Did you know that as a J-1 Intern or Trainee you may have the opportunity to extend your program in the U.S.? If your program is currently less than the maximum allowed for Interns and Trainees, then you are eligible to apply for an extension.
You may now be asking, "Well, what's the maximum I can extend for?" Good question!
If you are an Intern or a Hospitality/Tourism Trainee, then you may stay for a total of 12 months. This means if your current program is 4 months, you can stay up to 8 more months. All other Trainees may stay for a total of 18 months. Please note that if your program will exceed 6 months with an extension, we will want to see that your employer will be fairly compensating you for your internship or training program. We no longer accept unpaid programs over 6 months in length.
These limits are set by the State Department, and unfortunately, it's not possible to extend your program longer than these maximums. And it's also never possible to change from an Intern to a Trainee; so, sorry Interns, you'll have to go home after 12 months!
If you are not at the maximum program length and would like to continue interning or training, you must then apply for an extension. InterExchange only accepts extension applications 30-60 days before the end of your program. Not sure when that is? Check your DS-2019 form to find out, then go back 60 days to determine when you are eligible to apply. Or just email InterExchange and we can tell you!
So now it's 30-60 days before your program ends, and you are ready to apply. Great! The first thing you will need to do is email us for an application. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and say you want to extend your program. We will send you all the paperwork you will need to submit and the fee information. Make sure to read all instructions before filling this out, and please email us if you need any help.
You may choose to extend your program with your current host employer. In this case, your extension program should be more advanced or different from the original program. However, you also have the option to extend with a new company. This is called an extension with a change of host, and you will need to find a new internship before you can apply for the extension. Please note that if you find a new employer, it must still be in the same field as your original program.
When you and your employer have completed the application materials, send them to email@example.com. Once we receive a full application and the extension program fee, we will review your application--the processing time is about 1-2 weeks. If your application is accepted, we will send you a new DS-2019 form that will allow you to continue interning or training in the USA
You may now be wondering, "What about my visa? It expires at the end of my original program! Do I need a new one?" The answer is no. You do not automatically need a new visa when you extend. This is because your new DS-2019 form is all you need to continue interning or training in the U.S. Your visa is only needed when entering the U.S. from another country. The only reason you would need a new visa would be if you were to travel abroad during your extension program AND your initial J-1 visa had expired. In that case, you would need to get a new visa from an embassy outside the U.S. before being allowed to re-enter the country.
And that's all you need to know about extending your J-1 Visa program. If you have any further questions, you can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll be happy to help!
InterExchange Career Training USA is a top J-1 Visa sponsor for university students and young professionals who have already secured internships or training programs with companies in the U.S. If you still need to find an internship or training program in the U.S., check out our resources and start the J-1 Visa sponsorship process early.
Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Ani is a fan of exploring new places through photography and the local cuisine. After earning her BFA in photography from NYU and gaining communications experience at International Planned Parenthood Federation, she joined InterExchange in 2012, and worked as the Marketing Producer until 2016.