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The J-1 student intern visa is a new category of visa that was developed to allow international students to come to United States universities for research internships without enrolling for classes at the host institution. It is open to undergraduate students in their last year of study, and to graduate students (master's and doctoral students) as well.

Texas A&M University faculty must agree to host the foreign student and to initiate the J-1 visa processing through the Immigration Services for Faculty & Scholars (ISFS) office after their department head's approval. Note: There is a one-year limit for the stay of the student that comes under this visa. The student needs to have a research project and work under the supervision of a Texas A&M faculty member.

Inviting a J-1 Student Intern

An internship program is a structured and guided work-based learning program. The student intern category is available to foreign students currently enrolled in and pursuing a degree at a post-secondary academic institution outside the U.S., whose U.S. internship will "fulfill the educational objectives for his or her current degree program at his or her home institution.”

The U.S. Department of State’s basic requirements for an internship program are:

  • The internship must expose the foreign student to American techniques, methodologies and technology, and expand upon the student intern's existing knowledge and skills.
  • The internship must fulfill the student's educational objectives for his or her current degree program.
  • The internship must reinforce the student’s ongoing academic course of study.
  • The internship must be full time (a minimum of 32 hours per week).
  • The student intern is primarily in the U.S. to engage in a student internship program rather than to engage in employment or provide services to an employer.
  • The internship tasks may consist of no more than 20 percent clerical work.

Participant requirements:

  • TOEFL minimum score of 80 on Internet-Based Test
  • Résumé (CV), including contact information, academic background and GPA, all in English
  • Official certificate showing that the student will be registered as degree seeking at his or her home institution during the time of the visit to Texas A&M
  • A letter from a faculty member at that institution confirming that the proposed research is relevant to the student’s degree program. The research topic must be related to the student’s degree
  • Two letters of recommendation, including one from the student´s academic advisor from their home institution and the other from a previous employer or another faculty member
  • Must be completing a degree program at his or her home institution

To host a student research intern:

  1. Determine whether the invitation is for: (a) business meetings, conferences or consultations with you or other colleagues, or (b) engagement in research (collaborative or independent), teaching or lecturing.

  2. Contact the ISFS at 979-862-1719 to talk to a specialist in order to obtain a recommendation on whether or not Texas A&M should sponsor the visit, as well as how you should proceed with the invitation. The ISFS specialist will provide you with an administrative recommendation on the immigration process that best suits your guest's stay at Texas A&M. The ISFS specialist will also guide you with the immigration documentation that you will be required to produce (J-1 Exchange Visiting Scholar or B-1 Visitor for Business) for the visit.

  3. After you have received a recommendation from ISFS on the type of immigration status for your visitor, complete and provide the Office of the Vice President for Research with Form 5VS (Approval of Visiting Scholars). This form will be initiated at the department level and forwarded to the appropriate Texas A&M offices for approvals. A copy of the invitation/offer letter and the prospective visitor’s resume or CV must be attached. The Vice President for Research (VPR) office will forward a copy of the approved form to ISFS. If the TEES Research Compliance Office processes the 5VS, you must submit a copy of the approved form to ISFS.

  4. Upon approval of Form 5VS by the Office of the Vice President for Research, provide ISFS with all necessary and completed forms regarding the immigration process that was recommended to you by ISFS during step 2 above. Links to the forms can be found at ISFS website under forms, and nonimmigrant in the following links: B-1 Business Visitor or J-1 Exchange Visitors.

Department Responsibilities

In addition to accepting the foreign student into his/her internship program and completing and signing all requisite documents, host departments have responsibilities toward their student interns.

  • They must secure the placement of the student intern and provide access to appropriate facilities (labs, buildings, libraries).
  • They are responsible for monitoring the student intern’s progress throughout the program and completing evaluation forms.
  • The student’s research project must also be approved by the student’s home institution advisor.

Documentation required by the department to host a J-1 student intern:

Here are all of the documents mentioned in step 2. All documentation should be gathered according to the checklist and then forwarded by the hosting department to ISFS.

Documents that must be completed and provided by the department include:

  1. Department Questionnaire for J-1 Student Internship Sponsorship
  2. Form DS-7002, Training/Internship Placement Plan
  3. Invitation Letter for Intern
  4. Texas A&M University Division of Research 5VS Form (if you are with a system agency, check for a similar form)
  5. FedEx airbill (for international delivery service)

If you have any questions, please contact the Texas A&M University International Faculty & Scholar Services at isfs@tamu.edu.