Become an Intern or Trainee

  • Experience life in the U.S. as you develop professionally.

  • Overview

    Our Career Advancement Program offers international university students, recent graduates and young professionals the opportunity to Intern or Train with a U.S. business.

    These structured and guided training programs offer the chance for cultural immersion in the U.S. and professional development in a specific academic or occupational field.

    The main purpose of this exchange visitor program is to foster global understanding through educational and cultural exchanges. All Interns and Trainees are expected to return to their home country upon completion of their program.

  • Eligibility

    Our Career Advancement Program works with applicants for both the Intern program and Trainee program. We carefully review each prospective Intern and Trainee on a case-by-case basis. Take a look below to learn more about eligibility for each program.

    Intern Eligibility
    • Currently enrolled in an accredited university or certificate program outside of the U.S. in their occupational field.

    OR

    • Graduated from an accredited university or certificate program outside of the U.S. in their occupational field no more than 12 months prior to their requested program start date.
    Trainee Eligibility
    • Graduated from an accredited university or certificate program outside of the U.S. in their occupational field more than 12 months before their requested program date AND has at least 1 year of related full-time work experience outside of the U.S.

    OR

    •  Has at least 5 years of related full-time work experience outside of the U.S.
  • Program Options

    We provide two (2) program options:

    Self-Placement (SP) program: Participants arrange their own Intern or Trainee placement with a U.S. business. Once a training/internship opportunity has been secured, we work with the participant to get their experience in the U.S. started.

    Full-Placement (FP) program: We assist in finding the placements for Intern and Trainee candidates.

    Intern and  Trainee positions are typically in the following occupational fields:

    • Business, Management, Commerce & Finance
    • Hospitality & Tourism (including culinary arts)
    • Arts & Culture
    • Information Media & Communications
    • Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing
    • Public Administration & Law
    • Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics & Industrial
  • Application Process

    We accept Intern and Trainee applications on a rolling basis. While the length of the application process can vary depending on program type and preparedness of the applicant, we work closely with our stakeholders to ensure timely and efficient application processing.

    We recommend applicants begin the process at least 2 months in advance of their desired start date. Our process includes the following steps:

    Eligibility Review

    We review the applicant for eligibility once the following required documents have been submitted.

    • CAP Resume form  – Completed by applicant
    • DS-7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP)  – Completed by host organization
    • Host organization documents:
      • Host organization Agreement
      • Workers Compensation policy
      • Photos of the workspace
    • If the applicant will apply for a J-2 dependent, please notify us at this time
    Greenheart Online Application

    When the applicant is approved for sponsorship, he/she will be granted access to a personal Greenheart Exchange Online (GEO) account. The applicant will be asked to complete:

    • The online application
    • The online Skype interview
    • The pre-arrival virtual orientation
    Training/Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP)

    We will work with appliants to ensure that a proposed Training/Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP) is in-line with our program requirements.

    The following should be taken into consideration as the T/IPP is developed:

    • The T/IPP is a legal U.S. Department of State form that outlines the specific bonafide, career development opportunity the host organization will provide to the prospective Intern or Trainee
    • The T/IPP acts as the primary agreement between Greenheart Exchange, the host organization, and the Intern or Trainee for the duration of the program
    • Greenheart Exchange must also review and approve any changes made to the T/IPP, and be notified of any deviations from the T/IPP while the Intern or Trainee is on program
    • The T/IPP must be tailored to the individual Intern or Trainee listed on the form and must align with their academic and/or professional background
    • The T/IPP must demonstrate a progression in the development of advanced skills by the Intern or Trainee
    • Entry-level activities are only appropriate in circumstances when they provide opportunities to improve or acquire new skills and knowledge. The T/IPP must clearly outline the purpose and the duration of time Interns and Trainees will engage in any entry-level opportunity
    • Entry-level activities (unskilled or casual labor) are inappropriate when these activities duplicate Intern’s or Trainee’s previous experiences or constitute a predominant portion of any T/IPP phase
    • A T/IPP comprised of unskilled or casual labor is not permitted
    • Host organizations should play an active role in completing the T/IPP form
    • Any staff at the host organization who will assist in overseeing the Intern or Trainee must be familiar with the T/IPP and have access to the form at all times

    We accept Intern and Trainee applications on a rolling basis. While the length of the application process can vary depending on program type and preparedness of the applicant, we work closely with our stakeholders to ensure timely and efficient application processing.

    Host Organization Verification

    While the applicant is working on their Greenheart Exchange Online (GEO) application, we will simultaneously verify the proposed host organization. The host organization verification process includes:

    • A host organization verification call
    • Vetting of host organization documents and a background check
    • A completion of a site visit (if required)

    We will carefully review each prospective host organization interested in hosting an Intern or Trainee. We hold the following requirements for host organizations:

    • Must be committed to fulfilling the DS-7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan for the full duration of the Intern or Trainee’s program
    • Must guarantee at least 32 hours of training experience per week
    • Must demonstrate sufficient qualified staff to provide constant supervision of the Intern or Trainee:
      • Host organizations with fewer than 5 full-time permanent, onsite employees will not be considered as a placement
    •  Must provide a suitable training location:
      • Training locations based in unsafe conditions, personal residences, warehouse environments, clinical settings, or requiring remote access will not be considered

    Visit this page for more information about our host organizations.

    DS-2019 Issuance

    Once the following required steps have been completed, the applicant’s DS-2019 form will be issued:

    • The applicant has been approved for sponsorship by Greenheart Exchange
    • The complete online application has been accepted by Greenheart Exchange
    • The program fees have been paid
    • The host organization has been approved by Greenheart Exchange
    • The applicant completes a Skype interview with Greenheart Exchange
    J-1 Visa Application

    Once the applicant receives the DS-2019 Form, he/she will be able to schedule their visa interview with the local U.S. Embassy.

    Don’t forget to let us know the date and the results of the visa interview!

    Arriving in the U.S.

    Upon successful receipt of a J-1 visa, the applicant will be able to schedule travel arrangements to the U.S. Be sure to let us know once a flight to the U.S. has been booked.

    Program Fees

    What is included in our program fee?

    • J-1 visa sponsorship (DS-2019 Form)
    • Pre-arrival Virtual Orientation
    • Health insurance within DS-2019 program dates
    • 24/7 in-country support from Greenheart Exchange
    • Cultural Resources provided by Greenheart Exchange
    • Intern/Trainee English Interview with Greenheart Exchange
    • Host organization phone screening to determine suitability
    • Assistance in developing DS-7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan

    What is not included:

    • Application processing and support
    • SEVIS fee for inclusion in the government database
    • Shipment of DS-2019 to home address
    • Expedited processing
    • Site visit to host organization, when required
    • Health insurance during 30 day grace period before and after DS-2019 program dates
    • Flights to and from the U.S.
    • In-country transportation
    • Housing in the U.S.
    • U.S. Embassy visa and DS-160 processing fee
    • Translation of documents
    J-2 Visa Application

     We are able to sponsor J-2 dependents for Interns and Trainees approved for sponsorship by Greenheart Exchange. A “dependent” includes the legal spouse and/or unmarried minor children (under age 21) of the approved Intern or Trainee.

    Sponsorship of a J-2 dependent with Greenheart Exchange includes the following documentation:

    • DS-2019 form for each dependent
    • Health insurance coverage

    Please disclose any interest in applying for a J-2 dependent as early in the Intern or Trainee application process as possible.

  • On the Program

    If you have received your J-1 visa from your local Embassy, it means that you are ready to start your journey as an Intern or Trainee in the U.S.

    Our team is happy to know that you have chosen Greenheart Exchange as your visa sponsor and we are here to assist you. This page contains important information for you while you are on your Intern or Trainee program.

    Before leaving for the U.S.

    Make sure that you:

    • Have contact information for your host organization
    • Know the address of where you will be staying
    • Plan how you will get to your host organization
    • Review your Greenheart Exchange program resources
    • Have our contact information:
      • Office Phone (Available 9:00 a.m. – 5:30p.m. CST, Monday- Friday):
        • 1-855-668-5536
      • Emergency Phone (Available 24/7):
        • 1-855-767-5645
      • Email: [email protected]
    Arriving in the U.S.
    Entering the U.S.
    To pass through customs at the airport you will need the following documents:

    • Valid passport with J-1 visa
    • Original, signed DS-2019 form
    • Signed DS-7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan (available on your Greenheart Exchange Online account)
    • For additional items please refer to U.S. Customs and Border Protection website

    SEVIS Validation

    Validate your Intern or Trainee program once you arrive in the U.S. Once your validation has been received by Greenheart Exchange, we will submit the validation to SEVIS.

    • Make sure to notify us in advance if you are scheduled to arrive in the U.S. more than 1 week after your DS-2019 start date
    • Once your program validation is successfully processed, your program will become active in your Greenheart Exchange Online (GEO) account and SEVIS

    Social Security Number

    Apply for your Social Security card once your program has been validated.

    • Be sure to wait until your program validation is successfully processed before you apply for your Social Security card
    • To apply, visit Social Security website and visit the nearest Social Security office
    On the Program
    • Monthly Check-ins: Complete a monthly check-in via your GEO account every 30 days. The purpose of the check-in is to keep us updated on the status of your health and safety, your program conditions, and your cultural activities
    • Mid-Point Evaluation: If your program is 6 months or longer, you and your supervisor are required to complete midpoint evaluations
    • HCC Health Insurance: We provide you with insurance coverage through HCC Medical Insurance Services. You will have insurance coverage for the dates listed on your DS-2019 form
    • International Travel: If you intend to leave the U.S. at any point during your Intern or Trainee program, you must notify us as soon as possible
    • Volunteering: Join the Greenheart Club to learn about volunteer opportunities
    Finishing the Program
    • Final Evaluation: You and your supervisor are required to complete a final evaluation
    • 30 day grace period: If your I-94 card does not have any limitations, you are allowed to stay in the U.S. to travel for up to 30 days after the end date indicated on your DS-2019 form
    • U.S. Tax Return:  You will be required to file a tax return for any wages received in the previous year. We can direct you to relevant resources to help you through this process
    Requirements to Contact Greenheart Exchange

    We are your main point of contact in the U.S. As your J-1 visa sponsor, we are responsible for your safety and well-being while you are on your program. You are required to notify us promptly of any situation that impacts your ability to participate in your Intern or Trainee program including, but not limited to:

    • You expect to arrive in the U.S. more than 1 week past your DS-2019 start date
    • You are concerned about your health, safety, or well-being
    • You intend to travel internationally while on your program
    • You are having issues processing your Social Security card application
    • You are having issues with your wages or taxes
    • You wish to leave, quit, or are fired from your host organization
    • Any changes that are made to your DS-7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP), including:
      • Your host organization changes locations
      • Your supervisor changes
      • You are training in areas not listed in your T/IPP or your T/IPP is not being followed
      • Your housing address, phone number, and/or phone number change
      • You are training less than 32 hours per week
    Prohibited Activities

    Interns and Trainees are prohibited from engaging in the following activities ( other restrictions may apply depending on individual program ):

    • Casual, manual, and unskilled labor
    • Unauthorized employment ( including second jobs) at any organization not listed on the DS-2019 form
    • All activities outlined in 22 C.F.R. Part 62 Appendix E 
    • Roles that fill a labor or employment need for the host organization
    • Roles that should be filled by a regular employee
    • Programs that do not meet FLSA requirements
    • Roles that receive commission based compensation
    • Activities that endanger the Intern or Trainee’s health, safety, or well-being
    • Activities that could bring the Exchange Visitor Program under notoriety or disrepute
    • Roles that involve child care, elder care, patient contact (including animals), or clinical activities
    • Roles that require more than 20% clerical work
    • For Trainees, roles that duplicate previous professional experience
    Important Resources
    • Check out your Greenheart Exchange Online (GEO) account. The Home Page and Resource Page of your GEO account have numerous resources to help you throughout your program
    • Review your Welcome Pack, provided with your DS-2019 shipment
    • Read your Intern/Trainee Handbook, available on your GEO account
  • Rules and Regulations

    At Greenheart Exchange, we strive to strengthen the quality and consistency of our program administration. The information on this page will provide you with up-to-date program regulations and rules that govern Greenheart Exchange’s Intern and Trainee programs. Please contact us directly with any questions, we are happy to assist in any way we can.

    Department of State Resources
    • J-1 Exchange Visitor Program Regulations: Regulations governing the Exchange Visitor Program are publicly available in the Code of Federal Register (22 C.F.R § 62). Specific Intern and Trainee program regulations can be found at 22 C.F.R § 62.22.
    • J-1 Exchange Visitor Program Welcome Brochure: The Department of State provides a Welcome Brochure to all Interns and Trainees.
    • J-1 Exchange Visitor Program Website: The Department of State’s official website for the Intern Program and the Trainee Program provide a variety of resources.
    • Guidance Directive: Department of State may issue Guidance Directives to J-1 visa sponsors at any time. All Guidance Directives are publicly available. The following Guidance Directives are of particular importance to the Intern and Trainee programs:
    Greenheart Exchange Notification Requirements
    Interns, Trainees, and host organizations are required to notify Greenheart Exchange of the following situations (other requirements may apply depending on individual program):
    • The Intern or Trainee will arrive in the U.S. more than 1 week past the DS-2019 start date.
    • There is any concern for the  Intern or Trainee’s health, safety, or well-being.
    • The Intern or Trainee is unable to actively train with the host organization on the DS-2019 form for any reason.
    • Any changes are made to your DS-7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP), including:
      • The host organization changes location
      • A supervisor changes
      • The Intern or Trainee is training in an area not listed in the T/IPP or the T/IPP is not being followed
      • The Intern or Trainee’s housing address and/or phone number change
      • The Intern or Trainee is training less than 32 hours per week
    • The Intern or Trainee is the victim of a crime or is accused of/arrested for the commission of a crime
    • The Intern or Trainee leaves, quits, or is fired from the host organization for any reason
    • The Intern or Trainee intends to travel internationally
    • The Intern or Trainee has issues processing a Social Security card application
    • The Intern or Trainee has issues with wages or taxes
    • The Intern or Trainee processes a change of status or adjustment of status
    • The Intern or Trainee fails to leave the U.S. by the end of the 30 day grace period
    Prohibited Program Activities

    Interns and Trainees on a J-1 visa are prohibited from engaging in the following activities (other restrictions may apply depending on individual program):

    • Including but not limited to, bussing/foodrunning, cleaning, valet, fast casual and counter services roles, and stocking/packing
    • Including but not limited to bartending (including barback), housekeepers and hotel cleaners, drivers, cashiers, service attendants, guards, stockroom/warehouse workers, and clerks
    • Casual, manual, and unskilled Labor
    • Unauthorized employment (including second jobs) at an organization not listed on the DS-2019 form
    • All activities outlined in 22 C.F.R. § 62 Appendix E
    • Roles that fill a labor or employment need for the host organization.
    • Roles that should be filled by a regular employee
    • Programs that do not meet FLSA requirements
    • Roles that receive commission based compensation
    • Activities that endanger the Intern or Trainee’s health, safety, or well-being
    • Activities that could bring the Exchange Visitor Program under notoriety or disrepute
    • Roles that involve child care, elder care, patient contact (including animals), or clinical activities
    • Roles that require more than 20% clerical work
    • For Trainees, roles that duplicate previous professional experience
    Exchange Visitor Rights

    All Exchange Visitors, including Interns and Trainees, are entitled to the same legal protections as U.S. residents and citizens. Please review the following resources regarding rights and protections of Interns and Trainees:

    I-9 Form – Employment Eligibility Verification
    U.S. Tax Withholdings

    For tax purposes, Interns and Trainees on the J-1 visa are required to be on regular payroll, must be paid as regular employees, and must complete Form W-4 at the start of their program. Interns and Trainees receiving a stipend are required to pay federal, state, and local (if applicable) income taxes. However, Interns and Trainees are exempt from paying FICA taxes (Social Security and Medicare) and FUTA taxes (Unemployment). Additional resources can be found online:

    Annual U.S. Tax Returns
    Host organizations must provide W-2 forms to Interns and Trainees in-line with Social Security Administration requirements. Interns and Trainees receiving a stipend are required to file an individual tax return in-line with Internal Revenue Service requirements. Additional resources can be found online:
    • Need more information? Contact Greenheart Exchange’s Career Advancement Program (CAP) at 855-668-5536 or [email protected]
  • FAQs

    Intern vs Trainee: What is the Difference?

    The Department of State regulations defines Intern and Trainee as the following:

    INTERN:

    A foreign national who is currently enrolled in and pursuing studies at a degree- or certificate-granting post-secondary academic institution outside the U.S. – OR – graduated from such an institution no more than 12 months prior to his/her program start date.

    Maximum program duration: 12 months

    TRAINEE:

    A foreign national who has a degree or professional certificate from a foreign post-secondary academic institution and at least one year of prior related work experience in his/her occupational field acquired outside the U.S. – OR – five years of work experience outside the U.S. in his/her occupational field.

    Maximum program duration: 18 months, except Hospitality and Agriculture training programs are limited to a maximum duration of 12 months.

    What are the program requirements?

    The following are requirements of the Intern or Trainee program within Greenheart Exchange’s Career Advancement Program.

    • A DS-2019 form is provided and completed by Greenheart Exchange.
    • A DS-7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP) is completed thoroughly. This form is to be signed by Greenheart Exchange, the host organization, and the Intern or Trainee. It must state specific goals and objectives of the training or internship program as well as detail the knowledge, skills or techniques to be learned by the Intern or Trainee during the course of their program.
    • Standard U.S. J-1 visa application forms, a valid passport, and required photographs.
    • Payment of the standard visa application and SEVIS fees.
    • High to fluent levels of English proficiency
    • Payment of Greenheart Exchange program fees.
    • Availability to attend a visa interview outside the U.S. or in their home country.
    When can I apply?

    Greenheart Exchange accepts applications on a rolling,  year-round basis. Applications should be submitted at least 2 months before the desired program start date in the U.S.

    Which occupational categories do you sponsor?

    We sponsor Interns and Trainees in the following occupational categories:

    • Arts & Culture
    • Business, Management, Finance & Commerce
    • Hospitality & Tourism
    • Information Media & Communication
    • Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing
    • Public Administration & Law
    • Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics & Industrial Occupations
    What is the maximum duration of the program?

    The maximum program duration for Interns is 12 months.

    The maximum program duration for Trainees is 18 months; however Hospitality & Tourism and Agriculture, Forestry, & Fishing programs must not exceed 12 months per U.S. Department of State regulations. Programs cannot be extended beyond these durations outlined by the Department of State.

    Can I complete the online application on behalf of a client?

    Yes. Greenheart Exchange utilizes a user-friendly online application system. Once the application is complete, you can share the login credentials with your client, so they will have access to a mandatory virtual orientation. They will also have access to important program resources, including information about social security, taxes, health insurance, and cultural opportunities in their area.

    Does Greenheart Exchange facilitate Change of Status into or out of the J-1 visa?

    No. The Exchange Visitor Program is intended to be used for temporary cultural exchange. Interns and Trainees are expected to depart the U.S. at the end of the program. In-country Change of Status is not condoned by the U.S. Department of State.

    An applicant who is currently in the U.S. and is eligible as an Intern or Trainee must apply from a U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside of the U.S. J-1 visa holders in-country must leave the U.S. when their program ends and may apply for other visa types from the U.S. Embassy in their home country or country of residence.

    Do you sponsor the J-2 dependent visa?

    Yes. Greenheart Exchange is able to sponsor J-2 spouse and child dependents. We also offer medical insurance for J-2 dependents. Please inquire directly for more details.

    Do you have an expedited option?

    Yes. Greenheart Exchange offers expedited processing service. Please inquire directly for more details.

    What is the cost of the program?

    Greenheart Exchange can release pricing information upon confirming eligibility of the applicant. Please note that all program fees are charged to the participant, and there is no fee requested of the host organization.

    Where can I find more information on Exchange Visitor Program regulations for Interns and Trainees?

    Regulations governing the Exchange Visitor Program and the J-1 visa are publicly available in the Code of Federal Register (22 C.F.R § 62). Specific Intern and Trainee program regulations can be found at 22 C.F.R § 62.22. More information about the Exchange Visitor Program can be found on the Department of State’s official J-1 visa website.

    What is the purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program?

    The Exchange Visitor Program promotes mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and the people of other countries by educational and cultural exchanges.

    This Non-Immigrant Visa program is overseen by the U.S. Department of State and gives foreign nationals the opportunity to come to the U.S. on short-term immersion programs to learn U.S. customs and culture.

    At the end of the program, Interns and Trainees return to their home countries to share what they learned and experienced with their peers, thereby supporting the development of peaceful international relations.

    What makes Greenheart Exchange unique from other visa sponsors?

    Greenheart Exchange’s dedicated staff have a deep understanding of Exchange Visitor Program regulations, a commitment to customer service, and a passion for cultural exchange.

    We promote an array of enriching cultural opportunities for Interns and Trainees to ensure that their program goes beyond professional development alone. We provide researched lists of cultural and volunteer opportunities for more than 200 cities in the U.S., opportunities to earn rewards for community service through the Greenheart Club, and monthly correspondence to keep Interns and Trainees in the loop on current events, holidays, and opportunities.

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