Business Solutions

J-1 Visa Sponsorship

The J-1 Visa Intern and Trainee Program of Choice for the World's Leading Employers


The Exchange Visitor Program provides highly educated foreign employees and students the opportunity to visit the United States for a short amount of time to receive on-the-job training and engage in cultural exchange. Programs conducted under the Exchange Visitor Program utilize a nonimmigrant visa type known as the J Visa. SHRM is designated by the U.S. Department of State as a J-1 Visa sponsor for the trainee and intern programs. 

Why sponsor your Exchange Visitor Program with SHRM? We make it easy…

J-1 Visa regulations impose significant compliance responsibilities on employers. SHRM works with host organizations and participants to coordinate the details of their training programs—whether it's processing applications, delivering guidance on travel procedures, conducting compliance site visits, ensuring that government reporting requirements are met, or checking in with trainees and interns throughout their stays in the United States.

Availability. On the phone, online and in-person, we offer employers a boutique service portfolio, catering to individual preferences while keeping compliance a top priority. In addition, we offer expedited application processing in as few as 5 business days.

Partnership. By working with you, we learn your preferences and anticipate your needs. Year after year, our host organizations tell us this results in successful transitions for their international trainees and interns.

Dedication. We are your guides throughout the process, offering helpful suggestions and support with the various administrative and compliance requirements for each individual program.

Start Your Application

We are happy to share with you exciting news! SHRM Exchange Visitor Program is now using a new CRM – SHRM Orion. This custom-build, modeled after SEVIS, system makes the application process easy, fast, and safe. Once we create a SHRM Orion account for you, you and your associates will be able to directly manage J-1 applications for your organization or a client.


If you do not yet have a SHRM Orion account or already submitted your application through our old CRM, INSZoom, please contact your SHRM case manager or

If you are new to SHRM J-1 visa sponsorship process and would like to speak with us about your potential J-1 program, please request a free consultation with our experts.


CLICK HERE For Current Client & Participant INFO


Program Information and Eligibility

Eligibility Requirements

Trainees are professionals who either possess a degree or certificate from a non-U.S. postsecondary academic institution and have at least 1 year of prior related work experience in their occupational field outside the U.S. OR have at least 5 years of work experience outside the United States in the occupational field in which they are seeking training.

Interns are either students who are currently enrolled in and pursuing studies full time at a foreign degree or certificate-granting postsecondary academic institution outside the United States OR individuals who have graduated from such an institution no more than 12 months prior to their Exchange Visitor Program start date.


Occupational Categories

SHRM is currently designated by the U.S. Department of State to sponsor Exchange Visitor Program trainings and internships in the following occupational categories:

  • Management, Business, Commerce & Finance;
  • The Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics & Industrial Occupations;
  • Hospitality and Tourism;
  • Health-related Occupations;
  • Public Administration & Law; and
  • Information Media & Communications.

Programs that fall outside of the occupational categories listed above are not eligible for sponsorship by SHRM. 

J-2 Sponsorship for Family Members

Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age are eligible to accompany a J-1 exchange visitor on a J-2 dependent visa. Each dependent must be sponsored for a J-2 Visa and must have his or her own DS-2019 form issued by SHRM. All non-Canadian citizens must also apply for a J-2 Visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. 

U.S. Host Organization Size and Responsibilities

Host organizations participating in the J-1 Visa Program have several important requirements. You can find more information in our J-1 Host Organization Orientation. Please wait a few seconds for the video to begin.

Compensation for Exchange Visitors

SHRM typically requires that host organizations provide compensation to their J-1 trainees and interns during any sponsored program. The total amount of compensation paid to trainees and interns must be determined prior to submitting the J-1 sponsorship application to SHRM. When determining the total program compensation, host organizations should include housing, transportation and other living expenses covered as part of the program. The U.S. host organization and/or the exchange visitor's foreign employer can provide the compensation for the program.

If the compensation does not appear to cover all anticipated expenses during the entire program, the trainee or intern must provide documentation confirming that he or she has sufficient financial resources (personal bank statement, parents' bank statement, letter of financial support from overseas college or university, etc.) to successfully complete the full scope of the J-1 program.

Insurance Coverage

Every individual participating in the Exchange Visitor Program must have insurance coverage that meets the criteria set forth in the U.S. federal regulations for the J-1 program. All participants must be covered by an acceptable insurance policy that includes coverage for medical care, medical evacuation and repatriation for the entire duration of their training or internship program. It is the responsibility of the U.S. host organization to provide this insurance or to verify that each of its participants is covered by such insurance coverage that meets or exceeds the following minimum coverage requirements:

  • Medical Insurance Coverage: $100,000 per accident or illness*;
  • Expatriation of Mortal Remains: $25,000;
  • Medical Evacuation: $50,000;
  • Deductible per accident or illness not to exceed $500; and
  • Co-insurance not to exceed 25 percent per accident or illness.
In addition, the insurance policy, plan or contract must also, at a minimum, be:

  • Underwritten by an insurance corporation having an A.M. Best rating of "A−" or above; a McGraw Hill Financial/Standard & Poor's Claims-paying Ability rating of "A−" or above; a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of "B+" or above; a Fitch Ratings, Inc. rating of "A−" or above; a Moody's Investor Services rating of "A3" or above; or such other rating as the Department of State may from time to time specify; or
  • Backed by the full faith and credit of the government of the exchange visitor's home country; or
  • Offered through or underwritten by a federally qualified health maintenance organization or eligible competitive medical plan as determined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Per federal regulations, failure to maintain sufficient insurance for the entire duration of the internship or training will result in an automatic termination of the J-1 program.

SHRM currently does not provide medical insurance for J-1 program participants. If a trainee or intern will not be covered under his or her host organization's or foreign employer's insurance policy, or if the provided coverage does not meet or exceed the U.S. Department of State requirements listed above, the trainee or intern must obtain his or her own insurance (as well as insurance for any dependents).

Below are several insurance options previously used to cover J-1 trainees and interns. These plans are not officially endorsed by SHRM, and host organizations and/or participants should ensure that they select a coverage option that meets the Department of State requirements listed above and that the coverage is valid in all states where the J-1 program will occur.

Program Consultation

If you are unsure if the J-1 program is right for your candidate, you can request a consultation with SHRM using the button below. 

Request a Consultation 

*Please be aware that we cannot advise on potential visa options beyond the scope of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program.

Placement Services

SHRM does not offer placement services to assist individuals in securing a U.S. host organization for training and internship programs. Only individuals who have already been pre-identified for an internship or training opportunity with a U.S. host organization are eligible for sponsorship via SHRM's program.

Processing Timelines and Fees

Processing Timelines

Processing times are contingent upon receipt of a complete application packet with all required supporting materials in order.

  • New Sponsorships: Standard processing for issuing the J-1 sponsorship paperwork is 15 business days. Expedited processing within 5 business days is available for an additional fee.
  • Amendments, Extensions and Separate Family Requests: Standard processing requests take 5 business days to fulfill. Expedited processing within 1-2 business days is available for an additional fee.

Procedures, time frames and fees for issuance of the J-1 Visa vary depending on the country where the participant will be making his or her visa application and other factors. Current wait times for appointments can be found online.

Program Fees

SHRM's Exchange Visitor Program fees will be as follows:

Fees for New J-1 Applications 

J-1 sponsorship fee – 15 business days $2,110
Required SEVIS fee (effective June 24, 2019)
Expedited processing – 5 business days (optional)$800
J-2 dependent sponsorship for accompanying family members (if applicable)$750

Fees for Ongoing J-1 Programs

Separate family application (for family members who will be joining a J-1 exchange visitor after the program has begun)$750
Extension of an existing J-1 program within the maximum program duration$725
Amendment of an existing J-1 program
Replacement of a lost, damaged or stolen Form DS-2019$600
Reinstatement of J-1 program*$400
Required site visit**
Expedited processing – 1-2 business days (optional)
*A reinstatement application must be submitted in the event that a trainee or intern has received his or her visa but does not enter the U.S. and start the Exchange Visitor Program within 30 days of the program start date listed on the Form DS-2019. When this occurs, before the program can officially commence, SHRM must work with the U.S. Department of State and the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to formally reinstate the J-1 program.

**A site visit fee is only necessary if a site visit is required per federal regulations prior to the issuance of the Certificate of Eligibility. This occurs in cases where annual revenue for the host organization is less than $3 million. Site visits that must be scheduled within 2 weeks of the initial notification of a required site visit must include expedited processing.


Refund Policy

Applications connected to SHRM's Exchange Visitor Program will be subject to the following refund policy:

  • New J-1 Sponsorship Applications: If an application is submitted to SHRM and is withdrawn or canceled by either the host organization or the participant for any reason prior to issuance of the DS-2019 form, the party responsible for paying the sponsorship fee will still be responsible for a fee equivalent to 50 percent of the standard processing fee. Refunds will be given only to the party responsible for paying the sponsorship fee. After the Form DS-2019 has been issued, no refund will be issued for any reason.
  • Applications for Additional J-1 Services: No refunds will be available after the application for the following have been submitted to SHRM: amendment of existing J-1 program; extension of existing J-1 program; separate family sponsorship request; required site visit; and Form DS-2019 replacement request.


Required Materials

The following items must be submitted to SHRM as part of each application for new J-1 sponsorship:

Questionnaires and Attestations

  • Completed participant and host organization questionnaires. Participant and host organization questionnaires must be completed and submitted via SHRM's online system. Go online to initiate a sponsorship case and gain access to the questionnaires.  Word document versions of the participant and host organization questionnaires are available to help attorneys or in-house immmigration or HR staff collect the information necessary to complete the online questionnaires. 
  • Completed and signed SHRM Compensation and Insurance Form*. This form must be completed in full and signed by the J-1 candidate and a representative of the U.S. host organization.
  • Signed participant attestations* and host organization master services agreement*.
  • Completed payment form*.

Trainee/Intern Program and Host Organization Information

  • Completed and signed DS-7002 form* (Training/Internship Placement Plan). SHRM requires both a signed copy of the form with actual signatures of the participant and host organization supervisor(s) and a copy of the fillable-PDF version of the final Form DS-7002. 
  • Detailed training syllabus or training plan that provides additional details on the proposed J-1 program. This is required in addition to the completed Form DS-7002.
  • Detailed description of the local/logistical orientation that the employer will provide to the participant upon his or her arrival in the United States.
  • Detailed overview of the cross-cultural activities that will be made available to the participant during his or her period of training in the United States.
  • Documentation (annual report copy, marketing brochure, etc.) that can confirm the U.S. host organization as a legitimate legal entity. 

* Form provided by SHRM upon completion of initiation request. Depending on the company size, annual revenue level or years of existence, additional vetting documentation may be requested by SHRM as part of the sponsorship process.


Exchange Visitor Information

  • Comprehensive, up-to-date copy of the participant's CV/resume in English.
  • Letters from current and past employers verifying past employment history (for trainee candidates)**.
  • Copy of the participant 's academic degree(s), complete official academic transcript, or official documentation showing full-time enrollment or graduation status and certified English translation, as appropriate.
  • Documentation confirming adequate English-language skills as evidenced by one of the following:
    • English-language test (TOEFL, TOEIC, etc.).
    • Signed documentation (in English) from an academic institution or English language school.
    • Completed and signed SHRM English verification form completed by a representative from the U.S. host organization who has interviewed the candidate in person, via videoconference or via teleconference.
  • Documentation confirming medical insurance coverage and levels.
  • Copy of key biographical pages of the participant's passport (and those of all accompanying dependents, if applicable). Copies of any previous U.S. visa stamps and notations should also be provided.

**Employment verification letters are required for trainees in order to confirm that they have either a foreign academic degree/diploma and a minimum of 1 year of full-time relevant professional experience OR 5 or more years of relevant, full-time professional experience.

Current Clients and Participants

If you already have exchange visitor application or are already sponsored by SHRM or by the former Council for Global Immigration (CFGI), please visit our current clients and participants page to learn more about exchange visitor requirements and compliance items related to your sponsored program. You will also find information about cultural activities and international travel.

Current Client and Participant Info


Exchange Program Team

Program Contact Information: 

If you have any questions regarding your J-1 Visa training program you may contact us via telephone at 703-535-6365 or via e-mail.

In the event of an emergency, any J-1 trainee or intern currently sponsored by SHRM or by the former Council for Global Immigration can also utilize SHRM's 24-hour J-1 participant emergency line at 1-888-330-4686.

SHRM Exchange Visitor Program Team:

Gennady Babankov, ManagerGennady Babankov, Manager
Mr. Babankov manages SHRM's J-1 Exchange Visitor Program and administers the intern and trainee programs sponsored under SHRM's J-1 visa designation.  Gennady brings to SHRM almost 20 years of experience with international exchange and learning and development programs.  He has built and managed federally funded programs in Eurasia and the Middle East, and developed academic and professional partnerships across the United States.  Since 2000, Gennady served as a manager of outbound language and culture immersion programs at American Councils for International Education, helped direct the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program, and hosted Russian political and business leaders visiting the United States through the Open World Program.  He has also lived and studied in Russia, Italy, and Hungary.  Gennady holds a law degree (George Mason University) in addition to Masters degrees in History (Johns Hopkins University) and Medieval Studies (Central European University) and a Bachelors degree in Art History (Lomonosov Moscow State University). 

Lindsay Bongi, Senior Specialist, Exchange Visitor Program, Alternate Responsible OfficerLindsay Bongi
Ms. Bongi is the Senior Specialist, Exchange Visitor Program, working with SHRM’s intern and trainee program participants and sponsor organizations. Ms. Bongi comes to SHRM with years of experience assisting young professionals and host companies in the J-1 intern and trainee visa sponsorship process. She has been involved with the Exchange Visitor program since 2012 and in her free time, counsels and monitors J-1 high school exchange students and host families as a Local Coordinator. In addition to her work in international exchange, Ms. Bongi previously has also created a Department of Labor registered culinary apprenticeship program and has experience teaching Talent Management Training and Train the Trainer courses. Her background is in financial reporting and accounting and she spent the early part of her career working for companies such as JPMorgan and America Online. Ms. Bongi earned her MS in School Counseling from Long Island University and her BS in Finance from Pennsylvania State University.

Ms. Jerrika Anderson Edwards is SHRM’s Exchange Visitor Program Senior Coordinator and ARO. Jerrika came to SHRM with more than five years of experience in international education and professional exchanges. After receiving her Bachelor's degree from Scripps College, Jerrika lived in Senegal, South Korea, and China. Jerrika's professional experience includes working as an English language teacher, working with the J-1 intern and trainee program, and most recently working with J-1 and F-1 students. Jerrika completed a Master's degree in Organizational Leadership and Learning from The George Washington University in 2022. She is excited to apply her skills and experience to the SHRM team.

Kimberly Nguyen, Senior Coordinator, Alternate Responsible Officer
Kimberly NguyenMs. Kimberly Nguyen is the newest member of SHRM's J-1 Exchange Visitor Program team. As Senior Coordinator and Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO), she works to support the needs of the intern and trainee programs. Ms. Nguyen comes to SHRM with 4 years of experience in international exchange and program administration. She previously administered the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) to hundreds of participants across multiple time zones and professional disciplines. Prior to this, she completed a fellowship at the Business Council for International Understanding. Ms. Nguyen holds a B.A. in Spanish Language and Literature from the University of Delaware. She is fluent in Spanish and lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina while volunteering in the Maquinista de Savio province.

U.S. Department of State Contact Information:
If you would like information on or have questions regarding the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, you may contact the U.S. Department of State via e-mail at or via postal mail at the address below:

U.S. Department of State
Office of Designation
Private Sector Exchange Programs Division
ECA/EC/D - SA-4E, Room E-B001
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520
Phone: 1-844-300-1824

In case of an emergency, the Department of State has also established a 24-hour emergency line for exchange visitors. The number is 1-866-283-9090. 

Program Forms & Documents

As you prepare for your journey to the United States, please consult the following orientation materials prepared by the U.S. Department of State and by SHRM.


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