J-1 Student Intern Information for Administrators

The HIO uses the J-1 Student Intern visa category for individuals who are pursuing a post-secondary degree abroad and coming to the United States (U.S.) for an educational internship related to their studies. The internship program must expose the participants to American techniques, methodologies, technology, and expand upon participants’ existing knowledge and skills. Please note that clinical positions or any other kind of work that involves patient care or contact is strictly prohibited. In addition, no more than 20% of a Student Intern’s work can be clerical in nature. 

The HIO sponsors the J-1 Student Intern visa for any Harvard departments as well as departments within various affiliated hospitals throughout the Boston area.

The below information is intended for department administrators working on visa sponsorship with the HIO. For more information about maintaing status on the J-1 Student Intern visa, see here.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for J-1 Student Intern visa sponsorship, the student intern, hosting department, and internship must meet several eligibility requirements designed by the U.S. Department of State. Before requesting HIO visa sponsorship, a sponsoring department must confirm that all eligibility requirements will be met. 

To qualify, the Student Intern must meet the following requirements: 

  • Must be currently enrolled and pursuing a degree in an accredited post-secondary academic institution outside the U.S.
  • Must be in good academic standing with their academic institution abroad. 
  • The internship program in the U.S. must fulfill the educational objectives of their current degree programs at their home institutions. 
  • Must return to their home institutions at the end of the internship to complete their program (they cannot graduate while they are still in the U.S.). 
  • The internship program must be full-time (at least 32 hours/week). 
  • Must demonstrate sufficient funding is available for the period of the internship. ($2,500/month)
  • Must verify that they have English language skills sufficient to function on a day-to-day basis in the internship environment. 
  • Plan to participate in the student internship program for a maximum of 12 months. Extensions beyond 12 months are not permitted for this visa category. 
  • Must comply with the requirement of having health insurance while participating in the Student Intern program (see here for details). 
  • Must submit evaluation(s) during the internship to assess the quality of the internship experience. 
  • Plan to participate in an internship at the hosting site only. Additional employment in the U.S. is not permitted on the J-1 Student Intern visa. 

Sponsoring department must comply with the following requirements: 

Sponsors must clarify the Student Intern's expectations in advance of arrival. Student Interns are not Harvard students and are not eligible for some Harvard student benefits such as housing, health insurance, or access to athletic facilities. The department must make this clear to the student intern. Student Interns may not be able to obtain a Harvard University ID. 

Sponsors must complete an end of internship evaluation. In addition, if the internship lasts longer than six months, a mid-point evaluation must also be completed. The completed evaluation form(s) must be submitted to the HIO with “J-1 Evaluation” as the subject line to internationaloffice@harvard.edu.

Visa Sponsorship Request Process and Required Paperwork

To request Student Intern visa sponsorship, a department administrator must submit a record for the individual in the HIO’s intake database, ISD. For instructions, please see Step 2: Initiate Visa Sponsorship request.

All J-1 Student Intern sponsorship requests sent to the HIO must include all required documents listed on the J-1 Student Intern Checklist.

The J-1 Student Intern visa category requires documentation detailing the Student Intern’s internship and training plan in the U.S., as well as documentation regarding the intern’s current enrollment status at their home university/college. As a reminder, a Student Intern must be an enrolled student in a degree program outside of the U.S. for the full duration of their internship. The enrollment letter that the Student Intern obtains from their current university/college must match the template provided by the HIO and must include a graduation date that is after their internship end date. Student Interns cannot graduate while they are in the U.S.

All paperwork included in an ISD request must be complete for the HIO to move forward with processing visa documents. Failure to complete the required documents will result in a delay in processing.

The DS-7002 Training and Internship Placement Plan

After receiving a completed visa sponsorship request for a J-1 Student Intern, the HIO will prepare two visa sponsorship documents: Form DS-2019 and Form DS-7002 Training and Internship Placement Plan. The DS-7002 contains information regarding the Student Intern’s internship site, as well as information regarding their internship training plan obtained from the J-1 Student Intern Intake form that the department provides during the intake process. The DS-7002 requires a signature from the Student Intern’s internship supervisor/PI. The will ship the DS-2019 and DS-7002 to the Student Intern directly with attached instructions on requesting the internship supervisor/PI’s signature on the DS-7002 via email. Electronic signatures are accepted on the DS-7002.

The DS-7002 summarizes all the details of the internship (e.g. internship location, supervisor, daily duties, compensation from lab/department). Student interns can only engage in the internship reflected on the DS-7002. 

Adding sites of activity within Harvard and Harvard Medical School affiliated hospitals or changing compensation for the Student Intern will require an updated DS-7002 Training Plan. Please reach out to your HIO Advisor for clarification before moving a Student Intern to another site or changing their compensation.

The 12 Month Bar and Two-Year Home Residency Requirement

Student Interns who remain in the U.S. for an internship longer than 6 months will be subject to the 12 Month Bar, which would prohibit them from returning to the U.S. on a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor visa in the 12 months following the end date of their internship. This is the visa category most commonly used for postdoctoral fellows in the U.S. Student Interns and sponsors must plan accordingly. 

In addition, some J-1 Student Interns may be subject to the 212e two-year home residency requirement, based on their funding source or country of citizenship. 

J-1 Student Intern Extensions

J-1 Student Interns may remain in their internship program in the U.S. for up to 12 months, so long as they remain an enrolled student during the full internship period. If J-1 Student Interns wish to extend their internship program, their department must request an extension before the Student Intern's current end date listed on their DS-2019 and DS-7002.

Extensions are not permitted beyond 12 months for J-1 Student Interns. In addition, the Student Intern must remain enrolled at their home university for the entirety of the extension period. They cannot graduate while in the U.S.

The request for extension must be submitted to the HIO from the Harvard department or affiliated hospital sponsoring the Student Intern. To extend a J-1 student internship, the HIO must receive all the documents below: 

  1. Notice of Extension Form
  2. A newly signed J-1 Student Intern Intake Form to reflect the updated/extended internship plan
  3. Proof of funding for the additional time ($2500/month)
  4. Proof of current and future enrollment. The Student Intern must remain enrolled at their home university for the entirety of the extension period. They cannot graduate while in the U.S.

Once complete, all documents can be sent to the HIO via email. All required paperwork for the extension/update must be received for the HIO to move forward with an extension/update request. Failure to provide the required documents will result in a delay in processing.

Important Note: Due to the 12 Month Bar, future visa options will be very limited if the Student Intern remains in the U.S. for more than six months and wishes to return to the U.S. within a year of leaving Harvard. Student Interns and sponsors must plan accordingly.

Submitting an extension request to the HIO will extend the Harvard-issued visa document (Form DS-2019 and DS-7002), and a Student Intern's permission to remain in the U.S. The visa stamp in their passport will not automatically be extended. If the Student Intern travels outside of the U.S. after the visa stamp in their passport expires, they will need to apply for a renewal of the visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their country in order to return to the U.S. in J-1 status. It is not possible to renew a visa within the U.S.