J1 Visa Internships and Traineeships Extension Information USA

Extend your J1 visa

If you have not yet reached the maximum duration of your J1 visa you may be able to extend the length of your J1 program to the maximum duration.

The maximum amount of time for a J1 internship is 12 months and the maximum duration of a J1 traineeship is 18 months

Please note that traineeships in hospitality have a maximum duration of 12 months

If you wish to extend your J1 visa program Internships USA must receive all necessary application forms at least 1 month prior to your current program end date. However, to make sure that your application can be processed correctly you should inform us as early as possible

You may extend your program at your current internship or traineeship placement or you may choose to do your internship or traineeship with a new host employer. If you choose to stay at your current workplace, your extension program should be more advanced or significantly different from the original program.

If you wish to extend your internship or traineeship at a new place of employment you will be required to find a new internship or traineeship before you can apply for an extension. Even if you choose to extend your program at a different host company you will still be required to do your placement in the same program field you originally signed up for. However, there must be no duplication of the tasks you carried out in your previous internship. It must be different.

If you have been approved for an extension of your J1 program and have received your new DS-2019 form with the updated dates you will not be required to apply for a new J1 visa itself. However, you will be unable to travel outside of the United States when your J1 visa has expired. You will not be allowed back into the country even if you have your DS-2019 form as it is still necessary to have a J1 visa to enter the USA from another country.

To summarize:

  • The DS-2019 Form = Permission to intern in the U.S.
  • The J-1 Visa = Permission to enter the U.S.

Please note that handing in your application on time does not necessarily mean that your application will be approved. As every application will be considered on a case to case basis therefore it is vital that you fill in your application as detailed as possible.

J1 Transfer Procedure

You might be eligible for a transfer from your J1 program to another program if it is related to your original objective of your exchange program and necessary because of exceptional circumstances. You will be charged a non-refundable fee of $367, which has to be paid to the U.S. Department of State. If the U.S. Department of State grants your request for a transfer you will receive a new DS-2019 form to reflect your change in J1 programs. If the request is denied you will be required to leave the USA within 30 days of your program end date (grace period) or within 30 days of when you receive notice from the U.S. Department of State whichever occurs last.

Permanent Residency in the USA

If you wish to stay in the USA permanently after your J1 visa, you will first need to know if your country has the 2 year home residency requirement.

The 2 year home residency requirements means that you are unable to become a permanent resident in the USA, change your status or get work or family-based visas such as the K, L and the H visa before returning to your home country for at least 2 years.

Who is Subject to the 2 Year Home Residency Requirement

Everyone who is currently in a J1 program may become subject to the 2 year home residency requirement if any of the following apply:

1) If you currently receive funding from the U.S. government, home government or an international organization.

2) If you participated in a graduate medical training program in the United States under the sponsorship of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates.

3) If you are working or studying in a field that appears on the skills list. The skills list is a list of fields with specialized knowledge and/or skills that are needed in your home country for its development. Not all countries are on the skills list and skills they require may differ by country

Please note that most of the time it is indicated on your J1 visa or your DS-2019 form if you are subject to the 2 year home residency requirement although there are some exceptions. However, you may request an official advisory opinion from the U.S. Department of State.

Waiver of the 2 Year Home Residency Requirement

It may be possible to gain a waiver for the 2 year home residency requirement if you received funding from your home government or an international organization or if you are subject to the skills list. You can obtain the waiver by requesting a letter of no objection from the embassy or a similar institution in your home country.

If you received funding from the U.S. government it is nearly impossible to get your 2 year home residency requirement waivered.

Please note that if you start the waiver process you will not be able to travel into or out of the USA with your J1 visa.