Cultural Vistas’ Train USA program enables students and young professionals to complete professional internships in the United States. Both students and recent graduates are able to complete programs in their area of study, in career fields such as business, engineering, IT, design, hospitality management, and many others. Last year, Cultural Vistas helped over 4,600 individuals from more than 100 countries complete career training in the U.S. on the Train USA program, gaining important professional and linguistic skills and personal development in a global context.

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What is a J-1 Visa?

International students and young professionals wishing to complete an internship in the United States require a J-1 Visa. The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is a public diplomacy program administered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, allowing students and young professionals to complete internships related to their career fields, experience the culture and everyday life in the United States, build personal connections with U.S. citizens and communities, and return to their home countries to share their experiences and skills with their fellow citizens.

Cultural Vistas is officially designated by the U.S. Department of State as an “Exchange Visitor Program Sponsor” for the J-1 Visa. Cultural Vistas is granted the authority to administer J-1 Intern and Trainee programs directly from the U.S. government, meaning that we facilitate exchanges, manage the visa application process, and offer in-country support and guidance to program participants.

Important: All prospective participants wishing to complete an internship in the U.S. must apply for a J-1 visa. You are only able to apply for a J-1 Visa after you have received a “Certificate of Eligibility” (DS-2019 form), which in turn can only be issued by an officially designated Exchange Visitor Program Sponsor such as Cultural Vistas.

The purpose of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is to promote a mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through educational and cultural exchanges. By completing an internship program in your field of study or current profession, you are able to not only build your professional competencies but also to experience the life and culture of the U.S. firsthand.

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How does the Train USA program work?

Cultural Vistas’ Train USA Program provides visa sponsorship in two J-1 Visa categories:

J-1 Intern:
You are currently enrolled in a post-secondary program of study outside the U.S. or will begin your internship within 12 months of your graduation. The length of your U.S. internship can be between 3 weeks and 12 months.

J-1 Trainee:
You have at least one year of work experience in your field outside the U.S. and already possess a post-secondary degree, or you have already completed at least five years of professional work experience in your field outside of the U.S. without a degree. The length of your U.S. internship can be between 3 weeks –18 months.

Application Process:

The first step in the process is to find an internship with a U.S. host company. Once you have agreed with your host company on the duration, content, and compensation for your internship, you may apply to the Train USA program. Please note that Cultural Vistas cannot find an internship placement for you as part of the Train USA program.

After submitting your online application request, a Cultural Vistas representative will grant you access to the online application form. You may then upload all relevant documents, such as university transcripts, proof of English language ability, and information on your host company in the U.S.

The Train USA team will inform both you and your host company of the necessary supporting documents and fees that must be submitted. Upon receipt of these documents and fees, Cultural Vistas will conduct a formal review of the applications to ensure the internship will be beneficial for both you and the host company and that the internship meets the J-1 Visa requirements.

Once your program is approved, Cultural Vistas Inc. will issue the necessary visa documents (including the DS-2019). These documents will be shipped to you via expedited carrier, at which point you may schedule and attend your visa interview at a U.S. consulate or embassy. The final decision on whether you will receive is visa is at the discretion of the U.S. Consulate or Embassy.

Each participant receives an orientation packet with information on applying for the visa, program rules and expectations, as well as useful information and resources for living in the U.S. Cultural Vistas also organizes a wide range of additional cultural activities and events. Your J-1 Visa allows you to remain in the U.S. for up to 30 days before or after your internship, so that you can travel and get to know the many different sides of the country.

Your Individual Training Plan:

Every program is different! Cultural Vistas works with students and young professionals in a wide range of fields of study, as well as U.S. host companies in nearly every industry. Cultural Vistas works closely with your host company to develop your individual training plan. Cultural Vistas’ participants complete internships in small, medium-sized, and large companies in almost every U.S. state.

Program Fees:

Program fees are based on internship length and student status.

For example: a student completing a 3-month internship in the U.S. through Train USA would pay a program fee of $775, $210 for insurance ($70 x 3 months), and the $180 SEVIS fee = total $1,165 paid to Cultural Vistas.

While the application for visa sponsorship will be conducted by our U.S. offices in New York City and/or Washington DC, Cultural Vistas’ European Office in Berlin is happy to guide you through the initial steps and to answer any questions you have during the process (info@culturalvistas.eu).

How Do I Apply:

The Train USA Program is administered by our U.S. headquarters, Cultural Vistas, Inc. To apply, please visit culturalvistas.org/train.  Before applying please carefully read the detailed eligibility requirements for host companies and participants on our main website.