J-1 Intern Program

Available January 2, 2018

The J-1 Student Intern program allows international students currently enrolled and pursuing a degree at a postsecondary academic institution or recent graduates, to receive hands-on experience in their chosen field for an internship not to exceed 12 months. They must be currently enrolled in and pursuing studies at a foreign degree- or certificate-granting post-secondary academic institution outside the United States; or must have graduated from such an institution no more than 12 months prior to their exchange visitor program start date. (Currently enrolled Graduate Students may pursue an internship as a J-1 Research Scholar or Short-Term Scholar). Regulations for J-1 Student Interns are administratively complex. Please read the following information carefully if considering bringing a J-1 Student Intern to Cornell.

  • The internship must consist of a minimum of 32 hours per week of internship activity, no more than 20 percent of which consists of clerical work.

  • The internship must fulfill the educational objectives for the intern’s current degree program at his/her home institution. It must expose the participant to U.S. techniques, methodologies, and technology; and it must expand upon the intern’s existing knowledge and skills and not duplicate the student intern’s prior experience.

  • A student intern may be paid or unpaid. To be employed, however, the student intern must receive approval from his/her home institution’s dean or academic advisor.

  • The internship must not place the intern in any position that involves any of the following: unskilled or casual labor; child care or elder care; aviation; clinical positions or any other kind of work involving patient care or contact, including therapy, medication, or other clinical or medical care (e.g., sports or physical therapy, psychological counseling, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, social work, speech therapy, or early childhood education); or any “position, occupation, or business that could bring the Exchange Visitor Program or the Department [of State] into notoriety or disrepute.” [22 CFR § 62.23(i)(7)(iii)]

  • The internship cannot serve to fill a labor need. It must exist solely to assist the student intern in achieving the objectives of his or her participation in a student internship program. The internship must consist of work-based learning, rather than ordinary employment or unskilled labor.

  • The internship cannot displace American workers, whether full- or part-time, temporary or permanent.

  • If in the field of agriculture, the internship must meet all requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.

Faculty & Departments planning to host J-1 Interns are responsible for:

  1. Developing the internship plan (DS-7002) and collecting data for the DS-2019 form
  2. Paying or collecting the $500 Intern Program Fee (check payable to Cornell University)
  3. Verifying financial support for the intern for the entire length of stay. The minimum amount of financial support for an intern is $1800 per month. The internship may be paid or unpaid. If the department will pay the intern a salary or stipend, then they must have the approval of that student's academic dean or advisor, and the amount of financial support should be noted in the letter of invitation. If the internship will be unpaid, then the intern must submit evidence of financial support in the form of a bank statement or a sponsor letter (no more than 6 months old).
  4. Verifying that the intern has sufficient English language knowledge upon being selected to participate in the J1 Intern Program
  5. Submitting Faculty Program Evaluation(s)
  6. Supporting the intern through faculty mentorship and other assistance.

The Program Coordinator and ISSO, will assist departments and interns in producing the immigration paperwork (DS-2019 and DS-7002 or TIPP Forms) required for the intern’s visa application and admittance to the US. An overview of the J-1 Student Intern process can be found here - Flow Chart

Health Insurance

J1 regulations require that all J-1 exchange visitors have a minimum level of health insurance for the duration of their stay in the United States. The interns may purchase any plan that provides the minimum level of coverage listed above, or they may purchase a comprehensive insurance plan especially designed for Cornell University’s international students and scholars. For more information, please visit http://studenthealthbenefits.cornell.edu/

Initial Application Materials
Mandatory Evaluation of J-1 Interns

Department of State regulations require that a program evaluation be completed for each J-1 Student Intern at the end of his/her internship. Those internships which last longer than 6 months also require at least one additional mid-program evaluation, to be undertaken at the mid-point of the program. Compliance is mandatory. Faculty hosts who fail to complete the mandatory evaluations will be prohibited from hosting new J-1 Student Interns until they have complied with program regulations for any previous reports.