DS2019 FAQs

1) Do I apply as an "Intern" or a "Trainee"?
Apply as an "Intern" if you are foreign national who (1) is currently enrolled in and pursuing studies at a degree-or certificate-granting post-secondary academic institution or (2) graduated from such an institution no more than 12 months prior to the program begin date, and intend to enter the United States to participate in a structured and guided work-based internship program in your specific academic field.

Apply as a "Trainee" if you are a foreign national who has either: (1) A degree or professional certificate from a foreign post-secondary academic institution and at least one year of prior related work experience in your occupational field acquired outside the United States, or (2) Five years of work experience outside the United States in your occupational field, and intend to enter the United States to participate in a structured and guided work-based training program in your specific occupational field.

2) Why do I need a visa sponsor and the DS2019 form?
Only U.S. Department of State-designated sponsors like the Interswop partner organizations are authorized to issue and send to you the Certificate of Eligibility, the DS2019 form. You need this form in order to apply for the J-1 visa, which allows you to be a trainee/intern in the USA.
Sponsors help ensure that your prospective host company's training or internship program matches your education and experience and complies with U.S. Department of State regulations. Sponsors also check whether you are qualified for a training/internship on the J-1 Visa, monitor your program, and provide you with important orientation materials as well as contracts between you, your host company, and the sponsor.

3) How long does it take to get the DS-2019 form and then the J-1 Visa?
The total time required to process your DS-2019 form sponsorship application depends on how quickly you and your host company provide Interswop´s partner with all necessary materials and information.
It lasts at least about 4 weeks to process your application and to issue the DS-2019 form and to send the DS-2019 form to your home country by FedEx or UPS or other postal mail service.
You should arrange your personal interview date at the US consulate or embassy in your home country by time (up to 4-6 weeks in advance).
Once you receive the necessary documents (DS-2019 form and DS-7002 form), you will need to apply for the J-1 Visa in-person at a U.S. consulate or embassy in your home country. This process may take anywhere from a couple of days (if you can apply in person) to four or more weeks, depending on the specific consulate or embassy where you apply.
We recommend you submit to Interswop your application for DS-2019 form sponsorship well in advance of the desired start date of your training to avoid possible delays. Please remember that securing sponsorship for the J-1 Visa does not guarantee that you will actually be granted the J-1 Visa by a U.S. consulate or embassy.
You should not book your flight to the U.S. before getting back your passport from the U.S. consulate or embassy with the granted J-1 Visa.

4) What is "SEVIS?"
The Department of State introduced the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) in an effort to improve the tracking of J and F Visa holders during their stay in the U.S. When Interswop´s partner approves sponsorship for you, the partner will issue to you the DS-2019 Form by registering you in SEVIS.
When you submit your J Visa application to a U.S. consulate or embassy, the consular officer handling your application will have access to the data that Interswop´s partner entered into SEVIS.
Whenever there is a change in your U.S. contact information or in your program or visa status (e.g. when Interswop´s partner approves a program extension or when you finish your program early), Interswop´s partner updates your SEVIS record. If you are terminated from the J Program, your SEVIS record will reflect this and may have a negative impact on future visa applications.
To maintain your visa status and SEVIS record, it is very important that you inform Interswop´s partner in advance of any potential changes to your original program as well as your and your supervisor’s U.S. contact information.

5) I am currently doing Optional Practical Training (OPT) on the F-1 Student Visa. Can I apply for the J-1 Trainee/Intern Visa?
Yes, but only if you otherwise comply with Department of State regulations and definitions regarding Trainees and Interns (Please see FAQ #1 above.).

6) In which subject fields does Interswop´s partner sponsor trainees/interns on the J-1 Visa Program?
Click here for detailed information about the subject fields in which Interswop´s partner sponsors trainees/interns on the J-1 Visa Program.
Detailed list of sponsored fields and which fields are not sponsored

7) What are the application requirements?
To be eligible for Interswop´s partner Sponsorship on the J-1 Trainee/Intern Visa, you need to:
  • Have secured a training or internship position with an organization or company in the USA.
  • Have qualifications for Training or Internship according to FAQ #1 above regarding university level education and previous work experience in a field directly related to the proposed program.
  • Know English well enough to perform successfully in the proposed training/internship position.
  • Plan to leave the U.S. within 30 days after the completion of your training/internship.

Your Host Organization / Host Company needs to:
  • Offer to you internship for up to 12 months or training for up to 18 months in one of the following subject fields: Information, Media, Communications, Management, Business, Commerce, Finance, Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, Caring of or treating animals, the Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics, Industrial Occupations, Public Administration or Law. Click here for more information about the subject fields Interswop´s partner sponsors.
  • Provide you with a structured training/internship program and "Training/Internship Placement Plan," 'TIPP' DS-7002 form, that must be approved by Interswop´s partner and be suitable to your qualifications and background. (You are required to submit the TIPP DS-7002 to the US consulate or embassy with your DS-2019 form at the time of your in-person visa appointment.)
  • Ensure that you are engaged in training/internship activities and not in work that a part-time or full-time staff member of the organization would otherwise be responsible for. As a J-1 Trainee/Intern you are not allowed to make final decisions about, or assume full responsibility for major tasks, assignments or projects. However, you may assist in such matters since on-the-job participation is encouraged as an important learning tool.

8) Do I really have to apply for the J-1 Visa in my home country?
You can apply for the J-1 Visa only at a U.S. consulate or embassy outside the U.S. If you have secured documents for Interswop´s partner sponsorship for the J-1 Visa but are unable or unwilling to apply for your visa in your home country, you may be able to do so in another (third) country. For example, if you are already in the U.S., you may apply for the J-1 Visa at a U.S. consulate in Canada. However, Interswop´s partner discourages visa applications in third countries since your chances of obtaining the J-1 Visa can be considerably lower there (and consular policy on such applications may change without notification). You should make every effort to plan to apply in your home country for your visa.

9) How long can my training or internship last?
Training on the J-1 Visa Program may last between 3 weeks and 18 months.
Internships are limited to 12 months.

10) Can Interswop find a training/internship position for me in the U.S.?
Yes, if you are German, Swiss or Austrian and if you like to participate in our full service internship placement package. Please find information at: praktikum/bezahltes-praktikum-in-den-usa
11) Can I bring my wife, husband and/or children?
Your spouse and/or children should be able to obtain the J-2 Visa to accompany you to the U.S. or join you later. Each dependent (spouse and/or unmarried child under the age of 21) wishing to enter the U.S. together with you must apply for Interswop´s partner sponsorship for the J-2 Visa at the same time you are submitting to us your application for Interswop´s partner sponsorship for the J-1 Visa. If a dependent wishes to join you in the U.S. later, they may apply for Interswop´s partner sponsorship separately. The application fee is 400 U.S. dollars for the first dependent and 200 U.S. dollars for each additional dependent. Please contact us about discounts for families with small children.
You and your dependents must bring sufficient funds to cover all living expenses in the U.S., pay for round-trip air travel, and purchase adequate health insurance, both for yourself and your spouse and/or children. Interswop´s partner -sponsored dependents on the J-2 Visa are not allowed to accept any employment while in the U.S. (unless under exceptional circumstances).
Please note that securing sponsorship for a J-1 or J-2 Visa does not guarantee that you or your dependents willactually be granted the J-1 or J-2 Visa by a U.S. embassy or consulate.

12) Can I extend my training/internship?
If your original training program lasts less than 18 months and if your host organization supports your request for additional training, it may be possible to extend your program up to a maximum program duration of 18 months.
If your original internship program lasts less than 12 months and if your host organization supports your request for additional intern activities, it may be possible to extend your program up to a maximum program duration of 12 months.

Extension fees:
1-3 months extension: US$ 350
4-6 months extension: US$ 450
7-12 months extension: US$ 550

Whether training or interning, you must be currently "in status" on your J-1 Visa and Interswop´s partner must receive all necessary documentation and application forms at least 30 days prior to the program end date indicated on the Training/Internship Placement Plan 'TIPP' and contracts. If an application is received less than 30 days prior to the program end date and Interswop´s partner decides to consider the request, a US$200 nonrefundable late fee must be paid to Interswop´s partner in addition to the US$350/450/550 extension application fee. Please see Interswop´s partner fee and refund policy for details. To request an extension of training/internship, please contact Interswop´s partner, so Interswop´s partner can send the necessary application materials to you and your host organization.
If your spouse and/or children are with you in the U.S. on the J-2 Visa, they may request an extension of their stay at the time you submit your application to Interswop´s partner. If all extensions are approved by Interswop´s partner, your dependents may remain with you for the period you are allowed to stay in the U.S.
Travel outside the U.S. is restricted during your program extension, unless you obtain a new J-1 Visa that is valid for the appropriate dates and duration. You must contact the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to check whether your travel plans comply with current laws, and regulations.
Please note that there is never a guarantee that Interswop´s partner will accept any application for training/internship extension. If Interswop´s partner denies an application, the denial is final and Interswop´s partner is not required to provide explanations.
We strongly suggest you and your prospective U.S. host organization make a realistic estimate of how much time will be necessary to complete all aspects of the training/internship program in advance of submitting the initial program proposal to Interswop´s partner.

13) Can I apply for a second J-1 Trainee/Intern Visa?
Yes. Applicants who have previously participated in a traineeship may be eligible to participate in additional training and internship programs under the following conditions:
  • Additional training and internship programs must address the development of more advanced skills or a different field of expertise.
  • Interns may participate in additional internship programs as long as they maintain student status or begin a new internship program within 12 months of graduation.
  • Trainees may participate in additional training programs after a period of at least two years residency outside the U.S. following their previous training program.
  • Participants who have successfully completed internship programs may participate in a subsequent program after a two-year residency outside the U.S.

14) What is the refund if I do not get my J-1 Visa?

Visa Denials by Embassy or Consulate:

  • Refund of full application fee less $300 if the following conditions are met: 1) The Visa Sponsor has approved sponsorship for the Applicant; 2) the Applicant is denied the J-1 Visa by a U.S. consulate or embassy with jurisdiction over the Applicant's place of permanent residence; 3) the Applicant has not violated U.S. law and/or visa regulations; 4) The Visa Sponsor receives the original DS-2019 Form that was issued to the Applicant; 5) the refund request is received no more than 6 months after the scheduled beginning of the J-1 training/internship program.

Cancellations of Application by the Visa Sponsor or Applicant:

  • Refund of full application fee less $50 if the application is withdrawn or rejected before the Visa Sponsor has received any materials in its support or discussed specifics of the application with any involved party.

  • Refund of full application fee less $300 if the application is withdrawn or rejected after the Visa Sponsor has provided written feedback about any submitted application materials.

  • If the Applicant cancels his/her J-1 Program at any time for any reason after arriving in the USA, no refund shall be provided.

*Any money transfer fees (such as credit card, bank wiring and bank check fees) shall be deducted from the refund amount.

15) What should I do if there are problems during my training/internship?
As your J-1 Visa sponsor, Interswop´s partner acts as your advisor and liaison between you and your host organization. You are required to notify us immediately if you encounter any problems during your program. When informed early, Interswop´s partner has been very successful in helping participants and host organization to resolve most problems and misunderstandings.

16) Can I work and/or accept another job outside my training/internship?
No. As a J-1 Trainee/Intern you are strictly prohibited from accepting any employment in the U.S outside your training/internship and/or performing any work in the U.S. If you are found to engage in unauthorized employment and/or work, you are in violation of federal regulations, subject to immediate termination from the J-1 Visa Program, and may face deportation and/or other penalties through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

17) Do I need to have health insurance for my training/internship?
All trainees and their dependents on the J Visa must be covered by a health insurance plan that satisfies the insurance requirements of the U.S. Department of State for the entire duration of the training program. Before Interswop´s partner can approve sponsorship, you and your dependents must show evidence of such coverage or purchase insurance through Interswop or Interswop´s partner (see details in the next item).
To satisfy the requirements of the Department of State, your and your dependents' insurance coverage must:
  • Provide, at a minimum, up to 10,000 U.S. dollars in case of medical evacuation.
  • Provide, at a minimum, up to 7,500 U.S. dollars in case of repatriation of remains.
  • Provide, at a minimum,
  • EITHER: up to 50,000 U.S. dollars of regular and customary medical expenses per accident or sickness
  • OR: 75% of regular and customary medical expenses per accident or sickness
  • Have a deductible that does not exceed 500 U.S. dollars per accident or sickness.

18) Can I buy health insurance through Interswop? Yes, you can!
If you need general health insurance coverage, you can purchase the insurance package from Interswop´s partner at only Euro 1,60 per day.
This plan:
  • Provides ulimited regular and customary medical expenses per accident or sickness.
  • Has no deductible amounts per accident or sickness or Emergency Room Visit
  • Interswop recommends that you purchase health insurance for the period you spend in the U.S. before your J-1 training begins as well as for the "grace period" (the 30 day period which you may spend in the U.S. after you have completed your J-1 training program.)
Please find all information on the offered insurance here.
19) How will I pay for my living expenses during my program?
Many host organizations provide their trainees/interns with a monthly stipend that helps them pay for rent and other living expenses. However, regardless of whether your training/internship is paid or unpaid, it will be your responsibility to have sufficient funds to cover all living expenses in the U.S., pay for round-trip air travel, and purchase adequate health insurance, both for yourself and your dependents (any spouse and/or unmarried children under the age of 21 who entered the U.S. on the J-2 Visa to stay with you).
As a Interswop´s partner-sponsored J-1 Trainee/Intern you are required to come to the U.S. with a minimum of 1,200 U.S. dollars (plus 600 U.S. dollars for each dependent accompanying you) in order to be able to pay for living expenses during the first month of your stay (you may not receive the first paycheck from your host organization until five or more weeks after the beginning of your training/internship). In addition, you must ensure that you have at least 900 U.S. dollars for yourself and 450 U.S. dollars per dependent per month to cover basic living expenses for the remainder of your and your dependents' stay in the U.S. Please note, however, that your actual living expenses may be significantly higher, depending on your life style, the location of your training/internship, and other factors.
When you apply for your visa, you will be required to show to the U.S. consular officer that you have available personal funds at least in the amount stated in item 5.g. on the DS-2019 Form issued by Interswop´s partner. 20) How long may I stay in the U.S. after I finish my program?
After you have successfully completed your J-1 program, you are permitted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to remain in the U.S. for another 30 days. During this 30-day period, which is often referred to as the "Grace Period," you are under the jurisdiction of the USCIS and no longer entitled to train or intern at an organization. The USCIS grants this period to allow you to settle your affairs and to prepare your return to your home country. You may neither continue nor complete your program, nor work during this 30-day period. Although you may travel inside the United States, we recommended that you do not travel beyond the borders of the U.S. as you will not be permitted re-entry on your expired J-1 Training/Internship visa. For your own safety we also suggest you purchase health insurance for this period either independently or through Interswop.