GACC's J1 Visa - Program

Thank you for your interest in the J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program of the German American Chamber of Commerce New York! 

Information about the J1 Visa Process

Please follow the application process step by step and read through everything very carefully. Also, before you start gathering materials for your application, be sure to read through our important advice.

Once we have all the correct documents from you and your host company, your application will be considered complete and we will begin processing your application for a DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility. 

  • The download area can be found here.
  • For the FAQs please click here.

What is the J1 Visa?

One can only apply for a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa for an internship/training in the United States by submitting the DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility at a U.S. Consulate in your home country.

The German American Chamber of Commerce New York (GACC) is a non-profit organization, officially authorized by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) to issue the DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility to interns/trainees.

With the issuance of the DS-2019, the GACC operates as the sponsor of the participants during their entire stay in the U.S. The issuance of the DS-2019 and thus participation in the J-1 visa program of the GACC is subject to various conditions imposed by the DOS and internal rules of the GACC.

The GACC is offering their J-1 Visa Program in the categories of "Intern" and "Trainee". The J-1 visa is used for practical training and is only granted for temporary stays (maximum 12 months for interns and 18 months for trainees).

Potentially eligible for a J-1 visa are

  • students,
  • recent graduates (up to max. 12 months after completion of studies)
  • and young professionals.

Please note that the J-1 visa is NOT a work visa and is not designed for permanent residence in the U.S.

All program participants and their host companies must acknowledge and accept application guidelines of the DOS and the internal rules of the GACC.

Host companies seeking permanent employment of an applicant, must contact an appropriate attorney.

The GACC reserves the right to refuse sponsorship at any time, including but not limited to suspected abuse by candidates or host companies, or if candidates or host companies appear to be unsuited.

For more information please read the full "Code of Federal Regulations". 

Who can apply for a J1 visa?

A J-1 Visa can be issued to students, recent graduates and young professionals. The GACC-NY is designated for the J-1 visa categories "Intern" and "Trainee". The maximum duration of a J-1 visa is 12 months for an internship and 18 months for a training.

General requirements for all applicants:

  • All applicants must have a good command of the English language.
  • The internship/training must also have a clear relation to the applicant's study program and must be highly relevant to the future career development of the applicant. 

Please check here what J-1 visa category applies to you.

Processing Time, Fees and further Information

Once we have received all necessary documents from you and your host company, your application will be considered complete and we will begin processing your application for a DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility. At that point you should plan on a processing time of up to 6 weeks for the issuance of the DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility.

An express service is available at an additional cost of $500. Following the receipt of all documents, the express processing time will be 2-5 business days. Please inquire as to whether the express service is currently available.

Our processing fee is calculated according to the duration of your internship.

A detailed list of our fees can be downloaded here.

Please note that all amounts are stated in U.S. dollars and can be paid either by bank transfer to our German bank account or by filling out a credit card authorization form. For more information about our payment methods, please contact one of our staff members.

In addition to the processing fees paid to the GACC, the U.S. Consulate in Germany currently charges $160 for a J-1 Visa application. J-1 applicants are also required to pay a $180 SEVIS fee to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security after the DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility has been issued. Further information and current visa wait times can be found on the website of the U.S. Consulate.

Cross-Cultural Component

Every Exchange Visitor Program in the U.S. needs to contain cross-cultural activities.

Why Does an Exchange Visitor Program Need a Cross-cultural Component?

The Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) brings true global value to American public diplomacy. People-to-people programs provide unlimited opportunity for exchange visitors and Americans to engage with each other, to inform exchange visitors’ thinking about the United States and its place in the global community, to break down prejudices and misunderstandings, and in the long-term expand and strengthen the relationships between Americans and the rest of the world. 

In accordance with the Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961, these cultural, educational and professional exchanges are intended to build mutual understanding -- and help create a foundation of trust between Americans and the rest of the world. By bringing people together to share perspectives and experiences – at home and abroad.

Each EVP category offers participants a unique opportunity to experience the U.S. and its diversity and to connect directly with Americans. The cross-cultural component of the EVP experience is critical to the short-term success of each individual exchange, and to the long-term effectiveness of the Program and of U.S. public diplomacy overall.

Success is best achieved through careful planning and execution of the cultural component of the exchange. 

What is the Goal of a Cross-Cultural Component?

The cross-cultural component of the exchange visitor program gives participants the opportunity to learn about U.S. society and culture outside of their placement; to share their own culture, traditions and views with Americans; to help see the world from another perspective; to be more tolerant and respectful of differences; and to appreciate similarities that bring people together. These are the goals of people-to-people exchange and are the central reasons the Exchange Visitor Program exists.

Information for a Second J1 Visa


A second internship may take place at the original host company or at a new host company. The following conditions must be met:

  1. If the second internship takes place at the original host company, the activities and tasks must be different from those performed during the first internship and must be carried out at a more advanced level.
  2. A maximum of two J-1 visas are possible with a total duration of 12 months, assuming the second internship begins within 12 months after completion of the first. There must however be a 90-day period between the internships, during which the candidate must remain in his/her home country. This 90-day period is crucial in clearly defining the two separate and distinct internships.
  3. If the second internship begins more than 12 months after completion of the first internship, the second internship may itself last up to an additional 12 months. 


     First J-1 Intern Visa

Home Country

Second J-1 Intern Visa

     6 Months

90 Days

6 Months

     First J-1 Intern Visa

Home Country

Second J-1 Intern Visa

     2 Months

90 Days

10 Months


A second training may take place at the original host company or at a new host company. Trainees are eligible for additional training programs after a period of at least two years residency outside the United States following completion of their training program.

Participants who have successfully completed internship programs and no longer meet the selection criteria for an internship program may participate in a training program if they have resided outside the United States or its territories for at least two years.


     First J-1 Trainee Visa

Home Country

Second J-1 Trainee Visa

     6 Months

2 years

6 Months

     First J-1 Trainee Visa

Home Country

Second J-1 Trainee Visa

     2 Months

2 years

10 Months

    J-1 Intern Visa

Home Country

J-1 Trainee Visa

    10 months

2 years

4 months

J1 Visa Extension

It is possible to extend the J-1 Visa Program at the host company for up to a total duration of 12 months (internship) or 18 months (training). An extension is only allowed once during the total time of the program, so it is recommended to weigh the options carefully before deciding on the length of the extension.

Please note, however, that an extension may not simply be a continuation of the present activity. An extension is only granted under the condition that the intern/trainee will be undertaking new and more challenging tasks in the present training area or will be working on a new project. This new position must build upon the practical skills the intern/trainee has learned in his/her present position.The application documents must reflect these changes.

Acceptance of your extension request will be based on the accuracy of the aforementioned criteria. Therefore, the necessary paperwork may be prepared very carefully and with great detail!

More information about the documents you need to submit and travel regulations within the extension period can be found here.

To apply for a J-1 extension please register online by filling out the registration form.




Is the SEVIS fee refundable if I am denied a visa, if I have a change of status, or if I receive a reinstatement?

Once paid, the SEVIS Fee is non-refundable. This rule applies even if your visa application is denied or, subsequent to issuance of the visa, you choose not to come to the United States.

If you applied for a J-1 Visa and paid the SEVIS Fee within the last year but were denied a visa, you do not have to pay the SEVIS Fee again as long as you re-apply for the same kind of program within 12 months of the visa denial.

You can find more information here.


GACC's Visa Fee

Once the visa application has been submitted, the regular visa fee may be refunded less a $200 administrative fee.

After the DS-2019 has been issued, only 50% of the regular visa fee will be refunded.

If the participant has received the J-1 Visa, no refund will be granted for the visa fee.

If the DS-2019 has been issued to the participant, but the J-1 visa was denied by the U.S. Consulate, only 50% of the J-1 Visa regular service fee will be refunded. 

If the DS-2019 has been issued to the participant, none of the priority processing fees will be refunded.

Lost or Stolen Documents

Passports, visas, and arrival-departure records are official travel documents that foreign citizens coming to the United States must have in their possession in order to show their country of citizenship and legal status in the U.S. We encourage travelers to make a copy of their passport biographic page, U.S. visa and DS-2019 as soon as possible after their arrival in the U.S.

More information can be found here.



Cindy Klarwasser

Senior Manager - Career and Recruitment Services

(212) 974-8834