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About the Program

Unlike most international exchange programs which only cater to university students, Cultural Vistas’ Train USA program specifically caters to professionals who already have academic degrees.

If you have already received an internship offer with a host company in the U.S., our Train USA program will enable you to stay in the country for up to 18 months as you gain experience within your professional field through the J-1 Trainee Visa.

Beyond new perspectives in your field, improved language skills, and the enormous potential for personal development, there are many other ways to benefit from a work-based program abroad:

  • Improve the competitiveness of your resume with impressive global experience
  • Expand professional expertise and gain highly in-demand cultural competencies
  • Leave your “comfort zone” and fully immerse yourself into a new culture and environment
  • Build professional knowledge and important “soft skills” which are beneficial across a wide range of fields
  • Gain new career perspectives for your return to Germany

These are the most important eligibility criteria to participate in the Train USA program for candidates with apprenticeship credentials:

  • Have completed an apprenticeship (Berufsausbildung) or acquired relevant work experience resulting in five collective years of full-time professional experience
    • On-the-job experience during an apprenticeship counts towards those five years if it encompassed 32 hours per week, or more, at the workplace
  • Work placement in the U.S. is closely related to professional field
    • Exclusions apply to certain fields, including craft and construction trades; professions that involve patient contact or care of children or the elderly; as well as unskilled professions
Working intern

Career Fields Not Eligible for Intern or Trainee Sponsorship

  • Positions involving more than 20% clerical activity
  • Unskilled labor
  • Flight training
  • Performing arts, including dance instructors
  • Positions involving clinical or medical patient care or contact
  • Child care and sports coaching, including positions at pre-schools and daycare centers, as well as afterschool programs
  • Carpentry, home electricians, or construction trades
  • Programs at camps, residential facilities, hotels, bakeries, retail sites, auto body shops, home-based construction businesses, or home offices
  • Programs involving the use of staffing agencies or unauthorized recruiters

For more information about eligibility requirements, please visit

About the J-1 Visa

Even a short stay or unpaid assignment requires a visa if a trip to the U.S. is not solely for the purpose of travel. For the purposes of professional development, the J-1 Trainee Visa is required and is designed specifically for practical exchanges allowing for a stay of up to 18 months. One of the primary purposes of the J-1 Trainee Visa is to enable experienced professionals to gain new impressions and skills to benefit them back in their home countries.

The J-1 Trainee Visa requires that you have a visa sponsor to ensure that you comply with federal program regulations, to verify that you have a robust training opportunity prepared for your time in the U.S., and to monitor your program while you are in the United States. Cultural Vistas is officially designated by the U.S. Department of State as a visa sponsor for the J-1 Trainee Visa category.

Before a visa is granted, we will evaluate your skills and qualifications as well as the integrity of your host company. A visa can only be granted after the visa sponsor determines that the applicant and host company fulfill the eligibility requirements outlined by the U.S. Department of State. This process of approval by a visa sponsor is always necessary before you can apply for a J-1 visa from a U.S. consulate or embassy in your country.

How to Apply for the J-1 Visa

The first step is to secure a training opportunity at a U.S. host company that fulfills these criteria:

  • Officially registered and functioning business for at least one year
  • Operating within your professional field
  • Has at least five full-time employees at the site where training will take place
  • Has a valid workers’ compensation policy
  • Offers a position consisting of at least 32 hours per week

If your training opportunity in the U.S. fulfills these requirements, we encourage you to request access to the online application of Cultural Vistas’ Train USA program.

Note: If your company in the U.S. has not hosted a J-1 participant with Cultural Vistas in the past two years, they must complete the New Host Company Application Request.

Once your participant and host company applications have been evaluated and it is determined that you meet the requirements for the J-1 Visa, Cultural Vistas will issue the DS-2019 form, which demonstrates to a U.S. consular official that you are eligible to apply for the J-1 Visa. The DS-2019 issued by Cultural Vistas is the prerequisite for applying for the visa at the U.S. consulate or embassy to enable you to enter the U.S. as a trainee.

We are happy to respond to questions regarding your internship opportunity in the United States. Feel free to contact us at with any questions related to the J-1 Visa.

Are you still completing your apprenticeship and would like to complete an internship in the U.S.?

Even those who are still in the process of completing an apprenticeship in Germany have the opportunity to gain practical experience in the U.S. Exchanges specifically for this target group include the Azubis Go USA program of the Joachim-Herz-Stiftung or the Parlamentarisches Patenschafts-Programm für junge Berufstätige (PPP). Additional information on working abroad for German apprentices can be found on the Berufsbildung ohne Grenzen website of the DIHK.


The fees for participation in the Train USA Program depend on the duration of your stay. As an example, the sponsorship fee is $950 for a program duration of up to three months. Please find detailed information about the fees on the Cultural Vistas Train USA website.

Learn more here about the resources and services provided by Cultural Vistas to its Train USA participants!