If you are one of the people who has been following our Blogs over the last few weeks, you must be aware that we have spoken and informed you both about Immigrant and Non-immigrant Visas for entry to the United States. In the last two weeks, we have been reporting about J-1 Visas with their multiple uses for different people. This week, we continue telling you about the many programs involved in this category and maybe one of them fits your particular need or situation.
Among the many applications for the J-1 Visas we find the Intern Program, which is primarily designed for foreign university students or people who have recently graduated from college who wish to come to the United States and experience US culture and Business Practices while acquiring practical experience in their own particular field. As always, the Interns must meet some requirements such as:
- The Interns must be foreign nationals.
- They must be enrolled in a study program at a post-secondary institution which offers a foreign degree or a certificate outside of the United States or;
- They must also have graduated from that type of Institution no more than twelve (12) months prior to the start of the exchange visitor program.
The benefit to this type of program is the practical hands-on experience by the individuals who participate in this program which will take them from class-room theory to the modern workplace.
The limitations to this program are that the interns cannot perform unskilled labor, or become involved in child care or care for the elderly as well as medical patient care. It is also important to remember that they cannot work more than 20% of their program time in clerical positions.
Occupational Categories For Intern Programs
- Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
- Arts and Culture
- Building and the Construction Industry
- Education, Social Sciences, Library Science, Counseling and Social Services
- Occupations related to the Health Industry
- Hospitality and Tourism
- Communications and the Information Media
- Business, Management, Commerce and Finance
- Public Administration and the Law
- Sciences, Engineering, Mathematics, Architecture and Industrial Occupations
The people accepted into this program must have a sponsor who also must meet some requirements such as:
- The Sponsor must screen Host organizations which provide work experience for these Interns.
- The Sponsor must obtain the Host Organization Employer Identification Number (EIN).
- The Sponsor must verify the Host Company telephone number, physical address, publicity, web site etc.
- The Sponsor must assure that the Host has the availability of a Worker’s Compensation Insurance Policy.
- They must also evaluate the Interns after 6 months and at the program’s end.
Now as you have seen in this program there is the Intern, the Sponsor and finally the Host who are the Companies providing the valuable work experience to the Interns in the program, who must also meet a set of requirements to be eligible to participate in this program, and they are:
- They must sign a completed Form DS-7002– Training/Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP) to verify that the placement of the Interns is appropriate to the application of their particular objectives, as is established in their T/IPP’s. The programs which are organized for the Interns by their Hosts have to be for entry level work experience. It is important that the placements for this program fit the individual’s skills and experience.
- The Host must monitor the Intern in his progress and how they stick to the T/IPP program as well as notifying sponsors of any emergency involving the Interns.
- The Host must fulfill all Federal, State and local occupational health and safety regulations.
- The Host must comply with all of the program regulations which have been established by the Sponsors, which includes the completion of all program evaluations.
- The Host must have the necessary infrastructure, plant, equipment and qualified personnel.
- The Host must provide on-site training, supervision and an experienced staff.
- The Host must also offer the Interns acquired skills, knowledge and training through structured learning activities such as classroom instruction, conferences, rotation through different departments etc.
Secondary School Student Program
One of the most popular J-1 Visa categories is the Secondary School Student Program, which is essentially designed for foreign High School Students who wish to travel to the United States to study at a private school, or at an accredited public school where they have the opportunity to live with an American Host family, or at an accredited boarding school. As always, the participants in this program must first fulfill certain requirements which are as follows:
- They must be at least 15 years old but not older than 18 years of age and 6 months, as of the initiation date of the program, or
- They should not have finished more than 11 years of primary and secondary school not including kindergarten, and
- They must not have previously participated in a similar program within the United States
The benefit to this program for the participants is the fact that they may take part in student activities including after school sports programs and extracurricular activities. Their eligibility to participate in these sports programs is decided by State officials. The students are not permitted to work either part-time or full-time jobs while in the United States but may take occasional work such as babysitting: Exchange students may not live with their family members. As with all of the categories under the J-1 Visa there are also Sponsors and Hosts who also must meet requirements in order to participate in this program. The Sponsors must:
- Screen potential Host families.
- Provide the potential Host family with a detailed summary of the exchange visitor program including duties and obligations.
- The Sponsor should request a Host family profile including physical home setting, the family composition and community setting.
- The Sponsor should hold interviews with Potential Host family members.
- The Sponsor should request at least two references from the school or community to verify the Host family’s good character and reputation.
- The Sponsor must make sure that the Host family can financially handle the stay of an exchange student.
- The Sponsor must conduct a criminal background check for all Host family members who are 18 years or older.
The Host families must also meet the following requirements:
- They must provide adequate sleeping accommodations and a place for the student to place their clothing and personal items, a place to study and adequate bathroom facilities.
- The Host family must provide at least three decent meals per day.
- The Host family must also provide transportation to and from school and school activities each day
These two categories of the J-1 Visa will require the usual Visa application process as well as all of the necessary documentation to obtain this Visa. Foreign students are highly encouraged to research the schools and communities where they wish to study long before placing their Visa application. This to ensure that there are no surprises along the way and once they are accepted and arrive in the United States. Please check back with us next week for more information on US Visas.
Courtesy of The Spanish Group, Certified Birth Certificate Translation