J-1 Student Intern Application

J-1 Student Intern Program


On July 21, 2008, a new federal rule amended the J Exchange Visitor regulations to create a new "Student Intern" subcategory under the College and University Student category. This category allows international students currently enrolled and pursuing a degree at a postsecondary academic institution outside the United States to participate in student internship programs for up to 12 months (limited to just 12 months of internship per degree level). As of February 20, 2009, universities and schools designated by the State Department as J-1 sponsors, including Syracuse University, can issue the necessary documents for student interns to come to the U.S. to participate in academic internships. Until now, such students either had to enroll as non-matriculated students or receive visiting scholar appointments through departments, neither of which was fully appropriate to the nature of their programs.

Program Administration

Departments planning to host J-1 Interns are responsible for developing the internship plan, evaluating intern participation, and supporting the intern through faculty mentorship and other assistance, such as locating suitable accommodations. The Slutzker Center, designated by the University and the U.S. Department of State as administrators of the University’s J-1 program, will assist departments and interns in producing the immigration paperwork (form DS-2019) required for the intern’s visa, admittance to the U.S., and maintenance of valid immigration status.

Program Requirements and Prohibitions

The Department of State has established the following requirements and prohibitions for participation in the J-1 Intern program:

  • The internship must consist of a minimum of 32 hours per week of internship activity, no more than 20 percent of which consists of clerical work.
  • The internship must fulfill the educational objectives for the intern’s current degree program at his/her home institution. It must expose the participant to U.S. techniques, methodologies, and technology; and it must expand up on the intern’s existing knowledge and skills and not duplicate the student intern’s prior experience.
  • A student intern may be paid or unpaid. To be employed, however, the student intern must receive approval from his/her home institution’s dean or academic advisor.
  • The internship must not place the intern in any position that involves any of the following: unskilled or casual labor; child care or elder care; aviation; clinical positions or any other kind of work involving patient care or contact, including therapy, medication, or other clinical or medical care (e.g., sports or physical therapy, psychological counseling, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, social work, speech therapy, or early childhood education); or any “position, occupation, or business that could bring the Exchange Visitor Program or the Department [of State] into notoriety or disrepute.” [22 CFR § 62.23(i)(7)(iii)]
  • The internship cannot serve to fill a labor need. It must exist solely to assist the student intern in achieving the objectives of his or her participation in a student internship program. The internship must consist of work-based learning, rather than ordinary employment or unskilled labor.
  • The internship cannot displace American workers, whether full- or part-time, temporary or permanent.
  • If in the field of agriculture, the internship must meet all requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.

Financial Support Required

Host departments must verify that the student intern and any accompanying dependents will have sufficient funding for the entire length of stay. The minimum amount of financial support for an intern is $1200 per month, plus $500 per month for each accompanying J-2 dependent spouse or child. The internship may be paid or unpaid. If the department will pay the intern a salary or stipend, then the amount of financial support should be noted in the letter of invitation. If the internship will be unpaid, then the intern must submit evidence of financial support in the form of a bank statement or a sponsor letter.

Estimated Costs of Living (Based on Living Expenses for One Person)

Expense Per Month Annual Total
Housing (1 or 2 Bedroom Apartment) $600 - $800 $7200 - $9600
Utilities (Electricity, Gas, Water) $115 - $250 $1380 - $3000
Phone/ Cell Phone $30 - $60 $360 - $720
Health Insurance $60 - $106 $720 - $1272
Groceries $300 - $400 $3600 - $4800
Miscellaneous (Bus, Clothing, etc.) $95 - $150 $1140 - $1800
TOTALS $1200 - $1,766 $14,400 - $21,192

SEVIS Fee and Visa Fees

Prospective J-1 interns are required to pay certain fees, described below, in order to obtain their J-1 visas and enter the United States. Either the intern or the department may pay these fees.

SEVIS Fee: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security charges all new J-1 interns a $180 fee to cover the costs of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a central database that manages information related to visitors’ immigration status while in the United States. The Slutzker Center, when sending the DS-2019 form, will provide prospective J-1 visitors with instructions on how to pay the SEVIS fee.

Visa Fees: In addition to the SEVIS fee, the prospective intern must pay certain visa fees. Please see the Department of State web site for more information on fee amounts: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1263.html. In addition, if the visa is issued, the intern may have to pay a further visa issuance reciprocity fee, if applicable. Prospective interns can consult the following web site to determine if they must pay a visa issuance reciprocity fee and the fee amount: http://travel.state.gov/visa/fees/fees_3272.html. Interns should consult the web site of the particular embassy or consulate where they plan to apply for their J-1 visa for information on how to pay their visa fees: http://www.usembassy.gov/.

Health/Medical Insurance

Federal regulations require J-1 interns to maintain the following minimum level of health insurance for themselves and any J-2 dependents for the duration of their stay in the United States:

  1. Medical benefits of at least $50,000 per accident or illness
  2. Repatriation of remains in the amount of $7,500
  3. Coverage for medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his/her home country in the amount of $10,000
  4. A deductible which does not exceed $500 per accident or illness.

Interns must provide proof of health insurance for themselves and any family members when they first arrive and report to the Slutzker Center, and again if they later apply for an extension of their J-1 status. The interns may purchase any plan that provides the minimum level of coverage listed above, or they may purchase a comprehensive insurance plan especially designed for Syracuse University’s international students and scholars. The insurance plan, provided by HTH Worldwide Insurance Services, may be purchased through the University’s broker, Haylor Freyer & Coon. For more information, please visit http://international.syr.edu/health_insurance.htm.

Mandatory Evaluation of J-1 Interns

Department of State regulations require that an evaluation be completed for each J-1 Student Intern at the end of his/her internship. Those internships which last longer than 6 months also require at least one additional mid-program evaluation, to be undertaken at the mid-point of the program. (The J-1 Student Intern Evaluation Form is available on the Slutzker Center website under the forms section).


Step 1: Instructions for the Student Intern Applicant

The J-1 Student Intern Applicant should complete Sections 1, 2, and 3 of the Application for J-1 Student Intern and sign the statement at the end of Section 3. Once the J-1 Student Intern Applicant has completed Sections 1, 2 and 3, he/she should submit the form and supporting documents directly to the Syracuse University department which will host him/her.

In addition to Sections 1, 2, and 3 of this form, the J-1 Student Intern Applicant should submit the following materials to his/her host department:

  • A copy/scan of the J-1 Student Intern Applicant’s main passport information page.
  • A letter from an English language instructor at the intern's institution or an English language school verifying that the intern has sufficient language skills to “function on a day-to-day basis in the internship environment.” Alternatively, the intern can provide evidence of passing a recognized language test, such as the TOEFL or IELTS. The minimum TOEFL score required on the written test is 550 and on the internet-based test (iBT) is 80. The minimum IELTS score is 6.5.
  • If the intern will be paid by Syracuse University, then the intern must submit a letter from the dean or academic advisor from his/her home institution which authorizes the employment.
  • If the intern who will not be paid by Syracuse University, the J-1 Student Intern Applicant must submit proof of adequate financial support and provide copies to the Slutzker Center. The amount should be at least $1200/month for the J-1 Student Intern Applicant and $500/month for each for a dependent J-2 spouse or child(ren).

Step 2: Instructions for the Department

After receiving all documents from the J-1 Applicant, the department should complete Section 4 and submit the entire Application for J-1 Student Intern (Sections 1, 2, 3, and 4) along with any accompanying financial documentation and passport copies to the Slutzker Center for International Services.

In addition to this form, departments are required to provide the following materials:

  • An invitation letter on department letterhead, inviting the J-1 Student Intern to come to SU as visiting student intern.
  • A Training/Internship Placement Plan (DS-7002) for each intern. A fillable version of this form is available at http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/84240.pdf. Please complete the DS-7002 form and sign under "Supervisor's Signature", but leave "Sponsor's Signature" and "Program Number" blank. The Slutzker Center will complete that portion of the DS-7002. The Slutzker Center will send the form to the J-1 Student Intern with the other visa support documents. The J-1 Student Intern will need this form when he/she applies for his/her visa.

Please submit all of the requested information. The Slutzker Center must have these materials in order to process your request for your prospective intern’s immigration documents.

Step 3: Slutzker Center for International Services

After receiving all documents from the J-1 Applicant and Department as well as the supporting documents, the Slutzker Center for International Services will process the DS-2019 Forms for the J-1 Student Intern and for all J-2 Dependents in the US Citizenship and Immigration Services SEVIS Database (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System).

Along with the DS-2019(s), the Slutzker Center for International Services will prepare a packet for the J-1 Student Intern Applicant which will include an invitation letter and information about: the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, paying the SEVIS fee, obtaining the J-1 Visa, travel to the United States, and general information Syracuse University and Syracuse, New York. The department will be asked to send this information along with the department’s appointment letter to the J-1 Applicant (likewise, the Slutzker Center can ship items if provided with an express mail account).

Processing Time - Plan 2 Months in Advance

After submission of the complete J-1 Student Intern Application, please allow at least 1 week for the Slutzker Center to process and prepare all supporting J-1 Visa documents.

Overall processing time for the student intern to obtain a J-1 visa and arrive in the US is a minimum of at least 8 weeks (more if there are delays due to Technology Alert List or background checks).


  • Timing: Departments and Interns should notify Slutzker Center 1-2 months before the end date indicated on the J-1 DS-2019 in order to process an extension on time.
  • All extensions must be completed in the SEVIS system before the end date on your DS-2019.

Extensions of stay may be possible if the J-1 Student Intern has not exceeded the 1 year allowed under his/her J-1 status. To process an extension, both the department and the J-1 Student Intern will need to complete the J-1 Extension form and submit it with a J-1 Student Intern Evaluation and an updated appointment letter to the Slutzker Center for International Services. The J-1 Extension form and the J-1 Student Intern Evaluation form are available on the Slutzker Center website http://international.syr.edu/ in the Forms Section.

30-day Grace Period: J-1 Student Interns can also remain in the U.S. for an additional 30 days beyond the expiration date on the DS-2019 provided they are in legal status. The 30-day grace period is meant to allow the J-visa holder time for travel and preparation for departure. The exchange visitor may not work during this period.

NOTE: You are not eligible for extension if you have obtained a waiver or recommendation of waiver of the two-year home residency requirement.


An exchange visitor can transfer to another program sponsor (i.e. transfer to another University) if:

  • the purpose of the program remains the same (same general subject area)
  • the visitor will remain as a Student Intern • the visitor has not reached the maximum stay limit (1 year for Student Intern)
  • the visitor has not obtained a waiver of the two-year home residency requirement

In order to transfer, written release is needed from the current J-1 sponsor. To process the transfer, the J-1 Student Intern and the new host institution’s J-1 advisor must complete the J-1 Scholar Transfer-Out form which is available on the http://international.syr.edu/ website in the Forms Section and submit it to the Slutzker Center.

NOTE: You are not eligible for transfer if you have obtained a waiver or recommendation of waiver of the two-year home residency requirement.