Agent Manual


Welcome to the CETUSA J-1 Trainee and Internship programs! We are pleased that your agency has shown interest in offering career advancement opportunities to career-minded individuals who are seeking to learn American business expertise and gain an understanding of the American way of life.

The purpose of the Agent Manual is to educate your agency about the J-1 Trainee and Internship Program, the types of placements CETUSA offers, an overview of the CETUSA application process from start to finish, and how to become a new partner with CETUSA or renew an existing partner agreement.

Upon completion of this material, you should have the foundation and tools to recruit, evaluate, and provide supporting services to your program applicants to ensure a smooth experience with the program process.

Placement Services: for questions about the available CETUSA positions on our website, applicants, or Host Company eligibility criteria, please contact:

Program Administration: for questions about the application review process, please contact:

Program Monitoring: for questions or concerns during your participant’s program, please contact:

CETUSA Emergency Hotline: 1 (877) 261-6576

  • 22 CFR 62 Exchange Visitor Program Regulations (Program Regulations): The U.S. government regulations guiding our program management. Paragraph 22 CFR 62.22 – Subpart B pertains to J- 1 Trainee/Intern visa categories.
  • United States Department of State, or U.S. State Department, is an executive department of the U.S. federal government responsible for the nation’s foreign policy and international relations. The Exchange Visitor Program is overseen by the U.S. Department of State.
  • Sponsor Organization: A legal entity designated by the Secretary of State to conduct an exchange visitor program. CETUSA is a designated sponsor for J-1 Trainee/Intern programs.
  • Overseas Partner Agency: A legitimate entity within the context of their home country environment operating outside the U.S. Such entity must provide relevant home country documentation, such as a business registration or certification and undergo the vetting process prior to finalizing program partnership. Employees of overseas partner agencies introduce CETUSA programs to local markets, recruit applicants, conduct initial applicant screening and pre-departure orientations, aid in the visa application process, and assist with issues during the program when necessary.
  • Exchange Visitor: A foreign national who has been selected by a sponsor to participate in an exchange visitor program, and who is seeking to enter or has entered the United States temporarily on a non-immigrant J-1 visa or who has obtained J-1 status in the United States based on a Form DS-2019 issued by the sponsor.
  • J-1 Trainee: A trainee must be a foreign national who:
    • Has a degree or professional certificate from a foreign post-secondary academic institution and at least one year of prior related work experience in his or her occupational field outside the United States; or
    • Has five years of work experience outside the United States in the occupational field in which they are seeking training.
    • The maximum duration allowed by the U.S. Department of State for the training program is 18 months. Training in the field of Hospitality and Tourism or Agriculture is limited to 12 months.
  • J-1 Intern: Intern must be a foreign national who:
    • Is currently enrolled in and pursuing studies at a foreign degree- or certificate-granting post-secondary academic institution outside the United States; or
    • Has graduated from such an institution no more than 12 months prior to their exchange visitor program start date.
    • The maximum duration allowed by the U.S. Department of State for an internship in any occupational field is 12 months.
  • J-2 Dependent(s): a spouse or unmarried children (under the age of 21) of a J-1 Trainee/Intern who accompany or later join the J-1 participant(s) in the United States. They apply for a J-2 visa.
  • Program Applicant: a program candidate who is applying for a J-1 Trainee/Intern visa with CETUSA program sponsorship.
  • Program Participant: a sponsored program applicant who has received their Form DS-2019 from CETUSA and is either applying for the J-1 Exchange Visitor visa or has arrived on the program.
  • Host Company: a sponsor-approved business in the U.S. that conducts J-1 Trainee/Intern programs for Exchange Visitors on behalf of a designated sponsor, pursuant to an executed written agreement between the two parties.
  • Site Visit to Host Company: a sponsor must conduct site visits to new host companies that have not previously participated successfully in the sponsor’s program and that have fewer than 25 employees or less than $3 million in annual revenue.
  • Form DS-7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan (Training Plan): a controlled document of the U.S. Department of State. This form states specific goals and objectives for the J-1 Trainee/Intern program and details the knowledge, skills, or techniques to be learned by the J-1 Trainee/Intern during their program. It is signed by the program sponsor (CETUSA), the program participant, and the Host Company.
  • Form DS-2019: a controlled document of the Department of State that a sponsor issues to a potential Exchange Visitor Program participant and his or her accompanying spouse and dependents as permitted by regulations. This form, together with other necessary Department of State documents, permits the named foreign national, if required, to schedule an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate to seek to obtain a J-1 visa to enter the United States as an Exchange Visitor Program participant or as an accompanying spouse and dependent.
  • Form DS-160: the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form is for temporary travel to the United States. This form is submitted electronically to the Department of State website via the Internet prior to scheduling the visa interview appointment.
  • Site of Activity: The physical, geographic host company location where an Exchange Visitor participates in his or her exchange program. Site of activity must be correctly entered in SEVIS.
  • SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System): An online system that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses to maintain information on the Student and Exchange Visitor Program. Your DS-2019 is generated through the SEVIS system, and we are required to keep SEVIS records up to date if there are changes to your address, financial information, or training program.
  • SEVIS ID: a unique identifier assigned to your participant by the government when sponsorship is approved, and their SEVIS record is created. A SEVIS ID number starts with the letter N followed by 10 digits. On the DS-2019 form, the number is on the top right-hand side of the page.
  • I-901 (SEVIS fee receipt): a fee mandated by U.S. Congress to support the program office and automated system (explained in the above term) that keeps track of students and exchange visitors and ensures that they maintain their status while in the United States. All participants must pay the I-901 SEVIS fee after sponsorship is granted. The payment is associated with the participant’s SEVIS ID issued for the program. 
  • United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): a federal government agency which exclusively focuses on immigration and citizenship services.
  • DHS (Department of Homeland Security): a federal government agency charged with protecting the borders of the United States and its territories. USCIS is a component of DHS.
  • United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP): a federal law enforcement agency of DHS and is the country’s primary border control organization. It is charged with regulating and facilitating international trade, collecting import duties, and enforcing U.S. regulations, including trade, customs, and immigration.
  • Port of entry: a designated location where an Exchange Visitor enters the U.S. territory. It is a point where immigration and customs officials inspect and authorize the entry of foreign travelers and their belongings into the country. In the United States, ports of entry can be located at airports, seaports, and land borders, and are typically staffed by officers from U.S.
  • Customs and Border Protection (CBP): At a port of entry, travelers are required to present their travel documents, including passports and visas, and may be subject to additional questioning and inspection.
  • U.S. Customs Declaration Form 6059B: this form is used to report and identify residence of each person arriving in the U.S. and declare imported articles to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Generally, written
    declarations are required from travelers arriving by air or sea and verbal declarations are required from travelers arriving by land.
  • Form I-515A: if you enter the U.S. without your required documents or with unsigned or missing information, the CBP officer may issue you a Form I-515A, which allows you temporary entry to the U.S. for 30 days. Issuance of I-515A is at the discretion of the CBP officer. Within 30 days, you must submit your I-515A and supporting documents to the U.S. government, otherwise your SEVIS record will be terminated.
  • Grace Period: USCIS allows participants a 30-day travel period commonly referred to as the “Grace Period”. During the 30-day grace period (before and after the participant’s program dates), participants are not in J-1 visa status and are under the jurisdiction of USCIS. Participants are not authorized to start or continue training plan activities within their Host Company. Participants are encouraged to travel within the U.S, but it is not recommended they travel beyond the U.S. borders as they may not be permitted reentry.
  • Form I-94: an official arrival and departure record which documents your participant’s legal entry into the U.S., their specific immigration status, and how long they can stay in the U.S. Their record can be accessed here through the government website.
  • Social Security Number (SSN): a nine-digit number issued to U.S. citizens, permanent resident, and temporary (working) residents issued by the Social Security Administration. It is a national identification number for taxation and other purposes.
  • IRS: Internal Revenue Service. The agency that enforces tax laws and collects taxes for the U.S. government.
  • Federal Income Tax: taxes paid to the U.S. government by all income earners, including exchange visitors in J-1 Trainee/Intern programs.
  • State Income Tax: taxes on income earned in a state. State income tax generally funds state budgets rather than the federal government. J-1 Trainees/Interns may be subject to pay state income taxes.
  • Local Income Tax: taxes enacted by cities, counties, local government, and school districts. J-1 Trainees/Interns may be subject to pay local income taxes.
  • Social Security Tax: a tax that is levied on both employers and employees to fund the Social Security program in the U.S. Non-immigrant visa holders who are classified by the IRS as “nonresident aliens” are not subject to this tax deduction.
  • Medicare Tax: a federal employment tax that funds a portion of the Medicare insurance program. Non-immigrant visa holders who are classified by the IRS as “nonresident aliens” are not subject to this tax deduction.
  • Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA): a U.S. federal law that imposes a federal employer tax used to help fund state workforce agencies. Non-immigrant visa holders who are classified by the IRS as “nonresident aliens” are not subject to this tax deduction.

As stated in 22 CFR 62.22, the primary purpose of both Trainee and Internship programs is to enhance the skills and expertise of Exchange Visitors in their academic or occupational fields through participation in structured and guided work-based training and internship programs; and, to improve a participant’s knowledge of American techniques, methodologies, and technology. A key goal of the Fulbright-Hays Act, which authorizes the J-1 programs, is that the exchange visitor will return to their home country upon completion of their program and share their experiences with their countrymen.

Your business plays a crucial role in advancing the priorities of U.S. foreign policy through its participation in the Exchange Visitor Program. The J-1 program has several key objectives, which include:

  • Cultivating positive international relationships.
  • Establishing a global network of individuals who appreciate American values and culture.
  • Exposing U.S. residents to fresh ideas and perspectives from around the world.
  • Offering foreign nationals valuable educational and cultural experiences in the U.S., which they can take back to their home countries.
  • Encouraging educational and cultural exchanges between the U.S. and other nations.
  • Fostering mutual understanding among individuals from different countries through cultural and educational exchanges.

As stated in 22 CFR 66.22, these programs are strictly designed for on-the-job training and supervised learning; they are not meant for ordinary employment or merely gaining additional work experience. There is a difference between training and gaining additional work experience which is not allowed on this visa program. Training is structured and guided learning where the participants will learn and develop new skills. Work, or ordinary employment, fulfils a core function at a business with minimal supervision. The J-1 Trainee/Intern visa is a cultural exchange visa; it is not a work visa. Participants accepting employment outside of an approved training/internship while on the program is strictly prohibited and illegal.

A program participant who engages in unauthorized employment will be in violation of his or her program status and is subject to termination as a participant in an Exchange Visitor Program.

As the designated sponsor, CETUSA is responsible for monitoring all aspects of the program, including orientation, placement, and periodic evaluations to confirm compliance. CETUSA also supports your participants throughout their stay and ensures their health, safety, and welfare. The information below explains CETUSA’s role in program administration:

  • Provide program applicants and participants with appropriate program information, program regulations, prearrival, and area-specific information.
  • Screen applicants to ensure they meet either trainee or intern program eligibility as defined in program regulation 22 CFR 62.22.
  • Ensure that program applicants have verifiable English language skills sufficient to function on a day-to-day basis in their training.
  • Ensure that program applicants are appropriately selected for the programs they are placed in, oriented, supervised, and evaluated.
  • Ensure placements are suitable for program participant’s educational / professional backgrounds and career advancement levels.
  • Ensure that training/internship programs provide a balance between learning opportunities and contributions to the organizations in which program participants are placed.
  • Ensure that the training/internship programs are full-time (minimum of 32 hours a week).
  • Screen host companies to ensure they are legitimate business entities and that they possess sufficient resources, plant, equipment, and trained personnel available to provide the specified training/internship program.
  • Ensure that host companies provide continuous on-site supervision and mentoring of program participants by experienced and knowledgeable staff. Remote training is not allowed.
  • Ensure that placement of its program participants will not displace full-time, part-time, seasonal, or permanent American workers, or serve to fill a labor need.
  • Ensure that the positions that program applicants fill exist primarily to assist them in achieving the objectives of their participation in training and internship programs.
  • Provide Certificate of Eligibility, Form DS-2019 to agent upon sponsorship approval and full payment of appropriate program fees.
  • Secure sickness and accident insurance for program participants, at minimum for the duration of the program.
  • Provide guidance to program participants on how to secure appropriate housing, as needed.
  • Ensure all program participants receive an orientation and an Area Guide.
  • Monitor program by means of monthly check-in emails, written evaluations, and site visits.
  • Provide program support services including a toll-free 24-hour emergency telephone support line.
  • Always be available to program participants (and host organizations, as appropriate) to assist as facilitators, counselors, and information resources.

CETUSA can sponsor training/internship programs outside its own organization if a business meets program requirements and agrees to facilitate training according to program regulations and foster cultural exchange in their workplace. As a result, CETUSA delegates training to a wide range of businesses across the U.S. in different industries who agree to host CETUSA-sponsored international interns and trainees.

As a designated program sponsor, CETUSA is required to screen and closely monitor every Host Company that intends to host a J-1 program participant. An eligible Host Company must provide the exchange visitor in-office, supervised training at their business location. The supervisor is one of the most important people in the participant’s program; they should be interested in providing a professional mentorship in facilitating cultural exchange with the participant and Host Company staff.

Not every company is eligible to act as a host for the programs. CETUSA applies stringent criteria when screening potential hosts to ensure compliance with program regulations. Companies that have negative publicity, poor employee reviews, history of lawsuits, or otherwise that could bring the Exchange Visitor Program or the Department into notoriety or disrepute will not be approved for CETUSA sponsorship.

CETUSA screens host companies through:

  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) review
  • Reviewing company website and business activity
  • Confirming the number of J-1 trainees or interns currently training at the site of activity
  • Verifying the Workers’ Compensation Policy (WCP) or exemption status
  • CETUSA’s Supervisor Orientation
  • Reviewing evaluation feedback from previous J-1 participants

To engage in the program, host companies must:

  • Abide by Department of State program regulations and CETUSA guidelines.
  • Have sufficient resources, facilities, equipment, and qualified personnel available for training the program participant.
  • Provide continuous onsite supervision and mentoring to the program participant.
  • Abide by all federal, state, and local occupational health and safety laws.
  • Provide full-time hours (32-40 hours a week).
  • Provide professional level positions that do not involve more than 20% of clerical duties.
  • Not place the program participant in unskilled or casual labor positions as defined in 22 CFR 62.22.
  • Sign and follow the Training Plan, Form DS-7002.
  • Complete mandatory Midpoint and Final Evaluations on time.
  • Assist CETUSA in communicating with the program participant, if requested.
  • Ensure the program participant obtains skills, knowledge, and competencies through structured and guided activities, which may include classroom training, seminars, departmental rotations, on- the-job training, and other similar activities.
  • Notify CETUSA immediately of any concerns, changes in, or deviations from the DS-7002 Training Plan.
  • Notify CETUSA immediately in the event of any emergency involving the program participant or if they leave the program for any reason.
  • Not use this program for the following purposes: a substitute for ordinary employment or work, displacement of American workers, duplicating a program participant’s prior work experience, or a means for the participant to change their J-1 status to another visa status.
  • Notify CETUSA if the program participant accepts work outside their J-1 program.
  • Provide a valid copy of the Worker’s Compensation Policy confirming coverage for the participant and appropriate renewal of the policy upon its expiration. If applicable, provide CETUSA evidence of state exemption
    from the requirement coverage.
  • Report and pay applicable state, federal, and local employment taxes as required in the IRS Employer Tax Guide and Publication 515 and recognize that program participants are considered non-resident aliens who are not subject to Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes or federal unemployment tax (FUTA).
  • Allow CETUSA to conduct a site visit, if necessary, under U.S. Department of State regulations.
  • Organize and encourage cultural activity opportunities for the program participant including but not limited to holiday celebrations, team building activities, potlucks, local festivals, performances, etc.

Any involvement with a staffing/employment agency to recruit, screen, orient, place, evaluate, or train trainees or interns, or in any other way involve such agencies in in the J-1 Trainee/Intern program is strictly prohibited.

CETUSA expects that all program participants behave and present themselves in a professional and mature manner. Doing the following will help them have a beneficial experience both before and during their program:

  • Closely follow CETUSA Program Terms and Conditions.
  • Promptly respond to CETUSA monthly check-in emails.
  • Promptly complete midpoint and/or final evaluations.
  • Maintain Lawful Non-Immigrant Status in the U.S. throughout their program.
  • Communicate effectively with CETUSA, your agency, and their Host Company.
  • Follow company rules and policies (e.g., calling-in sick, requesting vacation time off).
  • Be punctual, avoid arriving late to their training schedule.
  • Don’t be afraid to voice concern; if they have any issues, please contact CETUSA staff and/or their agency representative (if applicable).
  • Be a cultural ambassador by sharing their culture with others while on the program; their host company will benefit from learning more about them and their home country.
  • Engage with local community, activities, and culture.
  • Remember that their safety comes first; immediately report any safety concerns to CETUSA Staff.

Our program partners help us deliver a message of cultural exchange in their local markets, which in turn promotes greater dialogue, exchange of professional knowledge, and a goal of strengthening cooperation between our countries.

We value every partner agency’s effort in representing CETUSA programs, and we strive for efficient program management to ensure that our program applicants receive the best service from both of our teams. Our partner agencies are responsible for:

  • Conducting outreach to potential applicants in their local markets.
    • Marketing programs to university students or graduates with professional experience.
    • Cross-marketing programs to previous participants of other study abroad programs.
    • Promoting programs on agency’s website and their social media outlet.
    • Conducting in-person presentations to target audiences.
  • Identifying eligible applicants.
    • Interviewing all potential applicants to ensure applicant’s eligibility and suitability for the program.
    • Evaluating applicant academic and/or professional background.
    • Explaining applicant documentation required to apply.
    • Understanding applicant’s program motivation and their after-program plans to ensure they plan to return home upon completion of their training or internship.
  • Evaluating English skills
    • Interviewing prospective applicants in English prior to recommending them to CETUSA to ensure advanced English knowledge, approximately equivalent to SLEP test score 63, TOEFL paper 550, TOEFL computer 213, TOEIC 750, or IBT 80.
    • If using a scale of 1 (beginner) to 10 (fluent) an applicant should score 7.5 out of 10.
  • Providing accurate program information on the agency and CETUSA’s program services.
    • Program information must clearly explain program activities and terms and conditions of the program. This includes the terms and conditions of activities such as internship or training goals and objectives, hours, stipend, and other pertinent information.
    • Program conditions and restrictions must be explained, as well as the importance of the cultural components of the program.
    • Explain CETUSA’s services and role in the program. CETUSA is here to help monitor the participant’s health, safety, and well-being during their entire program.
  • Setting realistic expectations for those who are seeking placement assistance.
    • Review CETUSA Placement Frequently Asked Questions together with your applicant.
  • Providing transparent information on your agency and CETUSA’s program fees and the refund terms before requiring applicants to pay non-refundable fees.
    • All program costs must be itemized with transparency as to the fees being paid to the sponsor, the fees being paid to the agent, insurance costs, and other typical costs such as visa application fees, I-901 SEVIS fee, transfer and extension fees, Form DS-2019 reissue fee, and approximate airfare.
    • Make your applicant aware that the stipend they will receive may not cover all expenses and that they must have additional personal funds available to meet such expenses.
  • Ensuring that all applicants are financially prepared for the program at the time of applying.
    • All program fees and accident and sickness insurance must be paid in full upon the invoice receipt.
    • The application review will not be completed and Form DS-2019 will not be emailed prior to invoice payment confirmation.
  • Helping applicants identify their training / internship program goals and objectives and expressing them in their Curriculum Vitae and CETUSA program application.
    • Providing guidance on writing and editing their professional resume and statement of intent section completion, when necessary.
  • Make applicant aware that sponsorship with CETUSA is not guaranteed.
    • Even if the applicant’s sponsorship is approved, it is the U.S. consular staff that makes the final decision regarding the J-1 visa and ability to travel on the program. For this reason, applicants should not quit their current job, buy flights, or pay any rental deposits until their J-1 visa is granted by the U.S. Embassy/Consulate, and they receive their passport back.
  • Explaining application process and helping prepare and submit application documents.
    • Prompt application submission. The preliminary eligibility screening for unplaced applicants does not mean the applicant’s documents are fully approved. Additional documents may be requested to help strengthen the sponsorship application once the placement is confirmed.
  • Acting as a liaison between CETUSA and the applicant during the application process.
    • Prepare the applicant for the CETUSA video conferencing interview (See the CETUSA agent resources). The purpose of this call is to check the applicant’s preparedness for the program and visa interview. Failure to prepare your applicant for CETUSA’s video conference call may result in their application cancellation and fees charged to your agency.
  • Verifying accuracy and authenticity of applicant’s documents and their English translation (if applicable).
    • Ensuring to the extent possible the accuracy of English translation provided; any falsified documents will result in application cancellation.
    • Verify documents before submitting them to CETUSA. We expect that your agency will use your local expertise to help vet all application documents for accuracy and authenticity. All documents must meet the criteria mentioned in the above section.
  • Maintaining close contact with the CETUSA office on all matters involving agency applicants and sponsored participants.
    • Prompt communication. We expect to receive a response from your agency within 1–2 business days. We appreciate acknowledgement of receiving our email and understand that it may take some time to answer our question or obtain an extra document.
  • Facilitating the program fee payment upon receipt of the invoice.
    • Ensuring all relevant fees are paid in a timely fashion to CETUSA as required by the terms of the program.
  • Providing instructions or assistance in paying the SEVIS fee.
    • Ensure participants understand that the fee is non-refundable and must be paid prior to the visa interview date.
    • The I-901 SEVIS fee payment receipt is valid up to 12 months from the date of payment. If an applicant is denied a visa and plans to reapply, they do not have to pay this fee again.
    • If J-2 Dependents are applying for visa, they will use the same SEVIS fee payment receipt.
  • Assisting in scheduling and preparing applicants for their non-immigrant, J-1 visa interview appointment.
    • Notifying CETUSA of the participant’s visa interview date, interview result, and intended arrival dates as soon as each becomes available.
    • Review Visa Interview Tips your applicant for the visa interview (see the CETUSA agent resources)
  • Providing a pre-departure orientation to all sponsored program participants.
  • Coordinating flights and updating CETUSA staff with flight information at least 1 week prior to U.S. arrival.
  • Ensuring that the participant understands that the Department of State and CETUSA do not condone in country changes of status and that they must return home at the end of their program.
  • Helping in addressing participant issues during the program when requested by CETUSA staff.

CETUSA can sponsor training or internship programs in a variety of industries and businesses, within the following occupational fields:

  • Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing
  • Education, Social Sciences, Library Science
  • Information Media and Communications
  • Public Administration and Law
  • Arts and Culture
  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • Management, Business, Commerce, and Finance
  • The Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics, and Industrial Occupations

CETUSA does not hold the designation to sponsor programs in Construction and Building Trades, Health- Related Occupations, or Counseling or Social Services.

The following types of programs are not eligible for sponsorship: unskilled or casual labor positions, positions that require or involve childcare or elder care, or in clinical or any other kind of work that involves patient care or patient contact. This includes any work that would require trainees or interns to provide therapy, medication, or other clinical or medical care (e.g., sports or physical therapy, psychological counseling), nursing, hairdressers, dentistry, veterinary medicine or animal care, social work, speech therapy, early childhood education. Quick service restaurants and other counter service positions are also prohibited.

SEVIS stands for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, which is a web-based system used by the U.S. government to manage and track data on non-immigrant students and exchange visitors (F, J, M visa categories), as well as their dependents, who are participating in educational and cultural exchange programs in the U.S. 

When a participant’s application for sponsorship is approved, CETUSA submits their program information to SEVIS and creates a PDF record, Form DS-2019 “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status,” for the participant’s program, which they also need to apply for their J-1 visa.

CETUSA is granted access to SEVIS by the U.S. government under conditions to maintain the accuracy of its participants’ SEVIS records, with a requirement to update if changes occur in:

  • Form DS-7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan: changes in the training site address or the supervisor, changes in the training duration or content of the training.
  • Changes to the participant’s living address or contact information.
  • Program termination or program shortening.
  • Substantial changes in funding.

These reporting obligations are designed to ensure that the U.S. government has accurate and up-to-date information on J-1 Trainees/Interns participating in exchange programs, and that these individuals are complying with the terms of their visas. Failure to comply with SEVIS reporting requirements can result in penalties and other sanctions for designated sponsors.

CETUSA takes every measure to ensure integrity of its participants’ SEVIS records and requests that you help us maintain compliance by prompt notification should any program changes occur.

Program Requirements

Passports, Visas, Form DS-2019, and Arrival/Departure Records (admission stamp or Form I-94) are official travel documents that participants coming to the U.S. must have in their possession to show their country of citizenship and legal status in the U.S. as J-1 Exchange Visitors. Program participants will receive many important program documents, and it’s important for you to know about the following documents and how they relate to your responsibilities as a host company.

  • Passport: participants should have a valid passport for the duration of their training program. The name listed on the passport should match the name on their Form DS-2019.
  • Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for J-1 Exchange Visitor Status): once applicants are approved for sponsorship, CETUSA issues their Form DS-2019, which allows them to apply for the J-1 visa. This document also permits participants to train/intern with your company. In addition, it provides information about your business and site of activity, identifies CETUSA as the program sponsor, and states the time period that the participant is legally permitted to train/intern in the U.S.
  • The J-1 Visa: the J-1 visa stamp is issued in participants’ passports if they are approved for the J-1 visa by a consular officer at a U.S. Consulate abroad. The J-1 visa allows participants to enter and re-enter the U.S. to complete their training/internship program. The visa does not determine the length of time individuals may legally remain in the U.S. The visa expiration date is the last day that participants can use their visa to enter the U.S. Therefore, their visa expiration date might be different from the dates on their Form DS-2019. The program end date in Section 3 of their Form DS-2019 is the last day they can train with your host company.
  • I-94 Arrival/Departure Record: upon entry, participants are issued a Form I-94 Arrival/Departure record. This document serves as proof of legal entry into the U.S. and is required for various purposes, such as applying for a Social Security number or a driver’s license. The CBP website allows participants to download their Form I-94 within hours of their U.S. arrival. If their information isn’t reflected 48 hours after U.S. arrival, it is possible there is a system error, or the data is there, but formatted differently than it was entered. CETUSA provides instructions to participants on how to address issues with retrieving their Form I-94. CBP troubleshoot tips can be found here.
  • Form DS-7002 Training Plan: this document outlines the training/internship program that your company will provide. The training plan must be followed closely, and any changes to the plan must be approved by CETUSA before implementing them.
  • Host Company Agreement: a fully executed agreement outlining the relationship between CETUSA and your company while hosting the program.

The Exchange Visitor Trainee/Intern program categories are privately funded programs and do not receive any financial assistance from the government. The funding to support visitors on a J-1 visa primarily comes from fees and payments made by the program applicants to CETUSA for the programs for which they are sponsored.

The fees help cover operational costs for the sponsor organization’s program services only. Program fees do not include any allowance for your participant’s international or domestic travel or living expenses incurred while in the U.S.

CETUSA must ensure that program applicants have sufficient funds to meet their living expenses for the duration of the program. The minimum funding requirements for CETUSA Trainee/Intern program participants are:

  • $2,000 arrival / emergency funds, available at the time of arrival to cover start-up living expenses. These costs include but are not limited to temporary lodging, first month’s rent, rental security deposit, mobile phone, transportation, food, and supplies.
  • $2,000 per month on the program (stipend, scholarship, personal savings, or a combination thereof).
  • An additional $1000 per month for each J-2 Dependent (if applicable).

The required funding may be assessed at a higher rate for programs located in cities with higher cost of living.

CETUSA typically requires that host companies provide compensation to program participants and closely follow Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) guidelines when considering unpaid or less-than minimum wage internships.

In addition to personal funds and the host company stipend, each program applicant may apply for additional funding sources such as scholarships, grants, or funding from an outside organization or their home country government, all of which must be disclosed to CETUSA at the time of applying.

Very few host companies have employee housing available or offer help to program participants in their housing search. If housing is not provided by the Host Company, it is the participant’s responsibility to find and secure their own housing in the U.S. Your agency’s role is to discuss housing arrangements with your participants and make sure that they are prepared for an independent housing search which should begin before their departure. The CETUSA Participant Handbook Housing section offers detailed information on various housing options and rental terms, as well as guidance on how participants can secure their own housing. Please review this information together and inquire how your
participant plans to approach the housing search and where they will stay upon arrival to the U.S.

If the housing is provided by the host company, the participant should review the Housing Form to make sure that the participant knows their housing terms as well as the cost of their security deposit and first month’s rent, which they are expected to pay upon move-in.

CETUSA is required to ensure that all program participants (as well as their accompanying spouses and dependents) have adequate insurance coverage for the complete duration of their programs. The policy, at minimum, must include
the following benefits:

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness.
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000.
  • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000.
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.

Accident and Sickness insurance is included in your participant’s program package. CETUSA is not their insurance provider but will enroll them in an insurance policy before their program start date. CETUSA does not accept substitute insurance policies that are managed by the participants themselves. The accident and sickness insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions. If a participant has a pre-existing condition, we recommend that they look into purchasing additional insurance coverage. Please review the CETUSA agent resources for detailed information regarding the accident and sickness
coverage benefits and exclusions.

Participants are covered by insurance for their program dates as reflected on their Form DS-2019 only. CETUSA recommends participants to buy additional insurance coverage for their grace period month(s) if they plan to arrive before the program begin date or remain in the U.S. after their program end date. However, the grace period insurance coverage is optional. If the participant does not have grace period insurance and requires medical attention, they will be required to pay all medical expenses out of pocket. Please note that medical costs are extremely expensive in the U.S.

Program Application

CETUSA offers two application types, Self-Placement and CETUSA Placement which are distinguished by applicant’s training or internship offer status. CETUSA’s ability to provide a sponsorship decision requires evaluation of relevant documents of both – the applicant and their host company. Program applicants with confirmed programs must submit their Host Company documents along with their DS-7002 Training Plan draft.

Those applicants who are yet to secure their internship or training placement may consider CETUSA Placement positions available on our website. If they wish to be considered by the hiring manager and partake in the interview process, they must first submit trainee or intern category application documents for CETUSA screening.

This application type is for program applicants whose host companies have been identified and who apply with confirmed training/internship placements.

In addition to the applicant’s portion of documents, their host company’s documents must be provided as well. Once all required documents are uploaded on the applicant’s record in the CETUSA database, their application status will turn to ‘Application Ready’. This will notify CETUSA to begin the review process.

Should you have any questions or concerns regarding your applicant or host company’s eligibility, please email the resume and host company information to a CETUSA Program Administrator for pre-review. This screening practice helps reduce application cancellations.

We are constantly looking for ways to make the application process for J-1 visa sponsorship as easy and efficient as possible; however, you should advise the program applicants to allow 2-4 weeks for the application process completion.
A rush processing option is available which guarantees application review in 3 business days (after payment receipt).

The information below summarizes the process and steps required for a self-placement application submission. Please consult the “How to Apply for Sponsorship – Submitting Application Documents” section of the Participant Handbook for detailed descriptions of required application documents that are mentioned in Step 1 below.

Step 1: Agent Submits the Following to the CETUSA Database:
  • Applicant Documents
    • Passport Copy
    • Proof of Education
    • CV
    • Participant Handbook Receipt & Funding Disclosure
    • Application (downloadable file)
    • Proof of Work Experience (trainees only)
  • Host Company Documents
    • Form DS-7002 (completed)
    • Host Company Agreement (signed)
    • Worker’s Compensation Policy Certificate

*For more details about the required host company documents, please contact CETUSA.

Step 2: CETUSA Program Administrator Reviews Applicant Files, and…
  • Feedback is provided.
  • Document correction and clarification may be requested.
  • Additional application documents may be requested.
Step 3: CETUSA Program Administrator Screens Host Company, and…
  • Additional host company documents may be requested.
Step 4: CETUSA Program Administrator Completes Application Review, and…
  • Invoice is issued to the agency.
  • Applicant and supervisor interviews are conducted.
  • A site visit may be conducted (if applicable).
  • Application review completed.
  • Sponsorship decision is provided to your agency.
  • Acceptance packet, including signed Form DS-2019 is emailed to the participant.

Program applicants who do not have a confirmed internship or training in the U.S. and who are seeking placement assistance can apply for CETUSA Placement program options available within their occupational field. These are prescreened positions from host companies that expressed interest in hosting international interns and trainees or have successfully hosted programs in the past. All current available positions can be viewed on our website.

Each program offer has a number assigned for identification. When you wish to recommend your program applicant for a specific position, please send CETUSA Placement Services an email identifying your applicant’s name and the position number. Applicants can apply for multiple positions within their occupational field to increase their chances of a follow up interview and a placement offer.

CETUSA wishes to verify every applicant’s program eligibility prior to arranging placement interviews. For this reason, the applicant’s necessary documents must be submitted and screened for eligibility verification before they can be
recommended for placement consideration.

Selected candidates will be scheduled for a Skype, Zoom, or phone interview with the hiring manager of the selected host company. Before the interview, the applicant will be provided with additional company and position details. They are also encouraged to ask the hiring manager any unanswered questions regarding the position during the interview. Upon a successful interview, a Placement Offer Letter will be provided for signature, which confirms the applicant’s program selection and agreement to its terms. A program cancellation fee will apply to the agency if the applicant cancels after the signed offer letter is submitted, via database or email, to CETUSA.

If the hiring manager decides not to interview the applicant or if the interview does not result in an offer, the applicant can refer to our website for other program options or continue an independent position search on their own.

While we attempt to accommodate every screened applicant with a program position according to their occupational field, it is the hiring manager who makes the final decision on their trainee or intern selection and not every applicant will
be matched with a program.

Paid internships and training opportunities are competitive, especially in business, marketing, science, and technology industries. Those applicants who invest time in perfecting their resume, highlighting their skills and accomplishments, and who thoroughly prepare for their interview are more likely to secure programs of their choice.

If housing is not provided by the host company, it is the applicant’s responsibility to find and secure their own housing. The applicant should review the CETUSA Participant Handbook to learn more about how housing works in the U.S. The
applicant should not make any housing plans or pay any housing fees until their J-1 visa is granted and they receive their passport back.

If the applicant will be accompanied by a J-2 spouse or child, you must notify the CETUSA Staff of their plans as this may limit the placement prospects and will require additional eligibility documents prior to sponsorship approval. For additional information on required documents for J-2 Dependents, please review the Participant Handbook J-2 Dependent resource in the CETUSA agent resources.

Please review CETUSA Placement Frequently Asked Questions (see the CETUSA agent resources) for additional information about the placement process.

The information below will provide you with an understanding of the process and steps required for a CETUSA placement application. Please consult the Submitting Application Documents section for detailed descriptions of required application documents that are mentioned in Step 1 below.

Step 1: Agent Submits the Following to the CETUSA Database:
  • Applicant Documents
    • Passport Copy
    • Proof of Education
    • CV
    • Participant Handbook Receipt & Funding Disclosure
    • Application (downloadable file)
    • Proof of Work Experience (trainees only)
Step 2: CETUSA Placement Coordinator Reviews Applicant Files, and...
  • Feedback is provided.
  • Document correction and clarification may be requested.
  • Additional application documents may be requested.
  • Applicant’s trainee/internship program eligibility is confirmed.
Step 3: The Applicant goes Through the Placement Process, and...
  • Agent advises applicant on available positions for CETUSA Placement programs.
  • Agent notifies CETUSA Placement Staff on applicant position selections.
  • CETUSA Placement Staff shares applicant’s CV with the host company.
  • CETUSA Placement Staff advise the agent if the hiring manager is interested in the applicant.
  • CETUSA Placement Staff coordinates applicant’s interview scheduling with the agent.
  • CETUSA Placement Staff obtain feedback and share results with the agent.
    • If no offer is made, the placement process continues.
    • If the offer is made, a CETUSA Placement Offer Letter is provided.
  • Agent assists in obtaining signed CETUSA Placement Offer Letter.
    • The agent will notify the staff if the applicant declines or accepts the placement offer.
    • Once accepted, the signed offer letter should be uploaded to the CETUSA database.
    • Upon signed offer letter submission via database or email, a cancellation fee will apply.
Step 4: CETUSA Program Administrator Completes Application Review, and…
  • Invoice is issued to the agency.
  • CETUSA program administrator provides agent completed and approved Form DS-7002 for applicant’s review and signature.
  • CETUSA program administrator ensures that all host company documents are collected and satisfactory.
  • Applicant interviews are conducted.
  • Host Company completes Supervisor Orientation. 
  • A site visit will be conducted (if required)
  • Application review is completed.
  • Invoice payment confirmation.
  • Sponsorship decision is provided to your agency.
  • Acceptance packet, including signed Form DS-2019 is emailed to the participant.

CETUSA uses a proprietary system to manage application documents. After completing the new agent onboarding process, your agency will be assigned an agency account for you and your additional staff, if requested. All application documents must be submitted to the database through your agency’s account access. Once an applicant’s profile is created, which is the first step of the application process, the applicant is sent an automated email with instructions prompting them to access their newly created application file. This is optional but recommended especially for those who wish to sign their application file digitally, as the database offers this feature for the applicant user. The dual application file access also enables the applicant to add files, correct and verify information for accuracy, and add their visa appointment date when it is booked.

Please view the training video on how to use CETUSA database.

If you have additional questions about how to use the database, please contact Program Administration.

As demonstrated in the database instructional video, to start a new application you will need to access your agency account in our database by completing the following:

  • Step 1: create applicant’s profile (biographical information, living address, emergency contact).
  • Step 2: select ‘Apply for Trainee & Internship Program’ from the pull-down menu, select preferred program dates, complete all sections on the Application To-Do List, and upload supporting application documents.

Below are the required application documents for both Trainee/Intern program applicants:

Copy of Passport
  • Only the biographic page should be submitted. 
  • Passport must remain valid for the duration of their program.
  • Six-month validity may be required for countries not on the Six-Month Club list.
Proof of Education
  • If graduated, applicants must submit a copy of your diploma/degree. For recent graduates without a degree, a confirmation letter from the university might suffice. 
  • If still enrolled, applicants must submit a university enrollment letter that specifies “full-time”, “bonafide”, or “regular” status. 
  • Sponsorship is limited to in-classroom academic degree programs. Vocational or online educational programs are excluded. 
  • Additional transcripts may be requested to confirm program nature and full-time student status. 
Proof of Work Experience (trainee applicants only)
  • A work reference letter(s) from the applicant’s previous (or current) employer(s) outside the U.S. This foreign professional experience must be directly related to the training field. Additionally, it must:
    • Be written on a company letterhead.
    • Reference position title and list of duties.
    • State exact start and end dates of employment.
    • Be signed and dated by an employee of the company.
    • Confirm that the applicant’s work experience was full-time, minimum 32 hours per week (if your experience coincided with their educational background). 
    • Show at least one year of relevant experience (if the applicant has a degree). 
    • Show at least 5 years of relevant, full-time work experience (if the applicant does not have a degree). 
  • If the applicant has multiple employers, all letters must add up to a total of at least 12 months.
  • An offer letter of employment cannot be used as a substitute for a work reference letter. 
Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Up-to-date, professional, and with contact info.
  • Dates should align with supporting documents.
  • Optional 2–3-minute introductory video link might be requested.
  • Review the sample resume for reference on a suggested format (see CETUSA participant resources).
  • This is a generated summary of all completed sections of the application to-do list. A red banner will appear on the main page of the applicant’s profile on the CETUSA database. 
  • You can initial and sign your application directly by accessing your online application.
  • Must be initialed by you (left margin), with the last page signed and dated.
  • CETUSA does not accept check marks or ‘X’ in place of initials. 
Participant Handbook Receipt and Funding Disclosure
  • After carefully reviewing the CETUSA Participant Handbook, applicants must download and sign this document. 
  • This form combines both the acknowledgment of the handbook’s contents and the commitment to funding requirements into a single document.
  • If applicants are receiving any external sources of funding for their program, they must provide the name of the organization(s) providing support and the amount (USD) being provided. 
Form DS-7002 (Training/Internship Placement Plan)
  • You must review the training plan carefully, then sign and date in the participant section (page 1).
    • For CETUSA Placements, the training plan will be provided to your agency.
    • For Self-Placements, your agency is responsible for submitting an unsigned, editable training plan for CETUSA’s review and approval prior to obtaining signatures. Reference the CETUSA participant resources for training plan composition tips.
  • Previous J-1 Trainee/Intern program participants must submit their old DS-7002 Training Plans. 
Housing Form (if applicable)
  • If the host company is providing housing for the applicant’s program, CETUSA will provide the housing information. They are not required to accept the housing. If they choose to decline the housing provided by the host company, then it is their responsibility to find and secure their own housing; CETUSA does not search for or secure housing on their behalf.

While most programs are approved for sponsorship, CETUSA has the right to approve or deny any application if we believe the application is not in line with the J-1 program regulations. After sponsorship is granted, CETUSA program staff will send you a program acceptance email confirming your sponsorship approval. This email contains a fully executed DS-7002 Training Plan, accident and sickness insurance information, the CETUSA Participant Handbook, and your signed Form DS-2019.

Sponsorship is not granted until all eligibility screening, host company document review, applicant document review, interviews, site visit (if applicable) processes are complete and meet all CETUSA and Department of State program rules. If you hold a job in your home country at the time of your sponsorship application, CETUSA does not advise that you quit your job until both the sponsorship and the visa interview results from the U.S. Embassy are confirmed.

After sponsorship is granted, CETUSA program staff will send the applicant a program acceptance email confirming their sponsorship approval. This email contains a fully executed DS-7002 Training Plan, accident and sickness insurance information, the CETUSA Participant Handbook, and their signed Form DS-2019. In addition to the email sent directly to participants, CETUSA will email your agency with the approved participant’s SEVIS ID and program number.

Visa Application and Program Arrival

CETUSA sends all sponsorship documents directly to approved participants through email. The following documents will be included in the acceptance email and packet. Participants must print these documents and bring them to their visa interview appointment:

  • Form DS-7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan (fully executed copy).
  • Form DS-2019 (digitally signed by designated CETUSA staff).
  • Trainee/Intern Welcome Letter from the Department of
  • Letter confirming your accident and sickness insurance
  • Letter to present to the Social Security
  • Welcome Letter from

Upon receipt of the acceptance package, participants must review their Form DS-2019 and other documents to ensure all information is correct and accurate.

CETUSA does not pay the I-901 SEVIS fee on behalf of participants. It is the participant’s responsibility to pay the SEVIS fee before attending their visa interview.

CETUSA recommends beginning the visa scheduling process as soon as the sponsorship approval email with SEVIS ID number is sent. You must be familiar with Form DS-160 and the visa interview appointment scheduling process with the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in your country. We recommend that you visit their website and read instructions on non-immigrant visa appointment scheduling. If your program participant is a Canadian citizen, please visit the Participant Handbook for more detailed instructions.

Each program participant is required to complete Form DS-160 (Online Visa Application Form) and pay a non-refundable visa appointment fee before securing their interview date. For more information about Form DS-160 please review the “How to Apply for a J-1 Visa” section in the CETUSA Participant Handbook or contact the CETUSA program office for specific questions. An example of the DS-160 Visa Application Form is in the CETUSA agent resources.

The SEVIS fee is not included in the program invoice and must be paid by the program participant separately before their visa interview date. The I-901 SEVIS fee proof of payment is a required document for the visa interview. Participants can submit their payment using this link.

Once the participant’s visa interview has been scheduled, you must notify CETUSA of the interview date. Please review the “Documents to Bring to Your Visa Appointment” section in the CETUSA Participant Handbook for more details about what the participant should bring with them to their appointment. Contact CETUSA about the visa interview results as soon as possible.

Visa approval: If the participant’s visa is approved, a consular officer should explain how and when their passport and visa will be returned. The participant should not book their flight until they have received their passport back and verified accuracy of the information on their visa sticker. If the participant’s host company is providing an airport pick up, they must coordinate their arrival date and time with them.

Upon receiving visa approval and before their arrival in the U.S., it is mandatory that participants complete the CETUSA Pre-Departure Orientation. They will receive the orientation video via email, along with a link to the Pre-Departure Orientation Quiz, which they must complete before their arrival. This orientation is designed to equip them with essential information for their program, covering important guidelines and reminders to facilitate their transition to the U.S. The quiz is intended to assess their comprehension of program rules and regulations.

Visa denial: As per the U.S. immigration and visa law guidelines, a visa must be denied if the participant cannot establish their eligibility, either because the application does not meet the requirements of an established visa category, or because there are grounds for ineligibility based on other aspects of the participant’s background. The participant will be informed why they are ineligible to receive a visa. For additional information about visa denials, please go to the following website.

Please notify CETUSA staff immediately if the participant’s visa is denied. CETUSA expects you to submit questions that the participant was asked, and what their answers were, to help us better understand the reason for visa denial. If the participant wants to reapply for a visa, CETUSA will be seeking their host company’s approval as it will likely require adjustment of program dates, which may not be accepted by the host company. However, if they support a second interview, CETUSA will amend the program dates (if necessary) and provide an updated, fully executed Training Plan along with a visa support letter by email.

If your agency would like an updated copy of the Form DS-2019 reflecting the new program dates, contact CETUSA or review your agency agreement for the fees involved with that service. If the participant does re-apply for a visa, they should be prepared to pay a non-refundable $185 and complete a new Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application again. They may also incur additional costs associated with their second visa appointment. Reapplying for a visa may not result in approval and may only add additional sunken costs.

In rare cases, a participant may be placed under Administrative Review (221g). This means that the participant’s visa application is subject to an additional review outside the “normal” visa processing times and additional documentation may be requested. This administrative processing takes place after the visa interview and is usually resolved between 30–60 days. However, depending on the complexity of the visa application, processing times may be longer. For more information about Administrative Review, go to the following website.

If the participant decides not to attend a second interview or is denied after their second attempt, CETUSA will proceed with the program cancellation and refund process. CETUSA charges a cancellation fee. If a site visit, rush service, or DS-2019 reissue fees were a part of the invoice those fees are not refunded if the services were provided.

Ideally, flights should be booked at least one week in advance of departure. If your participant is managing their own flights, please communicate a tentative itinerary to CETUSA staff and the host company before the flight is booked. Some host companies provide airport pick-up, which is indicated in the Supplemental Placement Information page of the DS-7002 Training Plan.

Depending on the participant’s nationality, they may need to obtain a transit visa to make a connection through a third country’s airport to reach the U.S. Participants also need to be aware of any travel restrictions or travel advisories regarding their international travel. Please help the participant plan their travel wisely if they cannot book a direct flight to the U.S.

CETUSA expects your agency to provide a thorough review of the documents provided to ensure the participant has full understanding of the next steps they must follow. We recommend scheduling an in- person meeting with your participant and going over the following: 

  • Review their fully executed Form DS-7002 Training Plan along with the Supplemental Placement Information.
  • Verify your participant’s understanding of their training duties, the stipend they will receive, and any deductions from their stipend, including for housing and transportation (if applicable), the airport pick-up instructions (if applicable), drug-testing, dress code and other program-specific requirements that may be indicated.
  • If housing is provided by the host company, review the housing form to make sure that the participant knows their housing terms, their security deposit and first month’s rent which they are expected to pay to move in
  • If housing is not provided, ask the participant where they will stay upon arrival and which mode of transportation they will use to get there.
  • Review their Form DS-2019 and check all information for accuracy and verify that it is signed.
  • Review the CETUSA Participant Handbook.
  • Does the participant know how to pay I-901 SEVIS and visa appointment fees?
  • Does the participant understand the visa scheduling process?
  • Does the participant know which additional documents they can bring to show close ties with their home country?
  • Does the participant know which documents they are required to bring?
  • Did the participant review the Wilberforce pamphlet? They may be asked to confirm this during their visa interview.
  • What to expect during the visa interview. Ask the participant to provide answers to sample visa interview questions and verify their preparedness for the interview.
  • Tips for how to prepare for their visa interview appointment.
  • Remind the participant not to book a flight until their passport is in their possession and the accuracy of the visa stamp is verified.
  • Remind the participant that if airport pick-up is provided by the host company, they must contact CETUSA or the host company to confirm their itinerary first.
  • Ask the participant to share the questions asked during their visa interview and their responses.
  • Did the participant check with their host company about the airport pick up option (if applicable)?
  • Ask the participant to provide a copy of the document handed to them at the end of the interview.
  • Did the participant check their J-1 visa information to ensure it is accurate?
  • Is the participant aware of the documents they must present at the border?
  • Does the participant understand different housing options and how to approach the housing search and the steps required to secure housing?
  • Does the participant understand the insurance provider information and when to expect their insurance card?
  • Does the participant understand the insurance benefits information, and what is covered by the policy and policy exclusions?
  • Does the participant have any unanswered questions about their accident and sickness insurance policy?
  • Does the participant know that the CETUSA rules must be closely followed during the program and that failure to follow the rules may result in program termination and revocation of sponsorship?
  • Does the participant understand their responsibilities to maintain their J-1 status?
  • Does the participant know how to contact CETUSA staff?
  • Has the participant viewed the CETUSA pre-departure orientation and completed the pre-departure orientation quiz?
  • Remind the participant that they must contact CETUSA within 72 hours of their arrival and provide their current or temporary U.S. living address and their U.S. phone number (if they have one) by email.
  • Does the participant already have an SSN issued? If so, are they aware that they must bring the card with them?
  • If not, does the participant understand the process required to apply for an SSN?
  • Remind the participant that they will receive monthly check-in emails, and they must respond to them as a condition of their program participation.
  • Emphasize the importance of timely submission of mid-point and final evaluations.
  • Encourage the participant to maintain open communication with CETUSA and contact their program monitor if they have any concerns.
  • Remind the participant of their requirement to depart the U.S. at the end of their program within the 30-day grace period/

CETUSA expects your agency to help remind participants of the following information regarding their arrival in the U.S. and their responsibilities:

  • Before the participant departs from their home country, they must contact CETUSA within 72 hours of their arrival and provide their current or temporary U.S. living address and their U.S. phone number (if they have one) by email or phone.
  • Once the participant confirms their safe U.S. arrival and living address, CETUSA will send them a welcome email that contains important information about their J-1 program.
    • CETUSA will activate the participant’s program on or after their program begin date as listed on their Form DS-2019. The exact date of their program activation will also be stated within the welcome email.
  • If the participant has a Social Security Number (SSN) from a previous visa program, they need to bring their social security card with them to the U.S. and provide it to their host company on the first day of training.
  • If the participant does not have an SSN, they will need to apply for one after their SEVIS record has been activated by CETUSA staff. Participants need to plan ahead when applying for their SSN. Please reference the Social Security section in the Participant Handbook for more information about this process.

By law, the participant is required to update CETUSA within 10 days of moving to a new living address.

On Program

CETUSA relies on your agency’s assistance in reminding your participant to provide timely responses to any email outreach from CETUSA. This includes prompt responses to Monthly Check Ins, Midpoint, and Final Evaluation requests. While the participant is in the U.S., CETUSA monitors their program through:

Monthly Check Ins: Every month during the participant’s program CETUSA will email a survey link to the participant. The goal of the survey is to ensure that the participant is happy, healthy, and safe. If the participant is not satisfied with their program, this is one way they can contact CETUSA for help. The monthly check in survey is a CETUSA program requirement.

If a participant does not reply to monthly check-in emails, CETUSA staff will be contacting them by phone or email, requesting their timely responses.

Midpoint and Final Evaluations: For programs longer than 6 months, both a midpoint and final evaluation are required. For programs under 6 months, only a final evaluation is required. Both the participant and host company are required to complete an evaluation. CETUSA will email the evaluation and make the due date clear in the email body. Program evaluations are required by CETUSA and the Department of State.

Participants are allowed to travel outside the U.S. during their J-1 program if they have a valid J-1 visa and their Form DS-2019 Travel Validation is signed by CETUSA. The Travel Validation signature is valid for up to one year (or until the Form DS-2019 is replaced, whichever occurs earlier) and is good for multiple reentries. It is important that the participants follow their host company’s vacation policy before making any travel arrangements.

Review “Travel Validation for International Travel” in the CETUSA Participant Handbook for more details.

Host Company Transfer

CETUSA reviews transfers and extensions on a case-by-case basis. Transfers are not guaranteed and are considered under exceptional circumstances. Please review the “Changes to Your Program” section in the CETUSA Participant Handbook for more information. Your participants are made aware of the fees associated with this service at the end of the CETUSA Participant Handbook.

For self-placement agents, CETUSA expects that your agency will assist in addressing participant issues and provide a transfer opportunity for participants, if necessary, during their program.

Program Termination

It is the participant’s responsibility to remain in good standing by following all host company, CETUSA, and Department of State rules. If a participant stops communicating with CETUSA or breaks a program rule, they may be subject to program termination. Termination of a participant’s SEVIS record is serious and will have negative consequences for the participant. If a participant’s program is terminated by CETUSA, they are “out of status,” meaning the participant has lost their legal status to continue engaging in any J-1 activity in the U.S. The participant must depart the U.S. immediately and they are not entitled to their 30-day grace period.

Please emphasize the importance of maintaining contact with CETUSA. If your participant stops responding to CETUSA’s outreach efforts, we count on your agency’s help to re-establish communication by contacting the participant and their family at our request.

Program Extension

Not all program participants are eligible for an extension. Please review the “Program Extension” section in the CETUSA Participant Handbook for more information. Your participants are made aware of the fees associated with this service at the end of the CETUSA Participant Handbook.

Shorten Program

If a participant needs to return home early, they must notify their CETUSA Program Monitor. The participant will need to be prepared to notify their host company as early as possible, so the host company can prepare for their departure. It is a common courtesy in the U.S. to provide at least two-weeks’ notice before ending a program. A copy of the participant’s flight information and final evaluation will be required. For more information about early withdrawal from a program, review the “Withdrawal from Program” section in the CETUSA Participant Handbook.

You must notify CETUSA if a participant leaves their program earlier than their original end date.

Participants who have completed a Trainee/Intern Program before are eligible to participate in additional training and internship programs under certain conditions:

  • Interns may apply for additional internship programs if they still meet intern eligibility criteria.
  • Trainees are eligible for additional training programs after a period of at least two years residency outside the U.S. following completion of their training program.

Participants who have successfully completed internship programs and no longer meet the selection criteria for an internship program may participate in a training program if they have resided outside the United States or its territories for at least two years and gained at least one year of work experience related to their desired training field.

For both trainees and interns, additional training and internship programs must address the development of more advanced skills or a different field of expertise. CETUSA will request the participant’s previous DS-7002 Training Plan to ensure no prior training or internship activities are duplicated in the new program.

Becoming a Partner Agency

CET Management UK Limited, is the company that manages financial and marketing services for programs operated by CETUSA within the United States. All agent documentation, agreements, fee invoices, payments, and refunds are collected and processed by CET Management directly. Additionally, CET Management:

  • Evaluates new partner inquiries.
    • CET Management reviews and analyzes agency profiles and conducts background checks prior to recommending a new agency partner to CETUSA.
  • Obtains and screens new partner documents.
    • CET Management requests and obtains partner documents for CETUSA programs mentioned above.
  • Issues new agreements to new partners.
    • CET Management issues Trainee and Internship programs agreement for CETUSA programs where it outlines the obligations and full relationship between CETUSA and an overseas agency on all matters involving Trainee and Intern Program administration to meet the regulatory requirements.
    • The agreement summarizes CETUSA fees applicable for current or upcoming year of operations, services provided, as well as cancellation / refund policy and the list of services provided by each side.
    • The agreement is issued on an annual basis with a validity through December 31st the year of signing.
    • The program regulations require the agreement to include an annually updated price list for training and internship programs offered by CETUSA and a partnering agency. CET Management conducts annual pricing study and sets prices on an annual basis for CETUSA programs.
  • Issues annual agreement renewal to existing partners.
    • CET Management agreement renewal for the following year of operations is automatically offered to current partners in good standing. You will be contacted by CET Management staff with instructions about which of your agency documents may need to be updated for the upcoming year of operations. Upon its receipt, an agreement with a fee schedule will be provided. Once you complete your agency’s fee schedule, sign the agreement, and send it back to CET Management for their counter signature.
  • Issues invoices, collects payments, and processes refunds.
    • The invoice is issued by CET Management for applicants with confirmed placements (Self- or CETUSA Placement) and emailed to the agency’s representative whose email address is indicated in the agreement. The invoice quotes the program fee according to the agent agreement and the required sickness and accident insurance, along with details of the account where payment should be wired.
  • CET Management accepts international wire transfers to its U.S. Dollar account. Alternatively, credit card payments are accepted. All payment instructions are provided on the invoice. The funds must be wired in U.S. Dollars and include all bank charges and wire transfer costs. CET Management does not accept check payments.
    • Refund credits will be issued upon DS form receipt in CETUSA office. If you require funds transfer, you will need to provide CET Management your bank account information for the transfer of the refunded amount.

Please review the instructions below on how to apply to become a CETUSA partner for Trainee and Internship Programs and which partner documents you must prepare to submit for partnership consideration.

Step 1: Complete the CET Management New Agent Questionnaire

CET Management will send an email with a link to complete a New Agent Questionnaire which helps better understand your company’s business structure, operations, and helps determine prospective opportunities with CETUSA programs or other international exchange programs. Please ensure all fields are fully completed.

Step 2: CET Management Review and Verification

CET Management will review the completed questionnaire and will conduct a screening for further partner consideration. In a few days, CET Management will contact your agency if we decide to continue with the partner vetting process or if CETUSA is not seeking additional partners in your region for the year.

Step 3: Submit Required Agent Documents to CET Management

CET Management will request further documentation necessary to complete the screening process. Please carefully review the required documentation below:

  • Business Registration or Certification
    • You may submit articles of incorporation, a business license, or a permit issued by local, state, or federal authorities in your country that demonstrate the legitimate practice of your business. We expect:
    • Documentation must be valid at the time of submission. Expired documents will be rejected. Renewed documents must be submitted if they expire during the Agreement period.
    • English translation must be provided for every document in a different language.
    • Any additional license or certification required for sending your country’s nationals abroad on educational, training, or work-related programs (if applicable).
    • For agencies that also have U.S. based offices that operate the Training/Internship program, a letter of state incorporation or a business license is required.
  • Three Business Reference Letters
    • A business reference letter is also referred to as a letter of recommendation written on behalf of a professional or a business to inform people that they attest to the quality of your work. CETUSA requires new partner applicants to submit three reference letters. We expect:
    • Reference letter be no older than two years at the time of submission.
    • Reference letters must be dated, signed, and provided on the company’s letterhead.
    • English translation must be provided for every document in a different language.
    • If your agency is newly incorporated and does not have business references yet, you may submit the following: Reference from the bank; reference from an office lease provider; reference from a service provider (marketing, travel agency, utilities); or personal reference from a prior business affiliate
  • Marketing Materials
    • CETUSA requires submission of marketing materials to ensure accurate and appropriate program presentation to the public. The marketing materials provided must be associated with your agency’s name. We expect:
      • Website section for Trainee and Internship Programs
      • Social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
      • Brochures, Flyers, Pamphlets
      • English translation must be provided for every document in a different language.
  • Valid Worker’s Compensation Policy (U.S. based agencies only)
    • Worker’s Compensation Policy or proof of state exemption from coverage.
  • Agent Manual Acknowledgement and Receipt
    • After reviewing the Agent Manual, a representative of your agency must sign and date the acknowledgement page at the end of this manual.
Step 4: CET Management Document Review

After submitting all agency documents, CET Management will take them under review. During this period, CET Management may have further questions or documentation to request. Please be attentive to emails during this period to ensure timely processing.

Step 5: CET Management Agent Agreement

Once all your agency’s documents are collected, reviewed, and vetted, CET Management will issue your agency an agreement. Your agency will need to carefully review the terms and conditions and record your pricing structure for the current year within the agreement itself. CET Management will review your pricing structure and may request clarification or more information. Please be attentive to emails during this period to ensure timely processing.

Step 6: Introduction to CETUSA Training and Internship Department

Your agency will receive a countersigned CET Management Agent Agreement. Your agency will then be given access to the CETUSA database and receive an email from the CETUSA Training and Internship Staff explaining the next steps of the application review process.

We value our agencies and expect prompt communication, timely submission of application documents, and prompt submission of payment throughout the year. CETUSA considers partner agency renewals on a case-by-case basis.

Towards the end of every calendar year, the CET Management will review the following documents to ensure they are still valid for the current year and may request updated agency documents for the upcoming year of operations:

  • Business Registration or Certification
  • Marketing Materials
  • Valid Worker’s Compensation Policy (for U.S. based agencies only)

The Agent Manual Acknowledgement and Receipt page (below) will be required every year to ensure that your agency is sufficiently trained on the J-1 Trainee/Internship program and Program Regulations.

For matters pertaining to new agent onboarding, questions on agency documents, and agent contract renewals:

Sales Support

For matters pertaining to agent agreements, invoices, wire transfer questions:


Acknowledgement and Receipt of Agent Manual

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Additional Services

To help CETUSA better understand the additional services your agency provides to program applicants and participants, please indicate below if you provide any of the following (If no additional services are provided, do not check any boxes).

List any other services offered by your organization.


SUPERVISOR SIGNATURE (enter full name)