide To Secure A J-1 Visa For A U.S. Internship. Check it out here.
Through years of experience, we have created a J-1 visa application process that is easy to understand and will get you the documents you need to complete your program.
- Provide Pre-Departure Orientation
While our priority is helping you apply for and obtain a J-1 visa, we are also committed to helping you prepare for life in a new place.
For this reason, we have all our upcoming J-1 visa participants attend a program orientation. Not only does this orientation cover important visa regulations and laws and provide tips to confidently answer J-1 visa interview questions, but it is also designed to help you navigate a new culture.
In our orientation, we will teach you useful information about living in the U.S.A. Plus, you are welcome to ask any of our friendly staff members questions and they will happily answer.
- Supply 24-Hour Emergency Support
Once you are in the U.S. with your suitcase, visa, and new role, we’ll continue providing support. As a designated J-1 visa sponsor, we will continue to provide you with monthly check-ins and 24/7 support in case of emergencies or visa issues.
While it is not a regulatory requirement for J-1 visa sponsors to create plans in case of emergencies and disasters in the U.S., it is encouraged. We are committed to supporting you throughout any challenges you may face abroad.
For example, if you lose your passport we will direct you to report this at your local embassy and consulate, as well as provide you with a new copy of your DS-2019. At Global Internships, we’re here as your back-up at all times. Even at 3am on a Wednesday.
How to Get a J-1 Visa Sponsor
Now that you understand the basic functions of a J-1 visa sponsor, you may be wondering how you can get your own to kick-start the EVP planning process. We’re happy to help.
If you’re wondering who can sponsor J-1 visas, you’ll be happy to hear that there are many J-1 visa sponsors in the USA (including us!). Plenty of sponsors will be able to meet your needs.
J-1 Visa Sponsors California
Are you trying to go somewhere specific for your EVP? Perhaps California is calling to you. At Global Internships, we will take your destination preferences into account when matching you with a potential host company.
We work with many partner organizations, plenty of which have offices and/or J-1 internships located in California. These renowned host companies include:
- Capitol One
And there are also plenty more! Doing an internship in a new place can be an incredibly enriching experience. Take it from Karen. After meeting Americans travelling through Europe she thought to herself: “Why not do an internship and start my career in San Francisco?” So she did! In 2012, Karen flew to San Francisco from Germany to complete a J-1 internship.
Once in the U.S, friendliness, a can-do attitude, and vast natural wonders were three things that made Karen fall in love with the country. She still keeps in touch with good friends who she met on her exchange program and she plans to visit more U.S. National Parks in the future.
Before her program, Karen had many negative opinions of Americans. Her program completely changed her thinking. In fact, Karen’s J-1 internship experience was so great that she decided to pursue a career in cultural exchange.
Is the Sponsor Right for You?
Whether you're a prospective EVP participant or a host company searching for new J-1 visa sponsoring organizations, we are here to provide an insider look.
Here is a 5-point checklist to help you find and choose a sponsor.
A Handy J-1 Visa Program Sponsor Checklist
Mission and Goals
EVP programs can be up to 18 months long. This means that you will be working with your chosen sponsor for a significant chunk of time. It’s important that your goals align. At Intrax Global Internships, our mission is to connect people across cultures and provide lifelong opportunities for learning. If you are excited about cultural exchange and learning at every age, we may be the perfect sponsor for you or your program.
What do you hope to gain from running or attending an Exchange Visitor Program? It’s important that sponsors understand host companies’ programs. This way, they can accurately describe programs to participants to create mutually beneficial matches. At Global Internships we are committed to pairing you with a host company that reflects your career aspirations.
Do you understand the evaluation process that your potential J-1 visa sponsors offer? It will likely include gathering information about your educational and/or occupational background, as well as your English language proficiency. When you call our local offices to learn more about being sponsored by Global Internships, feel free to ask about this process. You can also ask questions about our comprehensive pre-departure orientation to ensure that it is right for you.
Code of Conduct
Both host companies and J-1 visa sponsors will have a code of conduct for EVP participants. In order to see an Exchange Visitor Program to completion, you will need to abide by these rules and regulations. Check in with your potential sponsors about their code of conduct. This way, you will know ahead of time if you will be able to follow the rules and successfully complete your program. At Global Internships, our code of conduct includes stipulations like:
- Being at least 18
- Demonstrating maturity
- Possessing sufficient language skills
Another critical element of any sponsor evaluation is the resources they provide. You should fully understand what you are paying for from a J-1 visa sponsor. At Global Internships, we are transparent about the services we provide and their prices. You can learn more about prices at our J-1 Visa Pricing Calculator. This custom tool generates service cost estimates. While your program fees will vary based on your country of residence and the duration of your stay, the general range is $2000-3000 USD. This money covers your application fee, travel insurance, administrative support, and more. However, it does not include airfare or living expenses. You can call your local Global Internships office for answers to specific financial questions.
While we are confident in the services we provide and our decades of experience, selecting a J-1 visa program sponsor is ultimately your decision. If you’d like to browse your options, you can find a J-1 visa sponsors list at the official USA J-1 visa website.
How to Become a J-1 Visa Sponsor: Info for Companies
It is also possible for host companies to sponsor interns themselves. If you represent a company that would like to streamline your Exchange Visitor Program, you may be wondering how to sponsor J-1 U.S. visa for foreign interns as a company. We’ll let you in on the basics.
There are a few J-1 visa employer requirements that host companies must meet in order to become a sponsor as well. So, what are the J-1 visa sponsor requirements? Qualifications include:
Qualification: Being an organization or government agency that is located in the U.S. or run by U.S. persons
Proof: Through proper documentation.
Qualification: Being able to continually meet financial and sponsorship responsibilities
Proof: Also through documentation. Specifically, providing all of the documents your company plans to give to prospective interns will help application reviewers properly evaluate if your company would be an effective J-1 visa sponsor.
Qualification: Being experienced (by at least three years) with international exchange
Proof: If this is true of your company, you should be able to prove it by providing documentation of past exchange programs.
If your company meets these eligibility requirements, then you can apply to be one of various J-1 visa sponsorship companies. We’ll walk you through the basic application process to be able to sponsor J-1 visas.
J-1 Visa Sponsor Application for Host Companies
The first step to the sponsor visa J-1 application is opening an account on SEVIS (Student Exchange Visitor Information System). Through this portal you will find the online application. There, sponsor candidates are required to fill out information about the company, program, and program officers.
In addition to information basics, there will be room to include certifications. Certifications prove that the company will comply with all legal procedures and that they are qualified to act as a sponsor. There will also be room to include attachments on the application. These attachments could be:
- Examples of program materials
- Entity incorporation documents
- Entity formation documents
- Certificates from the state
- Business licenses
- Charts demonstrating program organization
- Financial statements
Attachments like the ones listed above provide a more full picture of your company’s EVP as well as demonstrate that your company is prepared (financially and experientially) to act as an official visa J-1 sponsor.
Please note that applying to become a J-1 visa sponsor requires a fee of about $4000 USD.
Once you have filled out the application, it’s time to wait to hear back. If you are approved, you will be added to the J-1 visa sponsor list. You will be permitted to place interns in programs across the country.
If this process of sponsoring a J-1 visa sounds achievable for your company, we wish you luck! If not, do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are happy to begin new partnerships and take care of the legalities and visa details so that your company can focus on providing interns with a world-class experience.
We hope this article answered many of your questions regarding J-1 visa sponsorship companies. We covered:
- The purpose of J-1 visa USA sponsors
- The responsibilities of these sponsors
- The five things you should keep in mind when looking for a sponsor
- The way to go about becoming a sponsor as J-1 visa companies
As a J-1 visa sponsor ourselves, we are experts on this information and aim to provide you with the most enriching content.
We love educating you about Exchange Visitor Programs and visa details almost as much as we love supporting our EVP interns and connecting people with cultures across the globe. This means that we’ll continue producing informative articles for you. Find them at globalinternships.com.