The participants of the J-1 Intern/Trainee program must at a minimum:
- Trainees – Be foreign nationals who have either a degree or professional certificate from a foreign post-secondary academic institution and at least one year of prior related work experience in their occupational field acquired outside the United States or five years of work experience in their occupational field acquired outside the United States.
- Interns – Be foreign nationals who are currently enrolled full-time and pursuing studies in their advanced chosen career field at a degree- or certificate-granting post-secondary academic institution outside the United States or graduated from such an institution no more than 12 months prior to their exchange visitor program begin date.
- Possess, at a minimum, conversational English language skills
- Have a minimum of $2000 USD available upon arrival into the U.S.
- Apply for a Social Security number
- Participate in cultural activities
- Abide by the rules and regulations of the program
Current Intern/Trainee participants:
Review the Program Materials that were emailed to you for instructions on how to validate your program (check-in), update your address, and complete your evaluations. Program Materials include:
- Participant Handbook
- Program Terms and Conditions
- Insurance information including policy benefits, how to find a network medical provider, and how to file a claim
- Current State Department brochure and welcome letter
- Social Security Application and Sponsor Letter
Social Security Administration
Questions about Taxes
Tax return assistance
For helpful information such as weather, maps, cultural activities and more information regarding the state where you are living and working please see the links below. Contact GEC if you don’t see the state where you are living and working.
The program fee that you paid for your program includes your SEVIS payment, your mandatory health insurance, your orientation and program materials, 24 hour emergency support services, your training placement, courier fee of documents to your home country and the administrative fees to process your DS-2019 form and your DS-7002 training plan.
There may be additional fees charged by your Foreign Partner Agent (if applicable) and may include registration fees, application fee, interview/screening fee, English Eligibility tests, translation of school documents, and other documents as necessary/required.
In addition to the fees for your program sponsorship and the money you bring with you to the U.S., you will be required to pay a fee to the U.S. Embassy prior to scheduling your interview.
You are also responsible for purchasing your round trip airline ticket and for paying any fees charged for changing your flight dates before and after arriving in the U.S.
No. The purpose of your program is for cultural exchange. You must participate in cultural activities while in the U.S. Cultural activities can include touring the city where you are living, visiting museums, attending a U.S. sporting event, visiting amusement/ theme parks, attending a concert, and many, many other activities. If you are having difficulty with cultural activity ideas, please contact GEC for assistance.
If you fail to update GEC with your correct/ current address, phone number and employer information, your program will be terminated. If your program is terminated, you may jeopardize your future chances of being able to re-enter the country. It is a matter of national security for the Department of Homeland Security to know where you are living and working at all times. Not reporting your new information is a serious violation.
No. Regulations are very strict. You MUST validate your program in SEVIS within 5 days of your arrival. Failure to do so WILL result in the immediate termination of your program, and you will be required to depart from the U.S. immediately even if you validated your program on the 11th day of your arrival.
Detailed instructions on how to validate your program can be found on pg. 21. It is your responsibility to read and follow the instructions carefully.
By signing your DS-7002 (T/IPP) prior to your acceptance in the GEC program, you agreed to complete the terms and conditions of your program. The Host Organization Site of Activity who extended the training opportunity to you is expecting you to complete your program. If you are having issues with your training opportunity, first discuss them with your Host Organization Site of Activity supervisors. GEC can help as well and should be contacted immediately. Your J-1 Intern/Trainee program is not a work program. You are only sponsored to train at the Host Organization Site of Activity listed on your documents. Training anywhere else other than what is listed on your specific documents is grounds for immediate sponsorship termination.
You did not enter the U.S. on a tourist (B2) visa. You entered on a J-1 Intern/Trainee visa. You are expected to complete the terms of your program. If you decide you no longer wish to participate in your training opportunity in the U.S., contact GEC and we will work to resolve the problems you are having with your program. If you decide you still don’t want to train in the U.S., GEC will end your program in SEVIS. This means that you may begin your travel period up to 30 days in the U.S. before you must return home. You cannot spend more than 30 days travelling in the U.S. (Example, you cannot stop training in June and expect to stay in the U.S. until August for tourist purposes.) It will be your responsibility to pay all costs for changing your flight back to your home country due to an early departure from the U.S. GEC must maintain accurate training information for you at all times including whether or not you are still training.
GEC MUST VET ALL HOUSING OPTIONS THAT YOU SECURE ON YOUR OWN. As your sponsor, we must know that your health, safety, and welfare are not compromised. We will determine if your housing is suitable based on the distance from your housing to your work site of activity, cost, what is included in your housing, who lives there, how many people live there, how many beds in the home, and other factors. Please understand that pre-arranged housing involved negotiations with the housing coordinator as it related to rent charged, furnishings secured and number of students per room. Not fulfilling the housing agreement creates a hardship for the landlord/ housing coordinator and the students who remain in the housing. GEC strongly encourages you to live in your pre-approved/ pre-arranged housing. You may be held responsible for rent payments at prearranged housing even if you choose to move out.
No. It is a violation of your program regulations to not report to the Host Site of Activity as listed on your DS-2019 form. You must report to the Host Site of Activity within 10 days of your arrival, and you must put forth a good faith effort to work at this Host Site of Activity for the duration of your program. Not reporting to or leaving your employer early is considered visa fraud, and it will lead to your immediate program sponsorship termination.
GEC is your J-1 visa sponsor. You must have a sponsor for the entire time you are in the U.S. under the J-1 visa program. If you violate the terms and conditions and the regulations of your program (not validating your program, not reporting to your employer, not updating your address within 10 days of any change, not answering your monthly monitoring questionnaires, working at a second or replacement job without GEC’s written permission, etc.), your program sponsorship will be terminated. Termination means that you no longer have a sponsor in the United States, and you are required to make immediate arrangements to leave the U.S. and return home. Your SEVIS record will be marked accordingly. Program termination has a serious negative impact on your record and may affect future return visits to the U.S. Don’t let this happen to you. Comply with the terms and conditions and regulations of your program.
Yes. Regulations require that you receive a minimum of 32 hours per week. If your hours are below 32 hours per week, contact GEC for assistance. The Host Organization Site of Activity is not required to give you anything above 32 hours per week. Please remember, this is not a work program. The purpose of your program is for training purposes.
The amount of your stipend will vary depending on your DS-7002 (T/IPP). We suggest making a budget and outlining your expected housing and food costs. Research the area where you will be living and training as the expenses will vary in different parts of the U.S. Bigger cities will typically have higher rent and expenses than smaller cities. Smaller cities may have less public transportation so you may spend more getting to your host site of activity or seeing local sights.
REMEMBER: The primary purpose of your program is for training and cultural exchange, not for work and earning large sums of money.
No. GEC cannot extend your program after you have arrived in the U.S. Your visa was approved by the U.S. embassy in your home country based on the documents that were presented at the time of your interview. Internship/Training programs are only valid for up to a 12 month period.
Typically after you begin training, there is a one to two week waiting period before you will receive your first paycheck. This waiting period will vary, so be sure to ask your Host Organization Site of Activity before you depart for the U.S. how long you will have to wait to begin receiving paychecks. Some Host Organizations will let you begin before you receive your Social Security number and some will not.
It is your responsibility to bring enough personal funds with you to the U.S. in order to pay for your housing deposits, rent, food and other expenses. GEC will not loan money to you or make these payments for you.
You are required to bring at least $2000 USD (depending on the length of your program) with you but depending on the cost of your housing deposit, rent, food and time it will take to receive your first paycheck, you may need more. We recommend you bring an international credit card. Most places in the U.S accept Visa and MasterCard. U.S. Dollar travelers checks are accepted at most businesses as well.