J-1 Interns

If you are interested in more information for this specific immigration status or living in the U.S., please visit OIS Fact Sheets.


The Student Intern program is designed to allow foreign college and university students to come to the United States to receive training in the U.S. in their chosen occupation and to gain exposure to U.S. culture. Student Interns can participate in the student internship program for up to 12 months for each degree/major. Extensions beyond 12 months are not possible. A comparison chart of J-1 categories and OIS fee matrix are available to help departments choose which category to use to when bringing in an exchange visitor.

Eligibility Criteria



Students who are currently enrolled and pursuing a degree at a postsecondary academic institution outside the U.S. and whose U.S. internship will fulfill the educational objectives for their current degree program may participate in the J-1 Student Intern program as long as they meet the following requirements:

  • Be accepted into an internship program at a postsecondary academic institution in the U.S.
  • Be in the U.S. primarily to engage in an internship program rather than to engage in Employment
  • Have verifiable English language skills sufficient to function on a day-to-day basis in the internship environment
  • Have sufficient finances to support themselves (and any dependents) for their entire stay in the U.S.
  • Be enrolled (in good academic standing) at an academic institution outside the U.S.
  • Return to and obtain a degree from their academic institution outside the U.S. after completing the internship program


The internship program must satisfy the following requirements:

  • It does not have to be in the J-1 Student Intern's field of study, but it does have to fulfill the educational objectives for the student’s current degree program at his/her home institution.
  • The internship cannot serve to fill a labor need. It must only exist so that the J-1 Student Intern can achieve the objectives of the internship program.
  • The internship must consist of work-based learning, rather than ordinary employment and unskilled labor. Internship tasks may consist of no more than 20 percent clerical work.
  • The J-1 Student Intern may participate in the internship with or without wages or other compensation. Full-time employment is permitted with the approval of the student's dean or academic advisor at the student’s home institution.
  • Internships cannot place a J-1 Student Intern in any position that involves the following: 1) Unskilled or casual labor, 2) Child care or elder care, 3) Aviation, 4) Clinical positions or any work that involves patient care or contact, or the provision of therapy, medication or other clinical or medical care.
  • The internship cannot displace “American workers" (full or part-time, temporary or permanent).


The hosting department must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Verify the J-1 Student Intern's English language ability through an interview, by a recognized English language test, or by signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school.
  • Ensure that the internship is full-time (i.e. a minimum of 32 hours per week).
  • Complete and sign the Form DS-7002 (Training/Internship Placement Plan).
  • Develop procedures for evaluating all J-1 Student Interns and conduct such evaluations. All programs must do a concluding evaluation, and programs lasting more than six months must do a midpoint and concluding evaluation. The evaluations must be submitted through My OIS.

How to Apply


The J-1 Student Intern request will be initiated by the department at Pitt wishing to invite the intern. This request should be initiated through My OIS a minimum of 30 days before the intended start date of the internship. The department will need to contact the intern to request a copy of their CV, financial documentation (if needed) and letter of good academic standing. Please email OIS@pitt.edu with any questions about how to log in and submit a J-1 request through My OIS.


A student intern acquires J-1 status using Form DS-2019, issued by a DHS/DOS - approved school through SEVIS. Status is acquired in one of two ways: 1) if the student is abroad, by entering the United States with the DS-2019 and a J-1 visa obtained at a US consulate (although citizens of some countries are exempt from the visa requirement); or 2) if the student is already in the United States, by sending the DS-2019 to USCIS with an application for change of nonimmigrant status. For information about obtaining a visa and traveling to the U.S. please review our Travel Information.

Maintaining Legal Status

As a J-1 Exchange Visitor, you must meet certain obligations in order to maintain legal immigration status. Maintaining status is necessary in order to receive the benefits of J-1 status such as employment or a program extension. Failure to maintain your non-immigrant status can result in serious problems with immigration and could lead to deportation from the U.S. Due to the complexity of U.S. immigration regulations, we recommend that you consult with an Immigration Specialist in the Office of International Services anytime you have questions or concerns related to your J-1 status. To maintain legal J-1 status, a J-1 Student Intern must:

  • Check-in with the Office of International Services within 30 days of the start date of your program.
  • Have a valid passport. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months into the future on the day you return from your trip abroad, unless your country is a part of the "6-month club."
  • Have a valid DS-2019 which must be accurate at all times.
  • Have a valid I-94 record
  • Have a valid U.S. visa stamp in order to re-enter the country
  • A valid travel signature is required for re-entry into the U.S. and the signature is valid for one year.
  • Update your address information within 10 days of moving
  • Conduct employment only as indicated on the DS-2019. NOTE: Departments must contact the Office of International Services if they would like the exchange visitor to engage in collaborative work outside of University of Pittsburgh or if the exchange visitor wishes to participate in occasional lectures at another institution.
  • File timely and appropriate transfer and extension notification to the Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) through the sponsoring agency. This must be done before the end date of your current DS-2019.
  • Maintain required health insurance coverage (see below).
  • Complete a departure notification if you leave more than 30 days before your program end date.

Health Insurance

J-1 (primary) and J-2 (dependents) visa holders are required by their visa status to maintain medical health insurance coverage at all times during their exchange visit. The minimum basic coverage is:

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness;
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000;
  • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000; and
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.

In some cases, your financial sponsor may arrange for medical insurance coverage, ensuring it meets with the regulatory guidance above. In all other cases, the J-1 primary visa holder is responsible to arrange for suitable medical insurance coverage for him-/herself and any J-2 dependents. While the University of Pittsburgh does not specifically endorse any other health plans, we have included several companies in our Resources listing on this website. Failure to maintain adequate medical health insurance coverage will lead to termination of J visa status and departure from the United States.

Grace Period

When a J-1 exchange visitor completed his or her program, a 30-day grace period begins. During these 30 days he/she may remain in the U.S. and prepare to leave. It is not permissible to work during the grace period. Nor may one exit the U.S. and reenter as a J-1 during the grace period.

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