Information for North Carolina Companies
Off-Campus Student Internship Program Overview
If your company/organization has been contacted by an international student whose school has an agreement with NC State and you wish to offer the student an internship that lasts between 2 and 12 months, the GTI can facilitate the immigration requirements. Your company does not need to hire an attorney or file any immigration paperwork. The GTI provides student interns with visa documentation, employment authorization (which you can use to satisfy I-9 documentation), pre-arrival information, a brief orientation, and general advice and troubleshooting during their stay.
Off-campus student internships typically last 4 to 6 months in duration (but may last up to a year) and are not limited to the University’s academic calendar or semester begin and end dates. Student interns may arrive to the US a few weeks early in order to get settled and may remain in the US for up to 30 days after the internship is completed in order to travel and prepare for departure.
Internships can be paid or unpaid. Iif the student is paid, the wages must meet or exceed the federal minimum wage for a full-time position. Employers must meet certain requirements and obligations (e.g., not displace US workers, provide a safe work environment along with orientation and supervision, etc.). Employers must also be willing to sign a "Third-Party Agreement" with NC State University in order to host international student interns through our program.
Companies may have funds to support the student intern with a stipend or other financial assistance (payment of fees, housing, reimbursement of travel expenses), but some student interns come with their own funds or are supported by a scholarship or overseas sponsor. Regardless of the source of funds (company wages, personal funds, etc.) sufficient funds for the student intern’s living expenses for his or her stay in the US must be documented before a visa certificate can be issued.
All student interns are required to complete a virtual “check-in” and orientation with the GTI office upon arrival prior to beginning the internship.
Process for Companies
NOTE: The student intern and the company MUST submit ALL completed forms and documents at least 45 days before the start of the internship. Applications that do NOT meet the 45 day deadline will likely not be processed in time.
1. Complete and submit a "Third-Party Agreement," which is a general agreement between your company and the University (not any individual student intern) and is valid for two years (regardless of the number of student interns). The agreement needs to be signed by a duly authorized company representative and uploaded to the GTI Application Center by using the student intern's International Application Code.
2. Complete and submit the "Company Supplemental Form"
3. After both the "Third-Party Agreement" and "Company Supplemental Form" have been reviewed and signed by the University's
designated signature authority, we return a copy with both signatures to
4. Discuss any arrangements and details with the student intern and come to an agreement with regard to duties, dates, stipend/wages (if any), and prepare and issue an offer letter to the student intern.
5. Complete the Training/Internship Placement Plan (Form DS-7002).
- Be sure to complete each relevant section including learning outcomes and methods of evaluation on Page 2
- Both the student and the company supervisor need to sign* this form and upload it to the GTI Application Center
*Leave the Program Sponsor at the bottom of Page 2 blank - the GTI signs this part.
6. Most of the other application forms and responsibilities fall to the student intern to complete, but you may wish to assist the student intern with other logistics such as housing, transportation, and other details that the student intern will find very helpful. You may also offer to reimburse the student for some of the required fees (visa application fee, SEVIS fee, GTI administration fee).
7. The student intern MUST "check-in" with the GTI office upon arrival and before engaging in any internship activities, submit copies of his or her immigration documents, and complete the J-1 Student Intern Virtual Orientation. Your allowing the student to scan and send copies of the immigration documents would be appreciated.
8. Federal regulations require that the Program Sponsor (GTI) conduct a site visit for any company placement of a student intern if the company has fewer than 25 employees or less than USD$3 million in annual revenues. Exceptions to this requirement are academic institutions, government agencies, or and companies that have successfully participated in a site visit with our program before. The GTI asks companies outside central North Carolina help defray the transportation costs for a GTI staff member to conduct the site visit (usually about 2-3 hours within the first few weeks of the internship).
9. Student interns must engage in a mid-term evaluation if their internship is longer than 6 months and/or a final evaluation with their company supervisor (this should incorporate both the learning outcomes and assessment tools as described in the Form DS-7002 as well as any company assessment procedures) at the end of their internship period (intern's final week or prior to their leaving the US). The evaluation must be submitted to the GTI to complete the internship program. Student interns or companies that do not submit a copy of the final evaluation jeopardize their school or company involvement in future placements.
Forms to complete and submit to the GTI
These forms should be completed and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Is it legal for our company to hire an international student intern through your program?
A. Yes. This international student intern program is part of the US Department of State's J-1 Exchange Visitor Program administered through certain designated University Program Sponsors, such as NC State University. J-1 Student Interns must meet certain eligibility requirements and have certain limitations:
- must be in good academic standing at an overseas institution
- must have the recommendation of their home university academic advisor
- must engage in an internship that is directly related to their field of study
Q. Do we need to file any immigration or other legal paperwork?
A. NC State University will issue the necessary visa documents and employment certification to the students. Most companies will not need to retain outside counsel and can generally employ the international student interns the same way a US citizen intern would be hired. Paid international student interns should be fill out an I-9 and apply for a Social
Security Number. The GTI cannot advise companies or student interns on tax withholding, or other local, state, or federal regulations that govern labor or other laws.
Q. What will we have to pay the intern or NC State University?
A. Payment is optional, but if you do pay the international student intern, you must pay the intern at least the federal minimum wage for a work week between 32 and 40 hours. If the intern is not paid initially but you wish to begin paying wages after the start of the internship, please consult the GTI beforehand to learn about how employment can be authorized.
Q. How are the student interns vetted through NC State University?
A. NC State only sponsors J-1 student interns who are in good academic standing at one of our strategic partner universities overseas and have the recommendation of their faculty advisor. This means we do not admit just anybody and there is a point of accountability and trust relationship that ensures students that participate in the program are ambassadors of their school and their country. Student interns apply through the University's non-degree application system, answer mandatory safety questions, and provide transcripts and financial documents as part of their admission process.
Q. Where do the international student interns come from?
A. The international student interns come from a limited number of excellent universities overseas – universities that we have written memoranda of agreements (MOA) with and with whom we have corresponded for years and visited. These are schools with which we have long-standing relationships facilitate student and faculty exchanges. Our partner schools can be found in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and elsewhere. For a complete list of our partner schools please visit the OIA website.
Q. What if an international student (or graduate) from an overseas university that does not have an MOA with NC State wishes to do an internship with our company – can you help?
A. No. This type of sponsorship and support from NC State is limited to our partner schools. If you wish to hire interns or trainees from other overseas institutions, you will need to find another program sponsor or immigration option.
Q. Do the interns speak English well enough?
A. The student interns who are not native English speakers must submit documentation that their English proficiency is equivalent to that which we would require for enrollment in the University's academic programs or have certifications from their academic advisors that they are more than conversant in English. One of the reasons many international student interns want to work in the country for a period is to improve their conversational English and to become more familiarized with US culture, so companies should expect passable, not fluent, English.
Q. Can we keep the student intern after the internship is over?
A. No. One of the eligibility requirements for a J-1 student intern is that the student must return home to complete the academic program. Student interns are not eligible to abandon their academic program and change to a work or student visa. It may, however, be possible to work with your own counsel or HR office to file for a work visa after the student returns to his or her home country and completes his or her academic program.
Q. What types of employment activities are the intern not allowed to do?
A. Student interns must be engaged in duties that relate to their major field of study and should not be engaged in activities that fall outside the scope of their major. Student interns should do more than 20% clerical work and are prohibited from the following activities: any clinical duties, child-care, elder-care, flight training, etc.
Q. What are the potential time periods of the internship?
A. Unlike other international student programs that require strict enrollment dates, international student interns can begin any month and end any month. Most internships last between 2 to 6 months and while they generally occur in the summer or in line with our semester calendar, it is important to remember that the academic calendars in other countries may be very different than the US schedule. We recommend that internships begin on the 1st or 15th of the month and end on the last day of the month. Student interns can arrive a week or two early to get situated and have 30 days after the program to pack and sightsee, so please indicate on your correspondence with the GTI the program dates
of the actual work placement period.
Q. How long can the internship last? Can the internship be extended?
A. An internship can be approved for no more than 12 months (and no less than 2 months). Care should be taken to scope out the length of the internship at the time of application since extension requests are not routinely approved.
Q. What if we (or our lawyers) don't want to sign your "Third-Party Agreement?"
A. We understand some companies, particularly those in other states, may not be willing to enter into this company-to-University agreement, which is designed to protect the international student intern, the University overall, and this particular program – as well as to outline some mutual expectations and responsibilities. We have detailed the responsibilities after several iterations with our University's Legal Counsel and there is really nothing in the document that we believe is negotiable, so if the terms of the agreement are unacceptable, we are happy to direct you to other international organizations that may be able and willing to sponsor interns or trainees and place them with your company.
Q. Will you help us find international student interns?
A. No. The GTI is not a placement agency and does not serve an HR or recruiting function. There is a nominal administrative cost that is directed to the student intern, which covers the processing, paperwork, and communications expenses but this low rate does not cover any costs associated with identifying and securing placements or marketing various opportunities (this fee may also be paid by the company if you choose). This program is limited to good students at our partner universities who have – through other channels, like alumni networks – secured their own internship offer.
Q. Which companies have to have a site visit by a GTI staff member and how much does
A. The federal regulations require that the Program Sponsor (GTI at NC State) conduct a site visit for any Company placement of a student intern if the company has fewer than 25 employees or less than USD$3 million in annual revenues. Statutory exceptions to this requirement are academic institutions or government agencies - and companies that have successfully participated in a site visit with our program before.
Q. What do we need to do at the end of the internship?
A. Federal regulations require that we obtain a written evaluation of each student intern's program. We have an online form that should be completed by the student intern. (If you already use a standard or in-house evaluation form, please send a copy of that as well.) These evaluations should be done during the student's final week on the job (but before leaving for home) and can be uploaded, faxed, or sent as a scanned email attachment. Evaluations are very important to the program and are required – student interns and companies that do not submit final evaluations will jeopardize future participation by their school or company.
Q. Where can we find out more information?
A. We recommend you first check out the related student internship pages on the GTI website, but if you don't find your answer there, please do not hesitate to call or email the GTI office for more information. Company's legal counsel can and should also read the relevant regulatory language at: 22 C.F.R. 62.23(i)(3).
Q. What if there are problems or questions?
A. We have attempted to reduce the number and severity of potential problems or misunderstandings by presenting a lot of information to both potential student interns and potential company sponsors on the GTI website. Some surprises or disappointments are bound to happen and we recommend that the student intern and company supervisor communicate fully and frequently about mutual expectations. Of course if there are problems or questions, please know that the GTI staff very much want to know about them and will do everything we can to help resolve them. We value and respect both our strategic partner schools overseas as well as the US companies that host and employ the student interns and it is very important that we work together for a successful and sustainable program.
Read more about the Off-Campus Student Internship program. This section includes detailed information for students and instructions on how to apply for the program.