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What Are the Steps for a Startup to Apply for a J-1 Visa on Behalf of a Trainee or Intern?

The first step for any company wanting to host a J-1 intern or trainee is to find a J-1 sponsoring organization. This sponsoring organization is the one with whom you’ll work to get the J1 visa for your intern or trainee. The J-1 application and accompanying documents (such as the intern or trainee training program) must be submitted to, reviewed by, and ultimately (hopefully) approved by the sponsoring organization. Once approved, the sponsoring organization will then send all the necessary paperwork to the J-1 visa intern or trainee, which he or she will need to get the actual J-1 visa at his or her local U.S. consulate.

The process is not as straightforward for startups. If your company is too young or too small or doesn’t have enough funding/revenue, then it may not be possible to obtain a J-1 visa for your intern or trainee. You also will likely have to undergo a site visit by the sponsoring organization. I suggest you talk to a few J-1 sponsoring organizations to see whether the J-1 visa is an option for you. I’ve noticed that the sponsoring organizations are stricter now than before due to increased abuse of the J-1 visa program.