Visa Requirements

Visa Requirements

: International Students

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International students participating in TWC’s programs must come with a J-1 visa sponsored by The Washington Center, unless currently enrolled in a U.S. university. The internship program provides foreign nationals who are currently enrolled full-time and pursuing studies at a degree or certificate-granting post-secondary academic institution or who have graduated from such an institution no more than 12 months prior to their exchange visitor program begin date with a period of work-based learning, allowing them to develop practical skills that will enhance their future careers.


International Students Enrolled in U.S. Universities

International students enrolled in U.S. universities with a valid F-1 or J-1 visa can participate in TWC’s programs with their current visa as long as they remain enrolled in the university, and their visa is valid until the last day of The Washington Center’s program or beyond. In this case, students pay the regular application fee ($60).

International students enrolled in English courses, summer programs, or that need a visa transfer will be required to obtain a J-1 visa from The Washington Center. This transfer can only occur if the current sponsor has a designation in the same J-1 visa category as The Washington Center (Intern or Trainee). In this case, students pay the international application fee ($125).


International Students Coming From Abroad

International students coming from abroad that require a J-1 visa must pay the international application fee ($125). This application fee covers the cost of processing and sending the J-1 visa form by FedEx.

International students coming from abroad that require a J-1 visa and are interested in the postgraduate professional development program must pay $250. This is a non-refundable deposit (which is applied towards the program fee) and must be paid at the time of application. The deposit is refunded if the applicant is not accepted into the program.

About the J-1 VisaInternational students come to TWC’s programs with a J-1 Visa for Trainees or Interns. The purpose of this visa is to provide international participants with opportunities for professional development, insight into American know-how in the field of training, and a greater understanding of American society and culture. J-1 Trainees and Interns are expected to share the cross-cultural and professional knowledge they have gained in the U.S. upon return to their home country at the end of the internship.  

The J-1 visa program is not intended to immigrate into the U.S. and/or to fill the position of a regular staff member in the U.S. To obtain a J-1 visa you must apply and be accepted into TWC’s programs and:


  • Have at least two years of education, training, or work experience in a field related to the training.
  • Know English well enough to perform successfully in the proposed position.
  • Plan to leave the U.S. within 30 days after completion of the program.
  • Have not held the J-1 visa in the Intern or Trainee category before.
  • Engage in training and do not perform work that staff member of the company would.

To Obtain Your J-1 Visa Stamp on your Passport:

  1. Pay the SEVIS FEE online.
  2. TWC will send you the DS-2019 and DS-7002 forms along with other important material.
  3. Review the U.S. Embassy website in your country.
  4. Call the local U.S. Consulate and schedule an appointment. Canadian citizens coming from Canada can obtain the visa at the point of entry.
  5. On the date of the appointment you must present the following documents: the DS-2019 form, DS-7002 form, your passport, the TWC acceptance letter, and the Consular form with your picture attached.
  6. If you are paying for the program yourself, make sure to bring to the embassy bank statements indicating that you have the amount of funding indicated in the DS-2019 form under “personal funds.” You must present proof that money is available.
  7. Make sure to bring a copy of your health insurance coverage with you.
  8. If you are traveling in less than three days of your appointment date, tell the officer that you must obtain your visa the same day and show him/her your flight ticket.
  9. Make sure that the Consular officer puts the J-1 visa stamp on your passport. You should not enter the U.S. with a Tourist visa, even if it is valid.

Traveling With Your J-1 Visa

  • Keep your travel plans flexible while your visa application is being processed. The U.S. embassy or consulate provides no guarantee that the J-1 visa will be issued to you, and the processing time may take up to four or more weeks in some countries.
  • Once you obtain your J-1 visa, you may then travel to the U.S. to begin your Program
  • Keep your DS-2019 form, DS-7002 form, and your passport together all the times. Please present these documents at all ports of entry.
  • Tell immigration officials you are coming to the U.S. for a “Training Program.” If the officer asks you whether you come to study or work, answer that you come to study. Even though you will be interning, this is on-the-job training and you will not be replacing an American worker; this is considered learning and not working, so be sure to say that you are coming to study.
  • Before you land in the U.S., you will be asked on the plane to fill out a form called I-94. Please keep the I-94 card within your passport until you reach the immigration officer.
  • Once your passport has been stamped, make sure the officer gives you all your documents back except the I-94 form. Keep your DS-2019, DS-7002 and I-94 together with your passport.

For questions about the J-1 Visa please contact

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