J-1 Exchange Visitors: Student Interns

The U.S. Department of State allows students who are enrolled in degree programs at home universities outside the US to be sponsored for internships as J-1 Student Interns in the US. LSU uses the J-1 Student Intern category for undergraduate students from academic institutions outside the US coming to LSU to engage in internship activities. Student interns may participate in a student internship program for up to 12 months for each degree/major. The internship must be full-time, at least 32 hours per week.

The internship may be with or without wages or other compensation. However, the student must provide evidence of funding sufficient to cover all travel, health insurance, and living expenses for the period of internship. The student must have a faculty sponsor at LSU who must agree to train and supervise the student and to provide International Services a copy of the training plan. 

The Student Intern category is complex and requires oversight. We recommend that the host department start the process of requesting the J-1 Student Intern documents from ISO at least 3 months before the intended date of internship.

The LSU faculty sponsor must ensure that:

  • The student is currently enrolled in and pursuing a degree at an accredited postsecondary academic institution outside the United States. 
  • The student is in good academic standing at their home institution outside the US.
  • The student has sufficient finances to support themselves (and any accompanying dependents) for their entire stay in the US, including housing and living expenses.  
  • The student is primarily in the US to engage in a student internship program rather than to engage in employment or provide services to LSU.  
  • The student will return to their academic program outside the United States to fulfill and obtain a degree from such academic institution after completion of the student internship program.
  • The student has verifiable English language skills sufficient to function on a day-to-day basis in the internship environment.

      The sponsor must verify the student's English language ability through: 

  • A sponsor-conducted interview,
  • A recognized English language test, or 
  • Signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school.

  1. Student Intern’s LSU supervisor completes the ISO version of Form DS-7002 (Internship Placement Plan) and forwards to to ISO for review.
  2. Department contact completes J-1 Student Intern Request Form; attaches all documents listed on the J-1 Student Intern Checklist; and forwards to ISO for processing.
  3. ISO issues Form DS-2019 and the final, official Training Plan and returns these forms to the Department to mail to the student intern.
  4. Intern pays SEVIS fee and applies for J-1 visa at the US Consular Office.
  5. Upon arrival at LSU, student intern completes a mandatory check-in with ISO.
  6. Department conducts mandatory evaluations of the intern: one evaluation at the program’s conclusion, plus one midpoint evaluation if the program is longer than six months; and submits a copy to ISO.

The following is a list of documents required to process Form DS-2019 for a prospective Student Intern exchange visitor. This list can also be found on the Student Intern Checklist.

Please submit all documents at the same time to the attention of Loveness Schafer, International Services, 101 Hatcher Hall. Please allow three weeks for processing. Please call Loveness Schafer at 578-3191 if you have questions.

  • J-1 Student Intern Request Form signed by the head of the sponsoring Department
  • Student Internship Placement Plan completed by the Student Intern’s LSU supervisor
  • English Language Assessment and Verification Form
  • Department Agreement Form signed by LSU faculty supervisor and Department head
  • Student Agreement Form signed by the student intern
  • Letter from the student’s academic advisor abroad, verifying that the student is enrolled in and pursuing a degree at an accredited post-secondary academic institution outside the US, and is in good academic standing at their home institution
  • Copy of passport
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Information on the source of funds needed to support the intern during their stay at LSU. One or more of the following must be provided to satisfy this requirement:
    • Approved copy of WorkDay form showing the salary of the intern.
    • A letter from a university, a government agency, or other funding agency or
      sponsor, showing amount of funding and funding dates.
    • Bank letters showing funds available for the period of stay at LSU. The minimum amount of money required for living expenses and insurance is $1,300.00 per month.

For all documents not in English, please attach an English translation. 

Prior to issuing a Form DS-2019 (J-1 Certificate of Eligibility) for the prospective student intern to apply for a J-1 visa at the US Consulate abroad, the program sponsor is required to complete and secure the requisite signatures on Form DS-7002 (Internship Placement Plan). The LSU faculty sponsor must complete the DS-7002 and submit a copy to ISO.

The training plan includes the following:

  • Intended dates of the internship
  • Goals and objectives of the internship
  • Program details including location, contact information, number of hours of work per week, compensation (if any), nature of supervision the intern will receive, and
  • Description of how the student internship will enhance the student’s educational program at their home institution  

ISO will provide an executed copy of the Form DS-7002 to each signatory. 

The faculty sponsor must ensure the following: 

  • Internship tasks consist of no more than 20 percent clerical work. 
  • All tasks assigned to the student are necessary for the completion of the program.
  • The internship exposes the student intern to American techniques, methodologies, and technology, expands upon the student’s existing knowledge and skills, and does not duplicate the student intern's prior experience. 
  • The internship exists solely to assist the student intern in achieving the educational objectives of their current degree program at their home institution and does not serve to fill a labor need. 
  • The internship consists of "work-based learning," rather than ordinary employment or unskilled labor. 
  • The internship does not place the student intern in any position that involves unskilled or casual labor; child care or elder care; aviation; clinical work; or any other work that involves patient care or contact, including any work that would require the student intern to provide therapy, medication, or other clinical or medical care (e.g., sports or physical therapy, psychological counseling, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, social work, speech therapy, or early childhood education).
  • The internship does not involve any activity that could bring the Exchange Visitor Program or the Department of State into notoriety or disrepute. 

The faculty sponsor must conduct a concluding written evaluation of the student intern at the end of the program. For a program lasting more than six months, the faculty sponsor must do a midpoint and a concluding evaluation. A copy of the evaluation must be given to the student and to ISO. 

Student interns are permitted to engage in employment only if such employment is approved by ISO and the student's home institution's dean or academic advisor, and only as outlined on the student’s internship placement form (DS-7002).