The Department of State’s Office of Private Sector Exchange Administration has announced that it will perform site visits to many J-1 Intern and Trainee host organizations beginning this month.  Most individual participants and host organizations will receive emails from the J-1 sponsors regarding these visits. The State Department has conducted similar visits in the past, which generally focused on information gathering and observing the program. These visits were largely considered successful by J-1 program sponsors in demonstrating the value of the cultural exchange.

The State Department will begin the field visits in the coming weeks. Here are a few tips to help host companies and participants prepare for a potential visit:

  • Ensure the J-1 intern/trainee’s supervisor is aware of a potential visit.
  • Ensure the intern/trainee is prepared to discuss how s/he is learning about American culture and how the host company facilitates this aspect of the program.
  • Ensure the intern/trainee is prepared to discuss his/her rationale for participating in the program (e.g., to gain international perspectives, how it will help his/her career, how s/he will share his/her experience with his or her home community upon his or her return, etc.)
  • Ensure the intern/trainee is prepared to discuss the new skills s/he is learning as outlined in the DS-7002.

Based on our current information, Department of State officials will visit as many participants in each region as they are able to visit.  Host companies will not receive advance notice of actual site visits. Generally, if a participant and his/her supervisor are not available on a given day, they will follow-up for a return visit.  As there are over 30,000 J-1 Interns and Trainees in the United States, it is unlikely that the State Department will be able to visit every host company.  However, the host company and J-1 participant(s) should still be prepared for a site visit at all times.