Host an Intern or Trainee

Host an international university student, recent graduate, or a professional as an Intern or Trainee
  • Overview

    If you are a U.S. business willing to provide a career enhancing and cultural exchange experience to a bright, energetic international student, recent graduate, or professional, the Career Advancement Program is right for you.

    This program is ideal for internationally-minded U.S. businesses looking to increase their visibility in the global marketplace.

    Why Host a Greenheart Exchange Intern or Trainee?

    • It’s enriching. Interns and Trainees are highly educated and skilled students or professionals, bringing variety and a global perspective to your environment.
    • It’s customized. Greenheart Exchange will help you create a DS-7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan tailored to your company. Greenheart Exchange’s Intern and Trainee programs have flexible start and end dates.
    • It’s online. Greenheart Exchange has a user-friendly online application system for program applicants.

    Learn more about the benefits of hosting an intern/trainee with Greenheart in this short video.


  • Eligibility

    We carefully review each prospective host organization interested in hosting an Intern or Trainee. As a J-1 visa sponsor, we are responsible for ensuring each host organization meets the qualification necessary to participate in the program.

    Program Requirements

    The following are basic program requirements for host organizations:

    • Must be committed to fulfilling DS-7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan for the full duration of the Intern or Trainee’s program
    • Must guarantee at least 32 hours of training experience per week
    • Must demonstrate sufficient qualified staff to provide constant supervision of the Intern or Trainee
      • Host organizations with fewer than 5 full-time permanent, onsite employees will not be considered as a placement
    • Must provide a suitable training location
      • Training locations based in unsafe conditions, personal residences, warehouse environments, clinical settings, or requiring remote access will not be considered

    For more information about On-Program requirements of host organizations, please click the tab called “On the Program”

    Program Categories

    We screen all potential Interns and Trainees for English language ability, education, and occupational experience, making sure they are qualified for training with your organization before beginning the application process. Each prospective Intern and Trainee applying for the Exchange Visitor Program is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

    Intern Eligibility:

    • A foreign national who is currently enrolled in an accredited academic post-secondary degree/certificate program outside of the U.S. in their occupational field,


    • A foreign national who graduated from an accredited academic post-secondary degree/certificate program outside of the U.S. in their occupational field no more than 12 months prior to their requested DS-2019 start date.


    Trainee Eligibility:

    • A foreign national who graduated from an accredited academic post-secondary degree/certificate program outside of the U.S. in their occupational field more than 12 months before their requested DS-2019 start date AND has at least 1 year of related full-time work experience outside of the U.S.


    • A foreign national who did not graduated from an accredited academic post-secondary degree/certificate program outside of the U.S. but has at least 5 years of related full-time work experience outside of the U.S.
    DS-7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP)

    We will work with you to ensure that your proposed T/IPP is in-line with Exchange Visitor Program requirements. However, consider these basic requirements as you develop the T/IPP:

    • The T/IPP is a legal U.S. Department of State form that outlines the specific bonafide, career development opportunity the host organization will provide to the prospective Intern or Trainee
    • The T/IPP acts as the primary agreement between Greenheart Exchange, the host organization, and the Intern or Trainee for the duration of the program
    • Greenheart Exchange must also review and approve any changes made to the T/IPP, and be notified of any deviations from the T/IPP while the Intern or Trainee is on program
    • The T/IPP must be tailored to the individual Intern or Trainee listed on the form and must align with the their academic and/or professional background
    • The T/IPP must demonstrate a progression in the development of advanced skills by the Intern or Trainee
    • Entry-level activities are only appropriate in circumstances when they provide opportunities to improve or acquire new skills and knowledge. The T/IPP must clearly outline the purpose and the duration of time Interns and Trainees will engage in any entry-level opportunity
    • Entry-level activities (unskilled or casual labor) are inappropriate when these activities duplicate Intern’s or Trainee’s previous experiences or constitute a predominant portion of any T/IPP phase
    • A T/IPP that involves positions comprised of unskilled or casual labor are not permitted
    • Host organizations should play an active role in completing T/IPP document
    • Any staff at the host organization who will assist in overseeing the Intern or Trainee must be familiar with the T/IPP and have access to the file at all times
  • Program Options

    Intern and Trainee positions are typically in the following occupational fields:

    • Business, Management, Commerce & Finance
    • Hospitality & Tourism (including culinary arts)
    • Arts & Culture
    • Information Media & Communications
    • Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing
    • Public Administration & Law
    • Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics & Industrial

    Click here to view more detailed examples/guidelines of these occupational fields.

    We provide two (2) program options:


    Self-Placement (SP) program

    You, as the host organization, select an Intern or Trainee on your own. Greenheart Exchange is not involved in the initial placement, but verifies program eligibility and approves the DS-7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan prior to program sponsorship.

    Full-Placement (FP) program

    Greenheart Exchange is involved from the beginning and will assist in placing the right Intern or Trainee at your host organization.

  • Application Process

    We accept Intern and Trainee applications on a rolling basis. While the length of the application process can vary depending on program type and preparedness of the applicant, we work closely with our stakeholders to ensure timely and efficient application processing.

    We recommend applicants begin the process at least 2 months in advance of their desired start date. Our application process includes the following steps:

    Eligibility Review

    We review the applicant for eligibility once the following required documents have been submitted:

    • CAP Resume form – Completed by applicant
    • DS-7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP) – Completed by host organization
    • Host organization documents:
      • Host Organization Agreement
      • Workers Compensation policy
      • Photos of the workspace
    • If the applicant will apply for a J-2 dependent visa, please notify us at this time.
    Greenheart Online Application

    When the applicant is approved for sponsorship, he/she will be granted access to a personal Greenheart Exchange Online (GEO) account. The applicant will be asked to complete:

    • The online application
    • The online Skype Interview
    • The pre-arrival virtual orientation
    Host Organization Verification

    While the applicant is working on their Greenheart Exchange Online (GEO) application, we will simultaneously verify the proposed host organization. The host organization verification process includes:

    • A host organization verification call
    • Vetting of host organization documents and background check
    • The completion of a site visit, if required
    DS-2019 Issuance

    Once the following required steps are complete, the applicant’s DS-2019 form will be issued.

    • Applicant is approved for sponsorship by Greenheart Exchange
    • A complete online application is accepted by Greenheart Exchange
    • Program fees have been paid
    • Host organization is approved by Greenheart Exchange
    • Applicant completes a Skype interview with Greenheart Exchange
    J-1 Visa Application

    Once the applicant receives the DS-2019 Form, he/she will be able to schedule their visa interview with the local U.S. Embassy.

    Arriving in the U.S.

    Upon successful receipt of a J-1 visa, the applicant may schedule travel arrangements to the U.S.

    J-2 Application Process

    Greenheart Exchange may sponsor J-2 dependents for Interns and Trainees approved for sponsorship. A “dependent” includes the legal spouse and/or unmarried minor children (under age 21) of the approved Intern or Trainee. Sponsorship of a J-2 dependent with Greenheart Exchange includes the following documentation:

    • DS-2019 form for each dependent
    • Health insurance coverage

    J-1 applicants should disclose any interest in applying for a J-2 dependent as early in the Intern or Trainee application process as possible.

  • On the Program

    Once an Intern or Trainee applicant receives their J-1 visa from their local Embassy, they are ready to start the journey to the U.S. As the J-1 visa sponsor, we are the primary point of contact for you, and the Intern or Trainee.

    This page contains important information on the Intern and Trainee programs.

    Before Interns or Trainees Leave for the U.S.

    Make sure that you:

    • Stay connected with them via email and know their U.S. arrival plans
    • Provide them with any on-boarding requirements that your business follows
    • Provide them with your contact information
    • Collect their contact information
    • Know the address of where they will be staying
    • Provide them with instructions on how to get to your location
    • Have our contact information:
      • Office Phone (Available 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. CST, Monday- Friday):
        • 1-855-668-5536
      • Emergency Phone (Available 24/7):
        • 1-855-767-5645
    Arriving in the U.S.

    Entering the U.S.: To pass through customs at the airport your Intern or Trainee will need the following documents:

    • Valid passport with J-1 visa
    • Original, signed DS-2019 form
    • Signed DS-7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan (available on your Greenheart Exchange Online account)
    • For additional items please refer to U.S. Customs and Border Protection website

    SEVIS Validation: Every Intern and Trainee is required to validate their program with Greenheart Exchange once they arrive in the U.S. Once received, we will submit the validation to SEVIS.

    • If  your Intern or Trainee is scheduled to arrive in the U.S. more than 1 week after the DS-2019 start date, make sure to notify Greenheart Exchange
    • Once their program validation is successfully processed, their program will become active in SEVIS and their Greenheart Exchange Online account

    Social Security Number: If you would like to assist your Intern or Trainee in applying for a Social Security card, please keep in mind the following:

    • Be sure to wait until their program validation is successfully processed before they apply for Social Security card
    • For additional information, please visit Social Security website and the nearest Social Security office
    On the Program
    • Monthly Check-ins: Each Intern and Trainee is required to complete a monthly check-in via their Greenheart Exchange Online (GEO) account every 30 days. The purpose of the check-in is to keep Greenheart Exchange updated on the status of their health and safety, program conditions, and cultural activities
    • Mid-Point Evaluation: If the program is 6 months or longer, Interns and Trainees, and their supervisor are required to complete midpoint evaluations
    • HCC Health Insurance: Greenheart Exchange provides Interns and Trainees with insurance coverage through HCC Medical Insurance Services. The insurance coverage is valid through the dates listed on their DS-2019 form
    • International Travel: If your Intern or Trainee intends to leave the U.S. at any point during the program, please notify Greenheart Exchange as soon as possible
    • Volunteering: Greenheart Exchange encourages all Interns and Trainees to volunteer in their local community to enhance their program experience. Once accepted, they can join the Greenheart Club to learn more about volunteer opportunities
    Finishing the Program

    Final Evaluation: All Interns or Trainees and supervisors are required to complete final evaluations.

    30 day grace period: If your Intern or Trainee’s I-94 card does not have any limitations, they are allowed to stay in the U.S. 30 days after the end date indicated on the DS-2019 form for purposes of travel.

    U.S. Tax Return:  Interns and Trainees are required to file a tax return for any wages received in the previous year. You are required to provide them a W-2 form in-line with Social Security Administration requirements. We can direct you to relevant resources to help you through this process.

    Requirements to Contact Greenheart Exchange

    We are the main point of contact for Interns, Trainees, and host organizations. As the J-1 visa sponsor, we are responsible for the safety and well being of each Intern and Trainee. As a host organization, you are required to notify us promptly of any situation that impacts their ability to participate in the program including, but not limited to:

    • Concerns about health, safety, and/or well-being
    • Issue with wages or taxes
    • If your Intern/Trainee quits, is fired, or leaves their job for any reason
    • Any changes are made to their DS-7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP), including:
      • Location changes
      • Supervisor changes
      • Training in areas not listed in their T/IPP or the T/IPP is not being followed
      • You are unable to provide training for at least 32 hours per week
      • You are no longer able to provide training in an area outlined in the T/IPP
    Important Resources
    • Check your Greenheart Exchange host organization approval email. This will include various resources to help you serve as a successful host organization
    • Look for our Monthly Host Organization Newsletter. Important program updates and new resources will be shared with you via this monthly email
    • Review your Host Organization Orientation
  • Rules and Regulations

    At Greenheart Exchange, we strive to strengthen the quality and consistency of our program. The information on this page will provide you with up-to-date program regulations and rules that govern Greenheart Exchange’s Intern and Trainee programs.

    Department of State Resources
    • Exchange Visitor Program Regulations: Regulations governing the Exchange Visitor Program are publicly available in the Code of Federal Register (22 C.F.R § 62). Specific Intern and Trainee program regulations can be found at 22 C.F.R § 62.22.
    • Welcome Brochure: The Department of State provides a Welcome Brochure to all Interns and Trainees.
    • Exchange Visitor Program Website: The Department of State’s official website for the Intern Program and the Trainee Program provide a variety of resources.
    • Guidance Directive: Department of State may issue Guidance Directives to J-1 visa sponsors at any time. All Guidance Directives are publicly available. The following Guidance Directives are of particular importance to the Intern and Trainee programs:
    • Guidance Directive 2017-01 Casual and Unskilled Labor (February 23, 2017)
    Greenheart Exchange Notification Requirements

    Interns, Trainees, and host organizations are required to notify Greenheart Exchange of the following situations (other requirements may apply depending on individual program):

    • The Intern or Trainee will arrive in the U.S. more than 1 week past the DS-2019 start date
    • There is any concern for the Intern or Trainee’s health, safety, or well-being
    • The Intern or Trainee is unable to actively train with the host organization on the DS-2019 form for any reason
    • Any changes are made to your DS-7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP), including:
      • The host organization changes locations
      • A supervisor change
      • The Intern or Trainee is training in an area not listed in the T/IPP or the T/IPP is not being followed
      • The Intern or Trainee’s housing address, and/or phone number change
      • The Intern or Trainee is training less than 32 hours per week
    • The Intern or Trainee is the victim of a crime or is accused of/arrested for the commission of a crime
    • The Intern or Trainee leaves, quits, or is fired from the host organization for any reason
    • The Intern or Trainee intends to travel internationally
    • The Intern or Trainee has issues processing a Social Security card application
    • The Intern or Trainee has issues with wages or taxes
    • The Intern or Trainee processes a change of status or adjustment of status
    • The Intern or Trainee fails to leave the U.S. by the end of the 30 day grace period
    Prohibited Program Activities

    Interns and Trainees are prohibited from engaging in the following activities (other restrictions may apply depending on individual program):

    • Including but not limited to, bussing/foodrunning, cleaning, valet, fast casual and counter services roles, and stocking/packing
    • Including but not limited to bartending (including barback), housekeepers and hotel cleaners, drivers, cashiers, service attendants, guards, stockroom/warehouse workers, and clerks
    • Casual, manual, and unskilled labor
    • Unauthorized employment (including second jobs) at an organization not listed on the DS-2019 form
    • All activities outlined in 22 C.F.R. § 62 Appendix E
    • Roles that fill a labor or employment need for the host organization
    • Roles that should be filled by a regular employee
    • Programs that do not meet FLSA requirements
    • Roles that receive commission based compensation
    • Activities that endanger the Intern or Trainee’s health, safety, or well-being
    • Activities that could bring the Exchange Visitor Program under notoriety or disrepute
    • Roles that involve child care, elder care, patient contact (including animals), or clinical activities
    • Roles that require more than 20% clerical work
    • For Trainees, roles that duplicate previous professional experience
    Exchange Visitor Rights

    All Exchange Visitors, including Interns and Trainees, are entitled to the same legal protections as U.S. residents and citizens. Please review the following resources regarding rights and protections of Interns and Trainees:

    • U.S. Tax Withholdings: For tax purposes, Interns and Trainees are required to be on regular payroll, must be paid as regular employees, and must complete Form W-4 at the start of their program. Interns and Trainees receiving a stipend are required to pay federal, state, and local (if applicable) income taxes. However, Interns and Trainees are exempt from paying FICA taxes (Social Security and Medicare) and FUTA taxes (Unemployment). Additional resources can be found online:
    • Annual U.S. Tax Returns: Host organizations must provide W-2 forms to Interns and Trainees in-line with Social Security Administration requirements. Interns and Trainees receiving a stipend are required to file an individual tax return in-line with Internal Revenue Service requirements. Additional resources can be found online:
  • FAQs

    Intern vs Trainee: What is the Difference?

    The Department of State regulations defines an 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 U.S. – OR – graduated 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 U.S. – OR – five years of work experience outside the U.S. 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 is the purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program?

    The Exchange Visitor Program promotes mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and the people of other countries by educational and cultural exchanges. The J-1 visa is a Non-Immigrant visa program and is overseen by the U.S. Department of State and gives foreign nationals the opportunity to come to the U.S. on short-term immersion programs to learn U.S. customs and culture.

    At the end of the program, Interns and Trainees return to their home countries to share what they learned and experienced with their peers, thereby supporting the development of peaceful international relations.

    What is the role of the visa sponsor?

    The Visa Sponsor is a private-sector organization designated by the U.S. Department of State to administer the program. As the visa sponsor, Greenheart Exchange is responsible for ensuring that the Intern and Trainee program is compliant with all federal regulations, that the prospective applicant is eligible and will have ample opportunity for cultural immersion, and that the host organization will provide a quality training environment.

    While the Intern or Trainee is in the U.S., Greenheart Exchange is in monthly contact with him/her to ensure his/her health, safety, and welfare.


    What makes Greenheart Exchange unique from other visa sponsors?

    Greenheart Exchange’s dedicated staff have a deep understanding of Exchange Visitor Program regulations, a commitment to customer service, and a passion for cultural exchange.

    We promote an array of enriching cultural opportunities for Interns and Trainees to ensure that their program goes beyond professional development alone. We provide researched lists of cultural and volunteer opportunities for more than 200 cities in the U.S., opportunities to earn rewards for community service through the Greenheart Club, and monthly correspondence to keep Interns and Trainees in the loop on current events, holidays, and opportunities.

    What are the program requirements?

    The following are requirements of the Intern or Trainee program within Greenheart Exchange’s Career Advancement Program.

    • A DS-2019 form is provided and completed by Greenheart Exchange
    • A DS-7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP) is completed thoroughly. This form is to be signed by Greenheart Exchange, the host organization, and the Intern or Trainee. It 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 Intern or Trainee during the course of their program.
    • Standard U.S. J-1 visa application forms, a valid passport, and required photographs
    • Payment of the standard visa application and SEVIS fees
    • High to fluent levels of English proficiency
    • Payment of Greenheart Exchange program fees
    • Availability to attend a visa interview outside the U.S. or in their home country
    When can a participant apply?

    Greenheart Exchange accepts applications on a rolling,  year-round basis. Applications should be submitted at least 2 months before the desired start date of training in the U.S.

    Which occupational categories do you sponsor?

    We sponsor Interns and Trainees in the following occupational categories:

    • Arts & Culture
    • Business, Management, Finance & Commerce
    • Hospitality & Tourism
    • Information Media & Communication
    • Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing
    • Public Administration & Law
    • Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics & Industrial Occupations
    What is the maximum duration of the program?

    The maximum program duration for Interns is 12 months.

    The maximum program duration for Trainees is 18 months; however Hospitality & Tourism and Agriculture, Forestry, & Fishing programs must not exceed 12 months per U.S. Department of State regulations.

    Programs cannot be extended beyond these durations outlined by the Department of State.

    What do I need to present in order to determine if Greenheart Exchange can sponsor my candidate?

    You can fill out our inquiry form and our team will get in touch with you regarding next steps to begin your application.

    Can I complete the online application on behalf of a client?

    Yes. Greenheart Exchange utilizes a user-friendly online application system. Once the application is complete, you can share the login credentials with your client, so they will have access to a mandatory virtual orientation.

    They will also have access to important program resources, including information about social security, taxes, health insurance, and cultural opportunities in their area.

  • Prohibited Placements

    Prohibited Placements by Location. In the effort to protect the health, safety, and welfare of Greenheart-sponsored participants, we have made the difficult decision to limit geographical areas we are willing to sponsor placements in. This policy is subject to change at Greenheart’s discretion.

    Greenheart Exchange does not permit placements in:

    • Hawaii
    • Rural Alaska
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