J-1 Intern vs Trainee: What is the Difference?

The Department of State regulations defines J-1 Intern and Trainee as the following:


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

Maximum program duration: 12 months


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 United States – OR –¬†five years of work experience outside the United States 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?

To obtain the J-1 Intern or Trainee visa, participants will need:

  • DS-2019 form provided and completed by Greenheart Exchange.
  • DS-7002 form Training Plan (T/IPP) which describes the content of the Internship or Training program. This form is to be signed by the sponsor, host organization, and participant, and 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 trainee or intern during the course of their program.
  • Standard U.S. visa application forms, a valid passport, and required photographs.
  • All participants must pay the standard visa application and SEVIS fees and secure receipts. Participants should consult the website of the closest U.S. Consulate for details.
  • In addition to meeting the general eligibility requirements, Interns and Trainees must have high to fluent levels of English proficiency
  • Greenheart Exchange program fees. Pricing information will be released once applicant is evaluated for eligibility.
  • Interested applicants must be available to sit their visa interview outside the United States or in their home country. Greenheart Exchange will not review applicants currently residing in the United States or in country change of visa status applications.

When can I apply?

  • Greenheart Exchange accepts rolling applications on a year round basis.
  • Greenheart Exchange applications should be submitted at least 2 months before the desired start date of training in the United States.