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 have received e-mails from the J-1 sponsors regarding these visits. The State Department conducted similar visits last spring, 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 this month. Here are a few tips to assist 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 he or she 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 or her rationale for participating in the program (e.g., to gain international perspectives, how it will help the intern/trainee’s career, how the intern/trainee will share his or her experience with his or her home community when he or she returns, etc.).
- Ensure the intern/trainee is prepared to discuss the new skills he or she 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. The Department of State has said that if a participant and his or her supervisor are not available on a given day, they will follow up for a return visit. As there are 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.