J-1 Student Intern Program

The J-1 Intern Program bridges the gap between formal education and practical work experience. It is designed to allow foreign college and university students or recent graduates to come to the United States to gain exposure to U.S. culture and to receive hands-on experience in U.S. business practices in their chosen occupational field.

This page will provide you with information on the J-1 Student Intern category, including requirements and limitations established by federal regulation and/or institutional policy. Please note that the Student Intern category is subject to very specific regulatory limitations and federal reporting requirements; therefore, you should carefully review the information and instructions below in order to determine that it is the appropriate category for an exchange visitor you wish to host. 

In order to be considered for the J-1 Student Intern category, the following criteria must be met:

J-1 Student Intern Program Criteria

  • The Intern must be currently enrolled in and pursuing a degree at an accredited post-secondary institution outside the United States.
  • The Intern must be in good academic standing at the home institution.
  • Cal State LA must have accepted the Intern into an internship program administered in and by a University department (not an outside employer or entity).
  • The internship must be full-time, that is, at least 32 hours per week, and may not exceed twelve months.
  • The internship must consist of work-based learning and not serve to fill a labor need.
  • The internship cannot involve any of the following: unskilled or casual labor, child care or elder care, aviation, clinical positions or engaging in any form of patient care or contact.
  • The internship must expose the student to American techniques, methodologies, and technology, and must not duplicate the student’s prior experiences.
  • A concluding evaluation (as well as a midpoint evaluation if internship exceeds six months), to be signed by the student intern and the immediate supervisor at Cal State LA, must be kept on record by the International Office for three years following completion of the internship.
  • The proposed internship at Cal State LA must fulfill the educational objectives for the student intern’s current degree program at the home institution.
  • The Intern must have verifiable English language skills sufficient to function on a day to day basis in the internship environment at Cal State LA
  • The Intern must have sufficient finances to support him/herself and any accompanying dependents for the entire internship period in the United States, including housing and living expenses.
  • The Intern must be in the United States primarily to engage in an internship program, rather than to engage in employment or provide services to an employer.
  • The Intern must return to the home institution after completion of the internship at Cal State LA and complete the degree program at the home institution outside the United States.

Student Intern Process Checklist

The process of inviting a J-1 non-immigrant student intern to Cal State LA must be coordinated by the hosting department at the university.  Please review the following instructions carefully.  All the required preparatory steps should be completed and documentation submitted to the International Office in one packet. 

Prior to the issuance of visa documents to the prospective student intern, the following complete packet must be received and processed by the International Office:

  • Cal State LA Department Verification Form, which must be completed by the student intern’s Academic Dean or Academic Advisor at the home institution outside the United States
  • Internship Planning Form, which must be completed and signed by the prospective student intern and the supervisor in the hosting Cal State LA department
  • Intern Biographical Data Form, which provides information necessary to establish records in the International Office and SEVIS (the Homeland Security database) for the intern
  • Immigration and Identity Documents (copies of passport identity page and any prior U.S. visas/visa documents for student intern and any accompanying dependents)
  • Resume/CV for the intern, showing academic and professional experience, including names and dates of any academic degrees already completed and anticipated completion dates of any academic programs currently in progress
  • Current Proof of Financial Resources, in amounts sufficient to meet all anticipated expenses for the duration of the internship, including funds for any dependents who may be accompanying the intern

Process Flowchart/Timeline

Please note there are three phases to the process, and each phase is sequenced strictly according to federal regulations.  We strongly encourage you to make plans as far in advance as possible for the internship, given the time required to move through the phases.  

J-1 Student Intern Process Flowchart

Upon issuance of J-1 visa, intern may arrive in U.S. no earlier than 30 days prior to program start date on Form DS-2019.  Delays due to visa wait times, security clearances, etc. may require amendment of the program dates; the hosting department must remain in contact with the International Office to ensure timely updates to the record as needed.

Health Insurance Requirement

Title 22, Section 514.14 of the United States Code of Federal Regulations governing the J Exchange Visitor Programs requires that all program participants to obtain health, accident, medical evacuation and repatriation of remain insurance.  The insurance policies must cover the primary visa holder and all accompanying dependents.  The insurance must provide the following coverage:

  • Deductible does not exceed $500 per illness or injury;
  • Medical benefit is at least $50,000 per condition and the co-payment does not exceed 25%;
  • Includes a benefit of $50,000 for medical evacuation and $25,000 for repatriation;
  • Not require more than a six-month treatment-free period prior to coverage and must not require more than a six-month waiting period.

In purchasing the health insurance, provide the above information to the insurance provider to ensure the policy meets the minimum requirements. Any Intern who willfully refuses to comply with this requirement shall be considered to be in violation of his/her status. Cal State LA, as the program sponsor, is obligated to inform the United States Department of State of the Intern’s noncompliance.

An English language copy of the health insurance policy must be submitted to the International Office upon arrival to the U.S.  The policy must cover the entire period of the program as indicated in your DS-2019.

To assist in fulfilling this requirement, Cal State LA has contracted with Wells Fargo Student Health Insurance that meets the above policy conditions.  The registration form, with its applicable fees and mailing instructions, is available at: www.calstatela.edu/international/health-insurance