J-1 Visa FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Exchange Visitor Program?

The Exchange Visitor Program promotes mutual understanding between the people of the United States (U.S.) and the people of other countries by educational and cultural exchanges, under the provisions of U.S. law. Exchange Programs provide an extremely valuable opportunity to experience the U.S. and our way of life, thereby developing lasting and meaningful relationships.

What is a visa J-1?

The exchange visitor (J) non-immigrant visa category is provided for persons who are approved to participate in exchange visitor programs in the U.S., under provisions of U.S. immigration law.

What is the difference between an Intern and a Trainee?

An intern is currently pursuing studies at a foreign degree or certificate-granting post-secondary academic institution outside the United States or has graduated from such an institution no more than 12 months prior to their exchange visitor program start date.

A trainee / VIE is a foreign national who has a degree or professional certificate from a foreign post-secondary academic institution and at least one year of prior related work experience in his or her occupational field outside the United States.

What is the VIE program?

The VIE (Volontariat International en Entreprise) is a program created and established by the French government which allows young French or European people (from 18 to 28 years) to participate in an assignment in a company abroad for a given length of time.

This program is handled by the Agence française pour le développement international des entreprises (UBIFRANCE) at an administrative and legal level.

The VIE program falls within the scope of the Exchange Visitor Program and the VIE candidate holds a J-1 Visa. According to his profile, the candidate has either an intern or a trainee status.

For more information on VIE program please visit: http://export.businessfrance.fr/formule-vie/vie-en-bref.html and https://www.civiweb.com/FR/index.aspx.

What is a sponsor?

A sponsor is an official organization designated by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State authorized to deliver the Certificate of Eligibility (DS-2019 form) which allows the foreign candidate to apply for a J-1 visa at the American Embassy.

Sponsors are responsible for screening and selecting eligible foreign nationals for participation in their designated exchange visitor program, as well as supporting and monitoring them during their stay in the United States.

How long does the entire process take?

Once FACC New-York receives the complete application (i.e all documents filled properly) it takes between 2 and 3 weeks to issue the DS-2019 form.

After having the appointment at the Embassy, the candidate should be able to get his visa in 3 or 4 days. The waiting time to schedule the appointment may vary depending on the time of the year.

What is DS2019 form?

The DS-2019 is the certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitors. It is provided by the program sponsor, after the sponsor enters information in the SEVIS system. All exchange visitors, including their spouses and dependents must be registered in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

What is DS-7002 form?

The DS-7002 is the training / internship placement plan. This is a detailed description of the internship / training program. The employer should fill out this form and submit it to the sponsor.

Should I pay my Intern/Trainee?

The host company must provide the Exchange Visitor with an allowance or stipend to cover living expenses. The amount paid to the participant should be comparable to the amount paid to other individuals having similar education and experience. In all cases, the company must pay at least the minimum wage of the state where the program takes place. Additional benefits such as housing, meals, etc. may be used to supplement said stipend, but may not be used in lieu of payment of the stipend. All VIE program participants will automatically receive a qualifying stipend from the French parent company, in Euros, each month.

How long can I host my Intern / Trainee?

The J-1 visa allows participants in our program to come to the United States for up to 12 months as Interns or for up to 18 months as Trainees.

All host companies must agree not to hire the participant at any point during or immediately following the J-1 visa program for a period of at least one year. As long as a candidate maintains active student status outside the United States, he may be eligible for repeat intern visas with a minimum of 90 days between internships and at least completed one semester outside the United States. U.S. federal regulations call for a minimum 2 year-interval between an intern and trainee visa, or between two trainee visas.

When can my intern/trainee start?

Interns and trainees may start training on any day of the year. The FACC uses a rolling application policy.

Please visit the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services website at http://www.uscis.gov/

The information on this site is not intended to constitute legal advice or to substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney licensed in your state.This web site is not intended to be advertising under applicable laws and ethical rules. These materials have been prepared by the French American Chamber of Commerce with the expertise of our staff and members for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Anyone viewing the information should not act upon it without seeking professional counsel.The information contained in this website is provided only as general information which may or may not reflect the most current legal developments.

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