J-1 Intern Requirements
The University of Cincinnati J-1 Intern Program is designed for foreign students who are enrolled in and pursuing a degree at an accredited post-secondary academic institution outside the United States or for individuals who have graduated from such an institution no more than 12 months prior to their exchange visitor program start date.
The purpose is to participate in a structured and guided work-based internship program in his or her specific academic field. It recognizes the need for work-based experience, provides on-the-job exposure to American techniques, methodologies, and expertise, and enhances the intern's knowledge of American culture and society. Participation as an intern is limited to 12 months.
Internship Program Eligibility
In order to participate in the Internship Program, a participant must:
- Be in good academic standing at the post-secondary academic institution outside the United States in which he or she is enrolled or
- Have graduated from a post-secondary academic institution outside the United States within the past 12 months from the anticipated start date of the Internship;
- Have verifiable English language skills sufficient to function on a day-to-day basis;
- Be in the United States to engage in the Internship program rather than to engage in employment or provide services to an employer;
- Have sufficient finances to support self and any accompanying dependents for their entire stay in the United States;
- Provide evidence of health insurance for the length of stay for self and any accompanying dependents;
- Return to her or his home country after completion of the internship program.
Enrollment in or Graduation from a University Outside of the United States
Interns must provide official evidence of current enrollment in a degree program at or graduation in the past 12 months from a postsecondary academic institution outside the United States. Evidence includes an official transcript and copies of any postsecondary degrees. The academic advisor or dean must complete the Academic Advisor Recommendation Form verifying that the participant:
- Is currently enrolled in a degree program;
- Is in good academic standing;
- Meets a degree requirement through the internship;
- Is authorized to engage in employment pursuit to the internship, if applicable;
- Is expected to return to the institution following the completion of the internship to complete the degree program.
- May or may not engage in employment pursuant to the internship.
Interns are required to have English language skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening at least at the intermediate level. The department must determine English language proficiency by using one of the following recommended verifiable methods and indicate the method used on the Checklist and Compliance Form and attach documentation to the Departmental Request Form:
- TOEFL-Score of 66 or higher
- IELTS-Overall band score of 6.0 or higher
- PEARSON-Score of 46 or higher
- Cambridge English Language Assessment Test- a Grade C or higher
- Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC)-a score of 780 or higher
- Public English Test System (PETS)-a Grade 5 score
- Advanced English Training Program from the China Ministry of Education (MOE)
- Completion of Advanced English Training Program at a Ministry of Education Center for Overseas Study (Chinese scholars)
- Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment (CEFR)-Score of B2 or higher
- A transcript showing degree completion from an academic institution where English is the means of instruction.
- In place of an acceptable score on an English language test, prospective interns can take the Oral English Proficiency Test for Visiting Scholars online.
- Interns can also make arrangements to be tested using the University of Cincinnati’s Digital Language Evaluation System operated by our Center for English as a Second Language. Interns will be given a series of questions to answer that will be evaluated by faculty in our College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services. The cost for the test is $50.
The minimum amount of financial support for an intern is $1,500/month ($18,000 for a year). If the employer is paying the intern a salary, the amount must be listed on the Request Form and must meet state minimum wage requirements.
Financial support from other institutions or agencies must be verified by an official letter on letterhead stating the amount of support and the period of sponsorship. Personal or family funds are also acceptable sources of support. The intern must provide a bank letter indicating the amount of money available to the intern along with a Financial Certification Form.
If the bank account is in the intern’s name, the bank letter will be sufficient for proof of funds. If the bank account is in someone else’s name, the account holder must provide a signed letter naming the Intern and describing the amount and duration of support. All financial support documents must be recently dated, written in English or officially translated, and state the amount in U.S. dollars.
Interns accompanied by dependents must provide evidence of additional funds sufficient for their support. For the spouse, an additional $333 per month is required and $166/month is required for each child.
Interns are required to obtain and maintain health insurance coverage for the length of the program for themselves and any accompanying dependents. The insurance must adhere to the Department of State minimum requirements. Interns who are paid by the University of Cincinnati for 12 months may qualify for UC’s employee insurance for themselves and any accompanying dependents. (For more information, contact the UC hiring department about the terms of benefits).
Interns and any accompanying dependents must enroll in a Health Insurance Plan that meets the requirements set forth by the Exchange Visitor Program requirements. More information about the health insurance requirement is available on our website. Interns are required to attest on the J-1 Intern Information Form that they are aware of the insurance requirement and have or will obtain the necessary insurance coverage for their entire period of stay. Interns insured by a sponsor will need to provide evidence of insurance with the J-1 Intern Information Form upon arrival.
Responsibility to Make Program Updates
All interns are required to provide UC with updates as they occur (no later than 10 days) to any program information including changes in address; telephone number; host placements or discontinuation of the program. Interns must use the update information form provided by UC International for reporting.
Statement of Intent to Return Home
The intern regulations specifically state that “the intern will return to the academic program and fulfill and obtain a degree from such academic institution after completion of the Internship program.” To ensure understanding of this provision in the regulations, interns must attest that they intend to return home following the completion of the internship on the J-1 Intern Information Form.
J-1 Online Orientation
All J-1 Exchange Vsitors are required to watch the following online orientation either before arrival or immediately after entering the U.S. This orientation will provide you with the following information:
- an overview of the regulations you must follow as a J-1 exchange visitor,
- an explanation on submitting requests to UC International Services for immigration benefits, and
- a description of resources available to you during your stay.
Internship Application Checklist:
- UC Intern Application Form
- Proof of English Proficiency
- Program Fee (make check payable to the University of Cincinnati)
- Current résumé
- Official transcript from current postsecondary academic institution
- Copies of transcripts from previous postsecondary academic institutions and copies of diplomas for all degrees earned (if applicable)
- Proof of English proficiency
- Copy of passport ID page and any renewal pages (and passport ID pages for dependents, if applicable)
- If in the United States in the past 24 months in Exchange Visitor status, copies of supporting documents (DS-2019, Visa stamp, I-797, etc.)
- Signed Training/Internship Placement Plan (Form DS-7002)
- J-1 Intern Program Academic Advisor Recommendation Form, completed by academic advisor or dean
- Evidence of financial support for yourself and any accompanying dependents
- Evidence of required medical insurance coverage for yourself and any accompanying dependents, if provided by your postsecondary academic institution, government or other educational sponsor
- Letter on official letterhead stationary from academic advisor, dean or registrar, in English, certifying current enrollment in accredited institution, degree level, and academic standing.
In addition to providing for the living expenses indicated above, the University of Cincinnati charges a program administration fee of $1,500. This fee must be paid at the time the J-1 Intern application is submitted to UC International Services and is non-refundable. Checks should be made payable to the University of Cincinnati. There is a $867 processing fee for extension requests made payable to the University of Cincinnati. These fees are not applicable to interns placed at the University of Cincinnati.
All intern participants will be required to pay a $180 SEVIS fee prior to applying the J-1 visa. In addition, all participants will complete a DS-160 non-immigrant visa application with the U.S. Department of State. The fee for the DS-160 is $160. Intern participants are required to pay both the SEVIS and DS-160 fees.
Home Residency Requirement
The two-year home country residence requirement is one of the most important special characteristics of exchange visitor status and should be thoroughly understood by all J-1 participants. As an exchange visitor, you may not be eligible to obtain permanent resident, H temporary worker or trainee, or L intra-company transferee status in the U.S. until you have resided and been physically present in your country of nationality or last legal permanent residence for a minimum of two years following your departure from the United States. You are also not permitted to change to another nonimmigrant status in the United States.
These restrictions apply in any of the following cases:
- When your participation in your U.S. program was financed in whole or part, directly or indirectly, by an agency of the U.S. government or by the government of your home country.
- When, at the time of admission or acquisition of exchange visitor status, you had skills or knowledge that the U.S. Department of State deemed necessary to your country under the Exchange Visitor Skills List.
- You came to the United States or acquired exchange visitor status in order to receive graduate medical education or training.
"Financed directly" means financed in whole or part by the United States Government or your home government with funds contributed directly to you in connection with an exchange visitor program.
"Financed indirectly" means:
- financed by an international organization with funds contributed by either the United States or your home government for use in financing international educational and cultural exchange, or
- financed by an organization or institution with funds made available by either the United States or your home government for the purpose of furthering international educational and cultural exchange.
Exchange Visitor Skills List
You are subject to the two-year home country residence requirement if your knowledge and skills are determined necessary to your country. The official list of fields by country is available on the Exchange Visitor Skills List. You are subject to the two-year home country physical presence requirement only if participation in an exchange program began after your field of study appeared on the skills list.
Waiving the Home Residency Requirement
Exchange visitors who are subject to, but do not wish to comply with the home residency requirement may apply for a waiver under any one of the five applicable grounds provided by the United States immigration law. These applicable ground include the following:
- "No Objection" statement from the home government
The exchange visitor’s government must state that it has no objection to the exchange visitor not returning to the home country to satisfy the two-year foreign residence requirement and remaining in the U.S. if he or she chooses to do so.
- Request by an interested (U.S.) Government Agency
If an exchange visitor is working on a project for, or of interest to, a U.S. Federal Government Agency, and that agency has determined that the visitor’s continued stay in the United States is vital to one of its programs, a waiver may be granted if the exchange visitor’s continued stay in the United States is in the public interest.
If the exchange visitor believes that he or she will be persecuted upon return to the home country due to race, religion, or political opinion, he or she can apply for a waiver.
- Exceptional hardship to a United States citizen (or permanent resident) spouse or child of an exchange visitor
If the exchange visitor can demonstrate that his or her departure from the United States would cause extreme hardship to his or her United States citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or child, he or she may apply for a waiver. (Please note that mere separation from family is not considered to be sufficient to establish exceptional hardship.)
- Request by a designated State Department of Health or its equivalent
The law permits only medical doctors to apply for a waiver on this basis. Foreign medical graduates may apply for a waiver if they
- have an offer of full-time employment at a health care facility in a designated health care professional shortage area, and
- agree to begin employment at the facility within 90 days of receiving such waiver, and
- sign a contract to continue to work at the health care facility for a total of 40 hours per week and not less than three years.
Filling out the Waiver Application
- Complete the Online J Visa Waiver Recommendation Application, Form DS-3035. No other version (download or paper) of the DS-3035 will be accepted.
- Upon completing the Form DS-3035 online, your information will be downloaded into a barcode and you will be issued immediately a waiver case file number and further instructions.
- Once you have completed this online form, print the form in black and white only.
- Mail in your DS-3035 Application with barcode and payment as explained below.
Payment & Mailing
- Your payment must be made using a cashier's check or money order.
- The payment must be in U.S. dollars from a U.S. bank.
- The cost for the application is $215, made payable to the U.S. Department of State.
- On the check or money order, please write your full name, date of birth, and Social Security Number (if applicable).
You will mail the print-out of your completed online DS-3035, two self-addressed stamped legal-size envelopes and your check or money order for $215 to
Your application must be sent to the lock-box address at the Waiver Review Division. If you fax or mail your application to the Waiver Review Division, it will NOT be processed.
Sending Documents & Checking Status
It is your responsibility to submit all requested documents and ensure that required documents are sent on your behalf by third parties. The Waiver Review Division will not follow up on documents that have not been received. It is your responsibility to ensure that your file is complete.
Once you have your waiver case number, check on the status of your application by visiting the J Visa Waiver Status Check website. If you notice an error, contact Public Inquiries at (202) 663-1225.
Some documents, such as
- "No Objection" statement from EV's home government,
- "Interested Government Agency" request,
- Conrad request letter from a state public health department, or
- CIS' finding of exceptional hardship or persecution (on Form I-613)
will be submitted directly to the Waiver Review Division by the responsible third party.
However, you, the waiver applicant, must initiate the process by requesting such documents directly from the responsible third party or by applying directly with these other agencies. And, if the third party agrees, your other required documents, such as your DS-2019 or IAP-66, may be forwarded to the Waiver Review Division through the third party.
At the conclusion of the review process, the Waiver Review Division will forward its recommendation directly to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the Department of Homeland Security. You will receive a copy of that recommendation at the address you listed on your Form DS-3035, or the most current address we have if you reported a change of address.
Any time you change your address, please notify the waiver review division of that change. If we do not have your most current address, we may not be able to contact you for additional information, or you may not receive the results of your waiver request.
Please do not fax or contact the Waiver Review Division directly regarding your waiver case. The Division does not have the manpower to respond to such inquiries. You should contact the Public Inquires Division at (202) 663-1225.
USCIS has the responsibility for making the final determination on your waiver request. USCIS will notify you directly whether your waiver application is denied or approved.
The University of Cincinnati must ensure that the internship:
- Fulfills the educational objectives for participant’s current degree program at the home institution
- Exposes the participant to American techniques, methodologies, and technology and expands upon the participant’s existing knowledge and skills
- Is a full-time position consisting of at least 32 hours per week
- Provides a "work-based learning opportunity" consisting of no more than 20% clerical duties
- Does not duplicate the Intern’s prior experience
- Program placement has been secured and Form DS-7002 has been completed and signed
- Evaluations are submitted to UC International Services at the end of the internship
Interns are not required to be enrolled in classes at the University of Cincinnati, but may enroll in classes each semester, if desired, at their own expense with the permission of their supervisor. Enrollment may not interfere with the internship responsibilities.
The Internship employer is not required to offer compensation to interns. However, interns may be employed or provided other compensation with pre-approval from the home institution’s academic advisor or dean and the Responsible Officer of the University of Cincinnati’s Exchange Visitor Program. State minimum wage requirements will apply in such cases.
Internships are permitted in the following areas:
- Arts and Culture;
- Construction and Building Trades;
- Education, Social Sciences, Library Science, Counseling and Social Services;
- Health Related Occupations;
- Hospitality and Tourism;
- Information Media and Communications;
- Management, Business, Commerce and Finance;
- Public Administration and Law; and
- The Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics, and Industrial Occupations.
In order to ensure the quality of the internship program and its effectiveness and appropriateness in achieving its stated goals and objectives, the supervisor must evaluate each Intern. All required evaluations must be completed prior to the conclusion of the Internship program and the Intern and his or her immediate supervisor must sign the evaluation forms. At a minimum, all programs require a concluding evaluation. Programs lasting longer than six months also require a midpoint evaluation. The J-1 Intern Program Evaluation Form is provided in the Forms tab for this purpose.
Training/Internship Placement Plan
The supervisor must devise a Training/Internship Placement Plan for each Intern. This is done using the DS-7002. A fillable DS-7002 is available in the Forms tab and must be completed and agreed to by both the employer and the intern. The plan must include the objectives and goals of the Internship program and detail the knowledge, skills or techniques to be imparted to the Intern. It will also describe the methods of performance evaluation and the frequency of supervision.
All parties involved in the Placement Plan will complete and sign this document, including the supervisor, the intern, and a Responsible/Alternate Responsible Officer at UC International Services. The Placement Plan Form (DS-7002) must be completed in the following manner:
- Supervisor completes the Site of Activity Information on page 1 and all of page 2.
- Program Sponsor Name is “University of Cincinnati” and Program Number is P-1-19641.
- Supervisor sends the Placement Plan Form (DS-7002) to the Intern for his or her signature, which serves as the Intern’s acceptance of the internship.
- Intern sends signed form to supervisor along with required information forms.
- Supervisor signs the form and submit it with the Departmental Request Form and supporting documents to UC International Services. If the form is acceptable, UC International Services will sign the form as the “Sponsor,” approving the Internship Placement Plan and making the required certifications.
The Internship Placement Plan, DS-2019 Form, and Pre-Arrival packet of information will be prepared for the Intern and mailed to the Intern.