The J-1 Visa is a cultural exchange visa issued by the U.S. Department of State, affording foreign students and professionals the opportunity to pursue practical, on-the-job training in the United States. The Exchange Visitor Program facilitates exchanges that allow people from around the world to gain a firsthand understanding of U.S. culture and institutions and foster a better understanding of the American perspective on a variety of issues.
Under the auspices of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the IACC launched its J-1 Exchange Visitor program in 2002 with the mission to promote trade relations and encourage cultural and commercial ties between Italy and the United States.We are authorized to vet and approve training programs in two categories—Interns and Trainees—and in the following fields: Management, Business, Commerce, and Finance and Public Administration and Law.
Host companies and exchange visitors that partner with the IACC benefit from our 15+ years of experience and have a dedicated, highly specialized staff at their disposal to guide them through the visa process. We are committed to delivering customized, turn-key assistance, ongoing guidance and support, and robust social and cultural programming for all program participants. Our interns and trainees return home inspired by their experiences in the U.S. and are eager to stay connected, to expand their horizons, and to explore future opportunities for cross-cultural exchange as they progress in their careers.
How to Apply/More Info
As a first step, please consult our helpful Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section, which provides answers to the most commonly asked questions about the J-1 visa, explains our process, and outlines the specific requirements candidates must meet to be eligible for our program. Once you have determined your eligibility, or if you have a question not covered in the FAQs, please use the form below to provide us with some basic information and one of our J-1 specialists will contact you to discuss your interest.
Please note that the IACC does not assist prospective interns and trainees with internship placements. Candidates who wish to apply for a J-1 visa through the IACC must already have a host company willing to offer them a structured internship opportunity.
J-1 Visa Contact Form
See the Frequently Asked Questions:
- What is the J-1 Visa?
The J-1 visa is a cultural exchange visa issued by the U.S. Department of State that allows foreign students and professionals to train with an American corporation for a period not to exceed 18 months. The objective of the J-1 visa is to facilitate exchanges that allow individuals from around the world to gain a firsthand understanding of U.S. culture and institutions and to foster a better understanding of the American perspective on a variety of issues.
- In which categories and professional fields is the IACC designated to sponsor J-1 Visa candidates?
The IACC has been designated as an Exchange Visitor Program Sponsor by the U.S. Department of State and is authorized to approve training programs for interns (currently enrolled students/recent graduates) or trainees (young professionals) in the following fields: Management; Business, Commerce and Finance; and Public Administration and Law. The IACC has the responsibility to review participant applications to ensure that they meet the criteria established by the State Department for this type of visa.
- Does the IACC provide assistance to trainees or companies seeking counterparts for the Exchange Visitor program?
No. Trainees wishing to participate in the Exchange Visitor Program are responsible for securing their own traineeships. Similarly, companies wishing to host young professionals must have a trainee in place before approaching the IACC for assistance in securing a J-1 visa. Once a host company and its prospective trainee have a mutually agreed upon training opportunity in place, the parties may contact the IACC to begin the process.
- Who is eligible to obtain a J-1 visa through the IACC?
In order to qualify for the program, a prospective intern must be:
- an Italian national who is currently enrolled in a post-secondary institution OR has received the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree within the last 12 months from the start date of their internship
- at least 18 years of age
- in possession of an internship offer from a qualified host company in one of the following fields: Management; Business, Commerce and Finance, Public Administration, and Law.
In order to qualify for the program, a prospective trainee must be:
- in possession of the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree and have accumulated at least one (1) year of employment experience in the proposed field of training.
- at least 18 years of age.
- in possession of a training offer from a qualified host company in one of the following fields: Management; Business, Commerce and Finance; Public Administration and Law
- have accumulated five (5) years of employment experience in the proposed field of training.
- What are the requirements of the companies interested in hosting trainees?
The host company providing training must already be or become a member of the IACC. That company must submit a training plan for the prospective trainee and should also provide for cross-cultural activities such as company functions or cultural outings that will enhance the overall quality of the trainee’s experience in the U.S. The employer must also provide him or her with a maintenance allowance to cover living expenses during the training period. The maintenance allowance paid to the trainee should be comparable to the amount paid to other individuals having similar education and work experience. It is important to note, however, that the host company is required by law to pay the trainee at least the prevailing minimum wage as determined by the U.S. Department of Labor.
- What is the process for obtaining a J-1 Visa?
Once a host company and a trainee have agreed upon a suitable training opportunity, they can contact the IACC to begin the application process (Click here for application forms). Upon receiving all completed application materials and provided that there is no need for further documentation or clarification, the IACC’s Responsible Officer will begin a review of the application. Upon an initial approval of the submitted application and a determination that the proposed trainee shall not be employed for the purpose of staffing or obtaining temporary help, the IACC will conduct an in-person or telephone interview with the prospective trainee in order to ascertain the trainee’s ability to adequately speak and comprehend the English language. Once the applicant has proven a level of English language proficiency that is satisfactory to the IACC officer processing the application, the IACC will send a “Certificate of Eligibility” (Form DS-2019) as well as additional orientation materials directly to the trainee abroad. The trainee must then present the application to the Non-immigrant Visa Unit of an American consulate located in Florence, Milan, Rome or Naples. The Consul shall then issue the applicant a J-1 Non-Immigrant Visa.
- What are the participation fees for the IACC’s Exchange Visitor Program?
The Italy-America Chamber of Commerce is a private, non-profit 501(c)(6) organization whose training programs receive no funding. Accordingly, its operating costs shall be covered by the fees paid by the participating host company.
J1 VISA PROGRAM FEES:
NEW MEMBER PRICE:
J1 Visa Trainee Program [ up to 18 months ] $ 4,400.00
J1 Visa Intern Program [ up to 12 months ] $ 3,500.00
J1 Visa Trainee Program [ up to 18 months ] $ 4,000.00
J1 Visa Intern Program [ up to 12 months ] $ 3,100.00
The above prices include:
- Application Fees
- SEVIS Fee
- Insurance Coverage
- Complimentary YEX Membership (Young Executives Committee of the IACC)
Change of Host Company $2,150.00
Expedite Fee (processing time: 2-3 business days) $750.00
Site Visit Determined on case by case basis
All fees must be paid with the application before reviewing, once a candidate has been deemed eligible for the J1 Visa Program.
In the event the Intern/Trainee’s visa is not approved by the U.S. Consular authorities, partial cost of the application will be refunded.
For New Members:
In addition to all services regarding the J1 Visa Application process, all participants will receive a complimentary membership with the IACC, granting them full access to all benefits associated with membership.
- Are Intern/Trainees compensated for traineeships?
Yes. Participating host companies are required by law to provide Intern/Trainees with an amount equivalent to at least the current prevailing minimum wage as determined by the U.S. Department of Labor. The IACC encourages host companies to compensate Intern/Trainees in a manner that is consistent with the salary that would be paid to a regular employee with commensurate levels of education and experience.
- Are Intern/Trainees required to pay taxes on their earnings?
Yes. Intern/Trainees are required to pay all federal and state taxes associated with earnings derived from their traineeships. State income tax rates vary (and some states do not have an income tax), but the federal income tax rate is determined by the level of one’s wage. Federal and state income taxes will be automatically deducted from the trainee’s paycheck by his or her employer. Intern/Trainees must file both federal and state (if applicable) income tax returns by April 15th for each year in which they earn income in the United States. For additional information on filing income tax returns, please visit the web site of the Internal Revenue Service at www.irs.gov.
- Do Intern/Trainees need a Social Security number?
Yes. Upon arriving in the U.S., Intern/Trainees should apply for a Social Security card. In order to do so, Intern/Trainees must present themselves at their local office of Social Security Administration with a valid passport and DS-2019 Form. The nearest Social Security Administration office can be located on the Internet at www.ssa.gov.
- Can Intern/Trainees’ spouses and/or children accompany them to the U.S.?
Yes. Spouses and children wishing to accompany Intern/Trainees to the States during the duration of their training programs are included on the trainee’s “Certificate of Eligibility” (Form DS-2019) and are issued separate J-2 visas by the appropriate consulate in Italy. The visa status of dependents is contingent upon the visa status of the J-1 holder. Therefore, spouses and children are permitted to remain in the U.S. as long as the trainee is participating in a valid program and must leave upon the J-1 holder’s return to his or her home country.
- What is the J-1 Visa?
- How long can Intern/Trainees remain in the U.S. after their training program has ended?
Intern/Trainees are permitted to remain the United States for up to 30 days after the program end date indicated on the Certificate of Eligibility.
Some useful links about the J-1 VISA