J-1 Student Interns

NOTE: The J-1 Student Intern category is NOT the same as existing J-1 Students or J-1 Scholars categories.

This program is designed to:

  • Provide an opportunity for eligible international students to pursue a structured and guided internship program in his/her specific academic field. 

  • Fulfill the educational objectives for the prospective J-1 Student Intern’s current degree program at his/her home institution overseas.

  • Increase mutual understanding between the people of the US and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges. (according to the US Department of State (DOS)

ISSS oversees and manages Penn's J-1 Exchange Visitor Program.  Should you have questions, contact ISSS.


To guide you through the J-1 Student Intern Program this page is separated into 3 sections:

  1. Review the Eligibility & Program Details

  2. Prepare for the Application Procedures

  3. Understand how to Maintain Valid Status

Beyond these 3 steps you can find important information regarding J-2 Dependents


Eligibility & Program Details

  • The J-1 Student Internship must be carried out pursuant to an official Student Intern Placement Agreement. Click here for the agreement template created by the Office of General Counsel.

    • For Penn Division of Human Resources, contact Sharon Jacobs in HR Compensation

    • Agreement should be signed by a full-time Penn faculty & the prospective Student Intern’s overseas school administrator.

    • The template content should not be altered, except for blanks.

  • The prospective J-1 Student Intern must be currently enrolled and pursuing a degree (e.g. bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate) at an accredited post-secondary academic institution outside the US.  

  • The J-1 Student Intern category is not available to those who have graduated.

  • The prospective J-1 Student Intern must be in good academic standing with the post-secondary academic institution at which s/he current is enrolled.

  • The prospective J-1 Student Intern must return to his/her home institution outside the U.S. after the internship.

  • The prospective J-1 Student Intern has been accepted into an approved student internship program at Penn, rather than to engage in employment or provide services to Penn.

  • The prospective J-1 Student Intern has “verifiable English skills sufficient to function on a day-to-day basis” at Penn.  The internship supervisor must verify the student’s English proficiency through an interview (via Skype or phone), by a recognized English language test, or by signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school.

  • The J-1 Student Intern may participate in a student internship program for up to 12 months for each degree level.  Extensions beyond 12 months are not possible.  The internship must be full time -- a minimum of 32 hours per week.

  • The J-1 Student Intern activities must occur only on the Penn premises (i.e. Penn's Philadelphia campus and 12 schools only).

  • The hosting department should have plans in place for the J-1 Student Intern to participate in American cultural activities as required by the Department of State.

  • The J-1 Student Intern may participate in a student internship program for up to 12 months for each degree level. 

  • Extensions beyond 12 months are not possible.

  • The internship must be a minimum of 32 hours per week.

  • The internship at Penn must fulfill the educational objectives for the J-1 Student Intern’s current degree program at his/her home institution overseas.

  • The internship must expose the J-1 Student Intern to American techniques, methodologies, and technology, expand upon the participant's existing knowledge and skills, and not duplicate the J-1 Student Intern's prior experience. All internship tasks assigned must be necessary for the completion of the student internship program.

  • J-1 Student Intern’s program activities will be strictly limited to the activities outlined on the Student Intern’s DS-7002 T/IPP (see information below).

  • The J-1 Student Intern activities must occur on the Penn premises (i.e. Penn's Philadelphia campus, and not outside the Penn’s campus).

  • The J-1 Student Intern should not accept any additional employment as the internship at Penn is full time. 

  • The internship tasks may consist of no more than 20 percent clerical work.

  • Internships cannot place a J-1 Student Intern in the following positions:

    • Unskilled or casual labor

    • Child care or elder care

    • Aviation

    • Clinical positions or engaging in any other kind of work that involves patient care or contact (not even animals), including any work that would require student interns to provide therapy, medication, or other clinical or medical care

      • also including sports or physical therapy, psychological counseling, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, social work, speech therapy, or early childhood education

    • Any position, occupation, or business that could bring Penn or the U.S. Department of State into notoriety or disrepute

  • For the 2018-2019 academic year, a minimum of $27,180 per year ($2,265/month) will be required to support a J-1 Scholar at Penn.  

  • Any J-2 dependents ($6,000 per dependent) for the entire stay in the U.S. including requisite health insurance cost.

  • The J-1 Student Intern may participate in the internship with or without wages, or other compensation.

  • If self-funded, the J-1 Student Intern must have adequate funding to support him/herself.

  • The J-1 Student Intern should not accept any additional employment as the internship at Penn is full time.

The internship:

  • Cannot serve to fill a labor need.

  • Must exist solely to assist the Student Intern in achieving the objectives.

  • Must consist of work-based learning, rather than ordinary employment or unskilled labor.

  • Cannot displace American workers, including full or part-time, temporary or permanent.

  • Must meet all requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.

  • Must not involve in any way a staffing/employment agency.


Application & Process Guidelines

  • 3-4 months (but no later than 6 weeks) in advance of start date - Begin plans to invite a J-1 Student Intern. Allows time for: data collection, document preparation, mailing the immigration documents, & overseas Entry Visa processing.  

  • 3-4 weeks - For ISSS: to perform case analysis, draft Form DS-7002 for the faculty mentor and the J-1 Student Intern (Form DS-2019 issuance timing is dependent upon when a fully signed, original DS-7002 is returned to ISSS)

  • In some cases, J-1 Student Interns may experience significant delays in Entry Visa processing at the US consulate abroad due to increased U.S. government security requirements.

  1. After the department submits a J-1 Student Intern eform request in iPenn, ISSS will draft Form DS-7002 based on the Student Intern Placement Agreement and the eforms.

  2. ISSS will email Form DS-7002 to the J-1 Student Intern and the hosting department to review the content.

  3. The J-1 Student Intern should print Form DS-7002 to sign in blue ink.  Then, s/he express-mail the original DS-7002 (with original signature) to the Penn faculty mentor.

    • The J-1 Student Intern should email a copy of the signed DS-7002 to ISSS so that ISSS could draft Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for J-1 Status) while waiting for the original DS-7002.

  4. Upon receipt of the original DS-7002 signed by the J-1 Student Intern, the Penn faculty mentor will sign the original DS-7002 in blue ink.

  5. The hosting department should return the original, signed DS-7002 to ISSS for Form DS-2019 issuance.

  6. The original DS-7002 with all three original signatures will be given to the hosting department along with Form DS-2019 and the cover letter.  Both DS-7002 and DS-2019 are required for the Entry Visa interview abroad.

    • Canadian citizens are exempt from the Entry Visa requirement; however, must present both DS-7002 and DS-2019 at the port of entry into the U.S.

NOTE:  Each signatory must keep a copy of the Form DS-7002.

  • After Form DS-2019 has been issued, a J-1 Student Intern must pay the SEVIS fee to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

  • Remember to print out proof that they have paid this SEVIS fee prior to visiting a US consulate to apply for their Entry Visa to enter the U.S.  

  • Citizens of Canada and Bermuda do not need Entry Visas to enter the US, but they must have proof of the SEVIS fee payment when they enter the US in J-1 status for the first time.   

  • For more information, visit the SEVIS Fee website by US Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE).


Maintenance of J-1 Student Intern Status

The J-1 Student Intern must take care during his/her stay in the US to maintain lawful J-1 status; failure to do so may have serious short-term and long-term consequences.

Here are some simple steps the J-1 Student Intern can take to ensure that their stay in the US remains valid:

  • Following their initial entry to the US, he/she must attend immigration check-in and orientation at ISSS within 20 calendar days of the program start date on their DS-2019.  Failure to attend orientation within 20 calendar days will cause the Student Intern’s J-1 program to be automatically terminated, jeopardizing their legal status in the US.  Please notify ISSS via email if the J-1 Student Intern plans to arrive later than expected so that ISSS may defer the program start date on the DS-2019 to avoid SEVIS auto-termination. 

  • Be aware of the DS-2019 expiration date.  This is not the same as the US Entry Visa expiration date.  If the J-1 Student Intern’s appointment at Penn is being extended (up to 12 months total), the hosting department must contact ISSS to have the DS-2019 form extended at least six weeks prior to the current DS-2019 end date.

  • Keep the passport valid.  Passports can be renewed by the J-1 Student Intern’s home country consulate in New York or Philadelphia or by the embassy in Washington, DC.  The DOS maintains a complete list of Foreign Embassies in the U.S.

  • Make sure the J-1 I-94 is always marked “J-1” and “D/S.”  It is much harder to correct errors once you leave the immigration inspection site (e.g. airport).  Should the I-94 contain any errors by an immigration officer, immediately meet with an ISSS advisor.

  • Do not accept unauthorized employment.  The only activity the J-1 Student Intern is permitted to do is the one described on the DS-2019 at the pre-determined site(s) of activity in SEVIS. If you are unclear about the approved activity and site(s) of J-1 activity, contact ISSS.  The J-1 Student Intern should not accept any additional employment.

  • Comply with federal health insurance requirements (see section below for details) for J-1 Student Intern and their families. Willful disregard of these requirements will result in termination of the J-1 program and his/her legal J-1 status in the U.S.

  • Report any address change to ISSS.  The J-1 Student Interns are required to report change of address to the Department of Homeland Security within 10 days of moving; however, since the J-1 Student Interns are entered into the SEVIS system, he/she should inform the address change to ISSS to update it in SEVIS.

All J-1 and J-2 status holders must carry adequate health insurance coverage, as mandated by the U.S. Department of State (DOS).

Each J-1 Student Intern must secure insurance coverage for him/herself and dependents. if any, for the duration of the J-1 Student Intern program. 

Please note that the amount of insurance coverage required will increase significantly.

Insurance coverage must meet the following criteria:

  • Medical coverage of at least $100,000 per accident or illness.

  • Medical evacuation must be covered in the amount of at least $50,000.

  • Repatriation must be covered in the amount of at least $25,000.

  • The deductible must not exceed $500 per accident or illness.

  • Any coinsurance requirement cannot exceed 25%

  • The carrier must be at least A- rated or backed by the full faith and credit of the Exchange Visitor’s home government.

  •  For J-1 Visiting Scholars who will be in the US for longer than 12 months, pre-existing conditions must be a covered benefit, with the waiting period for coverage no longer than 12 months.  If the insurance policy has the pre-existing conditions benefit as a set amount, benefit coverage must be the same as illness coverage.  

Individuals who are Resident Aliens for tax purposes are subject to the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act.  For more info, please see:  www.nafsa.org/aca.

Please note that willful failure to comply with these insurance requirements will result in termination of the Exchange Visitor's program.

  • The internship supervisor and the J-1 Student Intern must complete the J-1 Student Intern Evaluation Form.

  • For internships lasting less than 6 months, one final evaluation is required.

  • For internships lasting more than 6 months, two evaluations are required

    • A midpoint evaluation

    • A final evaluation

  • All evaluations must be sent to ISSS within 5 business days of the end date of the J-1 Student Intern's program at Penn.

  • If a Penn department violates the J-1 Student Intern evaluation requirements, the department will be barred from hosting any J-1 Student Interns for 12 months. 

  • J-1 Student Interns are afforded a 30-day grace period to leave the US from the program end date or the DS-2019 end date, whichever is earlier. 

  • Please advise that the J-1/J-2 may not leave the US during the grace period and re-enter as J-1/J-2 using Form DS-2019. 

  • The grace period cannot be used to work in the US.


J-2 Dependent Status for Spouse and Children

Your spouse and unmarried minor children (under 21 years of age) are eligible for J-2 dependent status. To learn more about the procedures for J-2 Dependents, please see our J-2 Dependents page.

Learn more about J-2 Dependents