Internships in the United States for international students

Does the United States appeal to you? Do you wish to work for a Fortune 500 company? The choice to apply for internships in the United States is not a small decision. Before taking the plunge, it is important to know the criteria, expectations and different avenues you can take in order to successfully get […]

Does the United States appeal to you? Do you wish to work for a Fortune 500 company? The choice to apply for internships in the United States is not a small decision. Before taking the plunge, it is important to know the criteria, expectations and different avenues you can take in order to successfully get the right internship for you. 

Internships in the United States are a great opportunity for international students.

Internships in the United States are highly sought after and extremely beneficial for students. Internships in the United States are excellent for gaining experience, building your resume and to be hired by a US company. Nowadays, professionals are rarely hired without experience and the only way to get this is through internships. Many companies use internships as a way to find talent and directly hire exceptional interns. The United States is also home to many international conglomerates such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Yahoo. The connections and experience of interning in these kind of companies will allow you to work anywhere in the world. 

Of course, this means that it is much more competitive to get a good internship. In addition, it is more likely that the internship will be unpaid. In this sense, students should apply to at least 20 internships. Look closely at the requirements and make sure you tailor your resume accordingly. 

So, how does it work?

Unfortunately, applying for internships in the United States is not as easy as applying and accepting. There are more steps to legally work in the United States. Here are a few avenues you can take in order to obtain a visa to intern in the US:


1. First, you can go through an internship placement company that has existing connections and will place you in a company in your desired sector. Because it is a placement, it will not be as competitive and it will be relatively easy to obtain as long as you pay the placement fee. This fee usually includes visa sponsorship and accommodation.


2. The next option is to apply to companies directly. Afterwards, once you are accepted into an internship, you can go through the process of getting a student visa with a state certified visa sponsor. If you want to work for a specific company, this is probably the best option. Keep in mind the start dates for internships. Most do not start immediately, which is good because it gives you time for the visa process, which can take up to three months. 


3. Another option is to attend an English academy that offers a combined English and Internships program in the United States. Some of them have internship placement services; in other English academies, students must search for their own internship opportunities.

All foreign students must obtain a J-1 Visa for internships in the US, especially if a paid internship is desired. It is important to remember that you must have a sponsor in order to obtain said visa, and that the sponsor will most likely assist with the requirements as part of the fee. If you are independently looking for internships in the United States, it is also important to make sure that the company you are applying to meets certain requirements in terms of:

  • Size: no less than 25 employees or less than 3 million dollars annual revenue.
  • Legitimacy: Federal Employer ID Number.
  • Years established: at least 1 year. 

Please, have a look at the official visa page for more information about the process.

If you are interested by the content of this publication, and you are thinking about going to the United States, it is important to learn about the American culture. Therefore, we highly suggest you to read the following post: 6 tips to overcome cross-cultural differences in the business world.

The author of this post is: Nikko Tanaka-Pendleton

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