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J1 Visa - Frequently Asked Questions

USA Internship Information

Intrax J1 Visa Service Information

Travel Information


USA Internship Information

How do I find an internship in the USA?

As with any job search, your chances of finding your perfect internship will be greatly improved by pursuing as many different options as possible. We recommend searching online job announcements, making direct contact with companies, and networking with personal and professional contacts in the USA. If you are looking for a full placement service, Intrax offers business and hospitality internship placements. For more information please visit our headquarters' website or

What is a host company?

A host company is a company who will host you for your internship or training program. The host company will be your employer in the USA during the internship or training.

What is the Employer Identification Number?

The host company must have an Employer Identification Number. An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, and is used to identify a business entity.

What is the Workers’ Compensation Policy?

The host company must have workers compensation insurance
Workers compensation insurance covers workers injured on the job, whether they're hurt on the workplace premises or elsewhere, or in auto accidents while on business. It also covers work-related illnesses.

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I've already completed an internship in the USA. Can I participate in another?

You can apply for another internship. However, your Internship Plan DS-7002 needs to prove that you are not duplicating your first internship. You need to spend two terms /semesters outside the U.S.A. in between the two internships.

You can apply for another training after having completed an internship or training program. However, your Training Plan DS-7002 needs to prove that you are not duplicating your previous training. Also, you need towait two years before applying for a new training program.

Can I change my visa status in the USA? F1 to J1 and vice versa?

Intrax does not administer visa status changes. The J-1 program is a cultural exchange program and all J-1 participants are expected to spend time in the U.S. and then go back to their home country and be ambassadors to spread positive image of the U.S. in their home country by sharing their experience and their newly gained skills. We strongly advise participants to apply for a J1-visa in their home country rather than attempting change of non-immigrant status in the U.S. or going to the US Embassy in Canada or Mexico.

Can I change the dates for my internship after I have applied for the J1 visa service?

Yes, you can change the dates but need to inform us so that we can make the changes in SEVIS (Student Exchange Visitor Information System) accordingly.

Do I need to pay taxes for my paid internship?

Yes, if you are getting paid for your internship, you will need to pay taxes. However, you can file your tax return at the end of your stay in order to get some money back. For more information please check the Intrax J1 visa service handbook.

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How do I find housing?

Finding an affordable place to live is one of the biggest challenges for all participants on the Internship Program. As a participant of the Internship Program you are required to secure safe and suitable housing before you depart for the USA.

The Host Company may have some housing options to suggest, otherwise use your resources: using the Internet, asking for suggestions from your Host Company and consulting maps of the area, are all important steps when searching for housing. Once you have found potential housing you must consider the following questions:

  • Can I afford it?
  • Is there convenient transportation to and from my Host Company?
  • Is it a safe environment to live/travel in late at night?
  • Will it be convenient to get to work?

Remember, although it is not required that you have housing organized for your entire Internship period before you leave your home country, you are REQUIRED to have at least temporary housing arranged.
Make sure that you pay all required housing deposits and complete all required forms and agreements by the specified deadlines to ensure that your housing is secured for your arrival.
Interesting Websites to consult:

How do I apply for a Social Security Number?

To apply for a Social Security Card, take the following items and visit your local Social Security office:

  • Social Security Application
  • DS-2019 form
  • Passport with your J1 Visa
  • I-94 Number
  • A copy of your Training Plan
  • Additional identification documents if your passport is less than one year old

To find the Social Security office nearest you:

  • Look in the telephone book under "Social Security Administration"
  • Visit
  • Call 1-800-772-1213 (Toll free)

If I already have a Social Security number from a previous program can I still use that number?

Yes. If you have participated in an exchange program before, the Social Security number you were issued during that program will remain valid throughout your life. Therefore, you do not have to reapply for a new card.
If the Social Security Administration is NOT able to verify your status, make sure that you request an official certificate/receipt or an official letter from the Social Security Administration confirming your attempt to apply for a Social Security Card. This notice will serve as proof that you attempted to apply for your Social Security card and should be shown to your employer before beginning work.

Do I need to apply for a Social Security Card even if my internship is unpaid?

If you are not receiving an internship stipend, you are not required to apply for a Social Security Card. Please note, however, that a Social Security Card can be very useful even if your internship is unpaid, as the card and number function as a means of personal identification, which might help you with opening a bank account, signing a cell phone contract etc.

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Intrax J1 Visa Service Information

Can I apply for a J1 internship Visa if I have not yet completed one year of university/college education?

No, unfortunately you need to wait until you have completed your first year.

How far in advance should I apply for the Intrax J1 Visa Service?

You can apply as soon as you have found a host company and as soon as you can name us your supervisor - but not more than 6 months before your internship start date. Make sure you leave enough time for you and your host company to send us the complete documents. Sometimes, we need to ask host companies to re-send documents because of missing signatures, erroneous training plans, readability of documents and so forth. You should leave enough time for human errors.   

Is it true that my passport needs to be valid for six months after the end of my program in the US?

Generally, passports of international applicants who wish to do a program in the US need to be valid for six more months after the end of their program.
However, there are quite a few exceptions to this rule, the so-called “six-month club” –- This document on the CBP website gives a good overview of the countries where passports only need to be valid for the time participants stay in the US (including a possible grace period, of course).
Some of the US embassy webpages also mention this topic in their FAQ section.

What is the 5:1 ratio? When does it apply?

The 5:1 ratio applies, if a host company is hosting more than one intern or trainee simultaneously. In case the ratio applies, your company will need to prove they have 5 full-time employees for every intern or trainee. In order to find out whether the ratio applies, we ask host companies in our first email to inform us about the number of international interns or trainees that they are currently hosting. The 5:1 ratio is an Intrax policy designed to ensure compliance with J1 visa regulations, which require participants to be properly supervised.

How do I create an electronic signature?

To create an electronic signature, you will need to have access to a scanner. Then, you should follow these steps:

  1. Sign your name on a blank sheet of paper
  2. Scan your signature using a scanner
  3. Save the scanned signature as an image file (jpg or gif) on your computer
  4. Insert the signature file into your document by clicking Insert > Picture > From File from the menu at the top of your document
  5. Browse to the location of the saved signature file on your computer
  6. Click Insert
  7. Now you can drag the signature to the space on your document where the signature is required

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Why does Intrax sometimes need to conduct an on-site visit?

This is a Department of State requirement concerning host companies that do not have an annual revenue of $3 million or a minimum of 25 employees. An Intrax representative needs to ensure that the host company can provide a true learning experience regarding American business methods.

(I am currently living in a foreign country.) Is it possible to schedule an embassy appointment outside of my home country?

Yes, it is possible to apply for the J1 visa at an embassy outside of your home country. However, we would recommend you to contact the embassy where you would like to apply in order to find out whether you will need to submit additional documents. Still, please note that chances for a successful visa application are best in your home country.

How do I use the medical insurance?

If you need to see a doctor but it is not an emergency you should:

  • Call your insurance company for a recommendation of a medical facility nearest you
  • Receive Treatment
  • Pay Medical Bill (In many cases you will have to pay the doctor first)
  • Save receipts and records
  • File a claim with your insurance company
  • Wait for the reimbursement decision

If you are going to see a doctor for a non-emergency medical problem, check your health insurance policy to make sure that type of treatment is covered. For example, most international health insurance policies limit coverage for pre-existing medical conditions and do not cover things such as general check up's or sexually transmitted diseases. Check the list of exclusions in your DS-2019 package before arriving in the USA.

If you need emergency care, go immediately to the nearest emergency room or urgent care center. If you are unable to take yourself to the emergency room or urgent care center, dial 911 immediately for assistance.

Extending your Medical Insurance Coverage
As a participant on the Internship Program it is your responsibility to maintain your health insurance for the duration of your stay. Many participants choose to stay an additional 30 days in the U.S. after they have finished training. For this reason an additional four weeks of medical insurance can be purchased from Intrax. This purchase can be made by calling Intrax during normal office hours and must be done before the program end date listed on your DS-2019 form.

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Travel Information

When can I book my flight?

While we realize that airfare is best when you book your flight well in advance, here is a U.S. embassy warning against early booking: 
The Consulate General cannot be held responsible for extra costs due to changing tickets or rebooking flights if delivery is delayed. We therefore strongly urge you not to purchase tickets until you have received your visa and passport in the mail.“

Do I need to register myself in ESTA before my flight?


When can I enter the USA and when do I need to leave the country?

Officially, you can enter the USA up to 30 days before your internship start date and you need to leave 30 days after your internship ends (grace period). If you or your host company end your internship early, the grace period lasts 15 days.
Please note that your medical insurance will cover you only two weeks before your internship starts. For the grace period after your internship has ended, you will need to purchase additional insurance coverage.

What documents do I need in order to enter the USA?

Upon entering the USA foreign visitors have their two index fingers scanned and a digital photo taken to match and authenticate their travel documents at the port of entry. Also, upon exiting from the USA visitors must "check out" at one of the US Visit kiosks located in the international terminal.
When you go through USA Immigration you will have to provide the following documents to the Immigration Officer:

  • DS-2019 form - which will be stamped
  • Passport - which will be stamped
  • (I-94 - As of May 2013, you will no longer need to complete this form.)

Make sure that you receive all both documents back before you proceed to U.S. Customs.

Am I allowed to travel outside the USA during my internship?

If you would like to travel outside the U.S., you need to contact Intrax San Francisco. You will then be asked to complete a Travel Validation Request Form and send it to our San Francisco office together with your DS-2019, so that Intrax can make a note on the form that will allow you to re-enter the U.S.
You do not need a Travel Validation Request for trips shorter than 30 day to Canada, Mexico or the adjacent islands when the purpose of this trip is tourism.

More Questions about our J1 visa service?

Help us add questions to the list! Please e-mail your questions to our J1 Visa Service Team.

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