Step 1: Arrange Your Internship/Training Program

Applicants are responsible for finding their own internship or training program.

Step 2: Submit Online Application
Please complete the online application first. You must answer all questions in the form. If you don’t fill out the online application completely you won’t be able to submit the form.

Applying early is strongly recommended!

Cultural Exchange Programs’ director will contact you with a decision via email upon completion of your review.  If your application is approved, carefully follow the instructions in your application approval email and proceed to Step 3.

Step 3: Submit Initial Documents
If your online application is approved, you will be asked to submit the following documents, consolidated in a single PDF or JPEG file:
  • Passport (photo ID page). Passport must be valid at least 6 months after the end date of the proposed training or internship in the US.
  • If you are currently in the U.S. you must also submit a photocopy of your current U.S. visa or I-94.
  • Small ID-sized color photo of applicant taken in the last 6 months.
  • References that IA&A can contact by email.
    • Intern visa candidates must provide non-U.S. university references.
    • Trainee visa candidates must provide non-U.S. employment references to confirm related non-U.S. employment.
  • Financial guarantor documents. Your guarantor must be a family member or close friend that resides in your country of residence. You cannot be your own guarantor and this requirement is for all candidates, paid or unpaid. Your guarantor must provide the following documents:
    • Guarantor’s statement of financial responsibility stating that the guarantor will take full responsibility for the participant throughout their stay in the U.S. on IA&A’s program. The letter must also state the guarantor’s relationship to the applicant.
    • Photo ID (passport or driver’s license) of guarantor.
    • Bank statement proving a current balance of at least $1000 USD per month of placement plus an additional $1000 USD to cover the 30-day grace period.
  • Proof of non-U.S. University enrollment or graduation:

    • Intern visa candidates must provide a transcript proving current enrollment or diploma proving recent graduation.
    • Trainee candidates with degrees related to field of training program must provide a university diploma.
  • Essay (maximum 500 words) describing your interest in training in the U.S. and reasons for applying. The essay must be typed and signed.
  • Resume
  • Staff List if host has less than 25 full-time employees.
  • Contact details for the human resources contact/payroll manager and for the secondary supervisor at the host organization. Include full name, title, email, and direct phone number.
  • Certificate of Workman’s Compensation Insurance (WCI) from host organization (See a sample certificate). It is not required that the policy cover the exchange program participant.
  • To request financial aid, submit a letter of request with your supporting documents. The letter of request should elaborate on the applicant’s financial need and describe the sources of funding the applicant will receive during their J-1 program. Financial aid requests are subject to review and are granted on a case-by-case basis.

Any documents not in English must be submitted with translations and signed translation certifications attached. A sample translation certification can be found here. Any applications submitted without necessary translations will be considered incomplete.

Please submit all of your documents together, consolidated in a single PDF or JPEG file. Documents will not be reviewed if sent in multiple parts.

Use the completed checklist for the INTERN or TRAINEE visa as the cover page with all items included and checked off.

EMAIL: Send documents as a PDF or JPEG file to

SHARE: Gmail account-holders can submit documents as a single file via Document Share to

Step 4: Skype Review and Fee Payment
Skype Review

Your Review & Fee appointment, held over Skype with CEP’s director, is a chance for us to learn more about you, clarify any questions we have about your initial documents, and share information with you about the next steps of the sponsorship application process.

The date of your Review & Fee appointment will be included in your application approval email.  Be sure to confirm your availability for the proposed appointment via email within 3 days or your appointment will be postponed. You must submit your initial documents at least 24 hours prior to your Review & Fee Appointment.

Fee Payment

During your Review & Fee appointment, if everything is in order with your documents, you will be sent an invoice for your IA&A program fee during your Skype appointment. It is expected that you pay your fee via PayPal during your appointment. See the Fees page for details.  IA&A cannot accept payment by wire transfer.

Step 5: Webcam Orientation and Site Visit
Webcam Orientation

After the payment has been received, IA&A will contact you to schedule your required Webcam Orientation & Passport Verification. You must have your valid passport with you for this interview, which will be conducted via webcam on Skype.

Site Visit

Site visits are always required if this is the first time that IA&A will be sponsoring an intern or trainee for a placement at this host organization or at a previous host’s new location

There is a $250 charge for site visits. If a site visit is required, the DS-2019 cannot be issued until the site visit has been completed. Please allow up to 3 weeks for the entire site visit process.

Step 6: Submit Additional Documents
Once you have paid your fees, you will need to submit the following additional documents:
  • Health insurance proof of purchase showing the description of coverage. You must enroll for the duration of your program plus the 30-day grace period. 
    • If you chose to apply to a plan that is not listed on IA&A’s websiteyou must indicate the text that proves word-for-word that the policy you chose meets the requirements listed on IA&A’s Insurance Form.
    • If your insurance provider limits the number of months of coverage you may purchase, please purchase the maximum duration of coverage available.  You may extend your insurance to cover the entirety of your program later.
  • Shipping address and telephone number where you would like to receive your visa documents package.

Once you have submitted these documents, you will be sent the following agreements to review and sign:

  • IA&A Training Agreement
  • DS-7002 (Training/Internship Placement Plan)

Any documents not in English must be submitted with translations and signed translation certifications attached. A sample translation certification can be found here. Any applications submitted without necessary translations will be considered incomplete.

EMAIL: Send documents as a PDF or JPEG file to

SHARE: Gmail account-holders can submit documents as a single file via Document Share to

Step 7: Issuance of DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility)
Within approximately 2 weeks of receiving your additional documents, IA&A will send the complete DS-2019 package to you via express mail. Shipping generally takes 3 business days. The DS-2019  package includes:
  • DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility, signed by IA&A.
  • DS-7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan, signed by IA&A, you, and your host.
  • IA&A Training Agreement, signed by IA&A, you, and your host.

Bring all of these documents with you to your visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate. See Step 8 for more information. 

On the day that the DS-2019 package is shipped, your Program Officer will send an IA&A Program Manual to you via email.  You should confirm receipt and review the contents of the manual at your earliest convenience.  IA&A will also send digital copies of the countersigned DS-7002 and Host Training Agreement along with an IA&A Host Manual and other program information to your host via email.

Step 8: Schedule Visa Interview
To obtain a J-1 visa you must apply at the U.S. embassy or consulate in person. Once you have received your J-1 visa in your passport you can arrange your trip to the U.S. and start your J-1 program.

If you applying with a Canadian passport you do not need to attend an interview or receive a Machine Readable Visa (MRV) in your passport. You can enter the U.S. with your document package and SEVIS receipt.

Please refer to the U.S. embassy or consulate’s website for instructions on submitting the DS-160 non-immigrant visa application and paying the MRV (machine readable visa) fee.

DS-160 Non-Immigrant Visa Application

Please be prepared to provide the following information when you complete the DS-160. Contact IA&A if you have questions about this form. Canadians do not have to complete this form.

  • Address where you will stay in the U.S. You may use your host organization’s professional address if you do not yet have a U.S. living address.
  • Contact person or organization in the U.S.
  • Two contacts in your home country who can verify your eligibility for the J-1 program.


The $160 MRV fee is not included in your IA&A program fees. Please see the U.S. consulate or embassy website for details on how to pay this fee. Canadians do not pay this fee.


The $180 SEVIS I-901 fee is not included in your IA&A program fees. It is payable at Canadians must also pay this fee and bring proof of payment to the border.

Step 9: Attend Visa Interview
Interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate

Due to increased security, most U.S. embassies and consulates will require you to undergo an in-person interview with a consular officer as part of the J-1 visa application. This can take anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks to arrange, so bear this is mind when you are confirming your placement start date. Note that Canadians are exempt from this requirement.

Required Documents

Depending on the country in which you are applying for your J-1 visa, the following list of required documentation may vary. However, the list is generally as follows:

  • Completed DS-7002 Form (Training/Internship Placement Plan)
  • Completed DS-2019 Form (Certificate of Eligibility)
  • Completed DS-160 Form (Non-immigrant Visa Application)
  • Passport, which must be valid for six months after the end date of your placement.
  • Evidence to show that you have sufficient funds to cover all expenses during your stay in the U.S.
  • Recent photograph (visit the Embassy’s website for photo size requirements)
  • Proof of ties abroad (in country other than the U.S.)
  • Evidence of having paid the MRV fee with the paying-in slip.
Step 10: Purchase Plane Tickets

DO NOT book your travel to the U.S. until after you have received your J-1 visa. Delays can occur in visa processing, especially around the winter holiday (December) and during the summer period (June through September).

Step 11: Contact IA&A After Arrival

Contact IA&A when you arrive in the U.S. to confirm the start of your placement, your U.S. address, and cell phone number. You may arrive within 30 days of the start date listed on your DS-2019.

Step 12: Connect with IA&A

Make the most of your J-1 experience and join your local IA&A chapter mailing list. Visit our Community page to learn how you can connect to other international interns and trainees in your city.

Resources for Applicants

Read through the application steps before submitting your online application. Contact IA&A if you have any questions.

Online Application


Application Process


Health Insurance


After U.S. Arrival