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I will be looking to start an internship in the USA in the fall of 2015.

I believe I fulfill all requirements for a J-1 visa: I am a final year full-time informatics student that, once the last exams are done, only has a bachelor's thesis and internship left to do.

Last year I did an (unrealistic) attempt as well but that didn't go through. One of the questions I received from companies was "what would we have to do exactly?".

In order to anticipate this I would look absolute clarity of what is expected from the company. As far as I can tell there might be a site visit if they're a small company on top of having to share their Employer Identification Number, contact information and a "Proof of Worker’s Compensation Insurance Policy". Since it will probably be a 3-month internship, there will also be an evaluation at the end.

Is there anything else? Sources like this make it sound as if J-1 visa holders can almost only work for the program sponsor and not the host organization -- or does that go through the sponsor?

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    This question here is related - though different - my answer there might be beneficial perspective for you? – enderland Apr 1 '15 at 17:23
  • @enderland: definitely an important perspective. I am not assuming that I'll be able to get an internship there but I do want to give it a try (and be as prepared as possible in the process). If the USA doesn't work, I'll stay inside Europe for now. – Jeroen Vannevel Apr 1 '15 at 17:28
  • @JeroenVannevel Have you had any luck with this? I am by no means an expert when it comes to sponsorship and international employment, but it is a very interesting question. – Brian Apr 6 '15 at 19:37
  • @Brian: What are you exactly referring to with "this"? So far I don't know anything more about the process than I posted here. – Jeroen Vannevel Apr 6 '15 at 19:45
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    It appears that anyone can be a sponsor if they apply and are approved. j1visa.state.gov/sponsors/become-a-sponsor – UnhandledExcepSean Apr 7 '15 at 1:18
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I'm a Canadian student (going to the University of Waterloo) and having gotten a J-1 visa (and potentially looking to get another) I can share some of what I know.

If I am correct you need a sponsor, when I got my J-1 I was sponsored by Cultural Vistas and I know that Intrax and SWAP are others (and I'm sure there are more).

You do not work for the sponsor, they just make sure the application and job are good to go.

Each sponsor has different requirements and fees, here is the intrax page with some info and here is the Cultral Vistas one.

Looking at the Cultral Vistas page

The host must be an established business in operation for at least one year and provide their Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). Cultural Vistas may consider the number of staff, incorporation date, company history, current business activities, and financials in determining whether the host organization meets our requirements for sponsorship. A minimum of 10 full-time staff is required at the company and training site.

Which mentions some of the stuff you mentioned. I also remember my (to-be) manager having to fill out a training/work plan. As for the fees, they can be paid by either party, but since they can be somewhat substantial, they are often paid by the employer.

Sorry this is so late, I missed your question earlier, hopefully this is enough to get you started (if its not too late). I'm not sure which country you live in so this final link might not be too helpful, but you if your willing to ignore all the uWaterloo mentions, my university talks a lot about getting visas here, here and here.

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