Train USA Eligibility

The U.S. Department of State and Cultural Vistas have established criteria that must be met in order to be eligible to participate in a J-1 exchange program.

For Individuals

Before an individual can apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a J-1 Visa, you must first apply for and be accepted into an exchange visitor program through a U.S. Department of State-designated sponsoring organization, such as Cultural Vistas.
J-1 Visa Eligibility Requirements
For Interns
Non-U.S. citizen
Minimum 18 years old
Proficiency in English

Education Level / Employment History:
  • Current enrolled full-time and actively pursuing studies at a ministerially-recognized degree or certificate-granting post-secondary academic institution* outside the United States

  • OR
  • Have graduated from such an institution* no more than 12 months prior to desired internship start date
Internship must be in your field of study.

Duration: Minimum of 3 weeks up to maximum of 12 months.

Multiple J-1 internships can be completed if all requirements continue to be met and their collective duration does not exceed 12 months, OR 90 days have elapsed between programs.

* Primarily vocational education may not qualify. Please call to discuss your education before applying.
J-1 Visa Eligibility Requirements
For Trainees
Non-U.S. citizen
Minimum 18 years old
Proficiency in English

Education Level / Employment History:
  • A degree or professional certificate from a foreign, ministerially recognized post-secondary academic institution* and at least one year of related full-time work experience outside the United States

  • OR
  • Five years of work experience outside the United States in the desired training field
Duration: Minimum of 3 weeks, up to maximum of 18 months.

Additional training programs can be completed if all requirements are met and at least two years of residency outside the United States follow the previous J-1 program.

* Primarily vocational education may not qualify. Please call to discuss your education before applying.

Additional eligibility information
  • Applicants must demonstrate recent experience in field for which they are requesting an internship or training experience.
  • Applicants must have related work or education within the six months prior to the program start date.
  • Applicants must intend to enter the United States solely for the purpose of internship or training; not to abandon non-immigrant status.
  • Applicants must not intend to change status while in the United States.
  • Applicants must be able to function in an English-speaking environment, during work and non-working hours. This must be verifiable via documentation from an educational institution, English language test, or interview with Cultural Vistas staff.
  • Applicants who located their internship through recruitment agencies or other third party organizations may not be eligible.

For Host Companies and Organizations

Cultural Vistas considers many factors when assessing host company eligibility – both those required by the U.S. Department of State and those stipulated by our nonprofit – in order to maintain program quality.

Host organizations must have sufficient capacity and resources to provide a structured and meaningful experience that enhances the professional skills of interns and trainees, while providing insight into American customs and business practices.
  • Demonstrate robust, well-planned training objectives and activities
  • Have been incorporated and in operation for at least one year
  • Sufficient resources to provide onsite supervision and mentoring by experienced staff
  • Offer minimum of 32 hours per week to intern or trainee
  • Facilitate educational and cultural learning opportunities in and outside the workplace for the participants
  • Five full-time staff, at minimum, at the training site Please note: Cultural Vistas requires a staff to participant ratio of 10-1 in most cases.
  • Valid Employer Identification Number (or Tax ID number)
  • Worker's Compensation policy where required
  • The host must abide by all federal, state, and local labor and wage laws. This includes laws relating to withholding applicable taxes as appropriate. J-1 interns and trainees do not pay FICA and FUTA taxes and are required to obtain a Social Security Number in order to be paid wages. Participants should not be considered independent contractors and compensation cannot be based on tips.
  • All participant applicants must be interviewed by either the U.S. host or the sponsor. For the purposes of the J-1 Visa, such interviews must be documented and be performed via webcam, videoconference, phone, or in-person. Hosts will confirm these details in the host company application.
  • The host must ensure participants notify us of their arrival and complete all required evaluation forms. Hosts should also provide orientation upon arrival to ensure the participant is prepared for participation in the program and clearly explain company rules, policies, and any benefits to which the participant is entitled.
Limitations or Exceptions Interns and trainees cannot work in unskilled or casual labor positions or in positions that require more than 20 percent clerical or office support work. Additionally, positions that require or involve childcare, pre-schools or elder care, or in any kind of position that involves medical patient care or contact are not allowed. This includes dentistry, veterinary medicine, psychological therapy and sports or physical therapy. Further, programs in sports coaching, construction trades, carpentry, home electricians or auto-body shops will not be approved.

Sites which are camps or residential facilities, economy hotels, fast-food, bakeries, home-based construction businesses, retail or home offices are also not eligible for Cultural Vistas’ sponsorship.

Use of the Exchange Visitor Program for ordinary employment or work purposes is strictly prohibited. Host organizations must not utilize interns or trainees to displace American workers, nor should they intend to assist individuals in remaining in the United States beyond authorized program dates.

Not all fields are eligible for J-1 Intern and Trainee sponsorship. Cultural Vistas is authorized to sponsor the J-1 Intern and Trainee exchanges in the following fields:
  • Arts and Culture
  • Business, Management, Commerce, and Finance
  • Education and Social Sciences, Library Science, Counseling and Social Services
  • Health-related Occupations
  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • Information, Media, and Communications
  • Public Administration and Law
  • Sciences, Engineering, Mathematics, Architecture, and Industrial Occupations