Regulations pertaining specifically to the Intern category are found at [22 CFR 62.22]. The Department of State recently revised its trainee regulations and established a new intern category. The new regulations went into effect on July 19, 2007 and can be found at 22 CFR 62.22. The regulations specify new requirements for both the trainee and intern categories, including new requirements for sponsors to screen, vet, and enter into written agreements with third-parties who assist them in administering their exchange programs.
The Department will designate internship programs in the following occupational categories:
- Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing
- Construction and Building Trades
- Education, Social Sciences, Library Science, Counseling and Social Services
- Health Related Occupations
- Information Media and Communications
- Management, Business, Commerce and Finance
- Public Administration and Law
- The Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics, and Industrial Occupations.
Internship programs are designed to allow foreign professionals to come to the United States to gain exposure to U.S. culture and to receive training in U.S. business practices in their chosen occupational field. Upon completion of their exchange programs, participants are expected to return to their home countries where they will be able to utilize their newly learned skills and knowledge to advance their careers, and to share their experiences with their communities.
Internship programs will provide quality opportunities to international participants who are looking to gain work-based practical training and internships in the United States. The regulations prohibit sponsors from placing interns in unskilled or casual labor positions, in positions that require or involve child care or elder care, or in any kind of position that involves patient care or contact. Further, sponsors must not place interns in positions that require more than 20 per cent clerical or office support work.
The intern category was established to provide learning opportunities to current foreign post-secondary college and university students and recent graduates. Like the trainee program, the internship program must directly relate to the participant’s career field or field of study.
An Intern must be a foreign national who:
- is currently enrolled in and pursuing studies at a foreign degree- or certificate-granting post-secondary academic institution outside the United States, OR
- has graduated from such an institution no more than 12 months prior to his or her exchange visitor program start date.
The maximum duration of an internship in any occupational field is 12 months.
Training/Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP) (Form DS-7002)
The regulations incorporate a new form: Training/Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP) - Form DS-7002. This form is required for use in both Training and Internship programs. A copy of Form DS-7002 can be found on the State Department’s website.
The T/IPP identifies the skills or experience the intern will learn and must be signed by the intern, host organization supervisor, and sponsor organization representative (RO/ARO) – before a sponsor may issue Form DS-2019. Faxed and digital signatures on the Form DS-7002 will be accepted, however, all three signatures must appear on the final form. Additionally, sponsors must have a written agreement in place with any third-party involved in an internship program. The written agreement must outline the responsibilities on all matters involving the administration of the J-1 exchange visitor program.
Clarifications of Regulations Affecting the Trainee Category
Sponsors or any third-parties acting on their behalf must conduct a thorough screening of potential interns, including a documented interview in-person, by videoconference, or by web camera. In addition, participants’ English language proficiency must be evaluated more strictly or verified by a recognized English language test (TOEFL, Cambridge, etc.), by signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school, or through an in-person interview conducted by the sponsor, or by videoconference, or by web camera.
Midterm and Final Evaluations are required for internship programs that exceed six months. For programs with durations of less than six months, a Final Evaluation is required. All evaluations must be received by the sponsoring organization prior to the end of the participant’s exchange program and must be signed by both the participant and his or her immediate supervisor.
Changes for Vetting Host Organizations
Sponsors of J-1 internship programs must:
- Conduct site visits of host organizations that:
- Have not previously participated successfully in the sponsor’s program
- Have fewer than 25 employees
- Have less than 3 million dollars in annual revenue.
- Collect the following information from all host organizations:
- Dun and Bradstreet Number
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Verification of telephone number, address, brochures, website, etc., and - Proof of Worker’s Compensation Insurance Policy.