Internship programs are designed to allow foreign college and university students currently enrolled in and pursuing a degree at an accredited postsecondary academic institution outside the United States to come to the United States to gain exposure to U.S. culture and to receive hands-on experience in U.S. business practices in their chosen field.
The internship cannot serve to fill a labor need. The internship must exist solely to assist the student intern in achieving the objectives of his or her participation in a student internship program. The internship must consist of work-based learning, rather than ordinary employment or unskilled labor. [22 C.F.R. §62.23(i)(7)(i) ].
The student internship program does not have to be in the student's field of study, but it does have to fulfill the educational objectives for his or her current degree program at his or her home institution. All tasks assigned must be necessary for the completion of the student internship program.
The internship tasks in the student internship program may consist of no more than 20 percent clerical work. The internship must expose the participant to "American techniques, methodologies, and technology," expand upon the participant's existing knowledge and skills, and not duplicate the student intern's prior experience.
- The internship must be full-time; i.e., consist of a minimum of 32 hours per week.
- Student interns may participate in a student internship program for up to 12 months for each degree/major. Extensions beyond 12 months are not possible.
A student may participate in an internship with or without wages or other compensation, and full-time employment is permitted. To be employed, however, the student needs the approval of the exchange program's responsible officer (Office of International Education) and the student's home institution's dean or academic advisor.
More information on the Student Intern Program can be found at the U.S. Department of State Website