A Division of the International Studies Office

J-1 Student Intern

J-1 Student Intern

The J-1 Student Intern program is primarily a work-based learning program open to international students who are currently enrolled in a degree program at their home institution.   The program is an individualized structured training activity which reinforces a student’s academic program and provides practical experience and exposure to American techniques, methodologies, and expertise.  As part of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program of the Department of State it also serves to enhance the student’s knowledge of American culture and society.   An internship can be paid or unpaid, but the student must show sufficient funds to support him or herself for the duration of their internship at UVa. 


To be eligible to participate as a J-1 Student Intern, a participant must meet these conditions:

*  Be currently enrolled and pursuing a degree at an accredited postsecondary academic institution outside the U.S. and maintaining good academic standing at their home institution.

*  Have verifiable English language skills sufficient to function on a day-to-day basis in the internship environment.

*  Be primarily in the United States to engage in a student internship program rather than to engage in employment or provide services to an employer.

*   Must return to his or her academic program at the home institution outside the United States after completion of the student internship program.

*  Have sufficient finances to support himself or herself and any dependents for their entire stay in the United States, including housing and living expenses.


The internship activity secured for the participant must conform to these requirements and prohibitions:

*  Be full-time; i.e., consist of a minimum of 32 hours per week.

*  Consist of no more than 20 percent clerical work.

*   Not displace "American workers" (including full or part-time, temporary or permanent).

*   Consist of work-based learning, rather than ordinary employment or unskilled labor.

*  Expose the participant to American techniques, methodologies, and technology, expand upon the participant's existing knowledge and skills, and not duplicate the student intern's prior experience.

*  The U.S. internship must fulfill the educational objectives for his/her current degree program at his/her home institution.

*  The host department shall not place a student intern in any position that involves clinical work or involves patient care or contact, including any activity that would require student interns to provide 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).

*  A student may participate in an internship with or without wages. To be employed, however, the student needs the approval of the exchange program's Responsible Officer and the student's home institution's dean or academic advisor.

*  The faculty supervisor shall provide an evaluation for each student intern prior to the conclusion of the internship, and both student intern and immediate supervisor must sign the evaluation form.  Programs lasting more than 6 months must conduct both a midpoint and concluding evaluation.  Submit a copy of all evaluations to the ISSP.

*  Maintain health insurance coverage for the duration of the program that meets the minimum requirements for the J visa program.

Student Intern:

The student will need to provide the following documents: 

1) Documentation of financial support for the duration of the internship; and

2) A letter from the student’s academic advisor or home institution attesting to the following points:

·         That the student is enrolled in a degree program and is in good standing at the institution

·         That the internship fulfills the educational objectives for the degree program, and

·         That the student plans to return to the home institution to complete the degree.

3) Copy of passport ID page

Supervising Faculty Host:

The supervising faculty must ensure that interns have verifiable English language skills sufficient to function on a day-to-day basis in their internship environment.  Language proficiency can be verified through an interview conducted by the sponsoring department, or English language test results (such as TOEFL).  The supervising faculty must complete Part II of the Student Intern application.  The supervisor must develop a training plan with detailed learning goals and objectives, a general description of daily activities and an assessment plan.  The U.S. State Department also requires that the program also opportunities to experience American culture and customs.  A description of social and cultural activities planned for the student intern should also be detailed.  

The supervising faculty will also need to provide a detailed training plan that includes goals, activities, and assessment methodology as part of the application.  A final evaluation must be completed and signed by both the student and the supervising faculty upon completion of the internship.