Office of International Services
Student Intern Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Can anyone apply for the GTI international student intern program?
  2. How do I know if my school has a valid agreement (Memorandum of Understanding) with NC State?
  3. What if I have already graduated or I am currently in my last semester and do not have to return to my home university after the internship period?
  4. How long can the internship be?
  5. How long does it take to apply for the program and to get my visa?
  6. How do I find an internship placement?
  7. What’s the difference between an on-campus and off-campus internship?
  8. Can I be paid for my internship?
  9. How do I pay for my internship or show I have enough money to support myself?
  10. What if I have problems or things don’t work out?
  11. Who will arrange travel and housing and other details for the student internship?
  12. What if I am already in the US?
  13. Can I arrive early or stay later than my visa document indicates?
  14. Why do I have to “report” to the OIS when I arrive in the US and what if I fly directly to my internship site in another city? What is involved in “checking-in?”
  15. Does OIS have to do a site visit of my off-campus company host?
  16. What if the company that wants to hire me cannot sign the “third party agreement” or is unable to pay for the required site visit costs?

  1. Can anyone apply for the GTI international student intern program?

    No. To be eligible for the GTI international student intern program you must either be invited by an NC State University faculty member to participate in a research internship on the NC State University campus under his or her supervision OR be currently enrolled in one of our partner schools overseas (a school that has a valid student and research exchange agreement with NC State

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  2. How do I know if my school has a valid agreement (Memorandum of Understanding) with NC State?

    You can see a list of current partner schools on the OIA website: oia.ncsu.edu/sail

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  3. What if I have already graduated or I am currently in my last semester and do not have to return to my home university after the internship period?

    The J-1 Student Intern regulations require students be currently enrolled in a degree program (undergraduate or graduate) in good academic standing and plan to return to the home school to complete the program after the internship is over.

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  4. How long can the internship be?

    Most internship programs are 2 to 4 months, but they can be as short as 2 months or as long as 12 months.

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  5. How long does it take to apply for the program and to get my visa?

    Once all the application materials are received, a decision can be usually be made and a visa document issued within ten business days – oftentimes less. OIS will express mail the visa documentation and admission letter directly to the applicant along with pre-arrival information and instructions on how to apply for the J-1 student intern visa. Visa processing times at US consulates overseas can vary, however, and neither the processing time nor the approval can be guaranteed.

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  6. How do I find an internship placement?

    On-campus interns are invited by an NC State faculty member and this usually happens as a result of the student corresponding with the faculty member, being recommended by the student’s home school advisor who happens to be a colleague of the NC State faculty member, or other third party. Off-campus internships usually come about through an eligible student communicating directly with a US company or being introduced by an academic advisor or alumni friend. NS State does not provide a placement service to either interested students or companies – matches must be made through other efforts – and the University does not make lists of student interns or companies that have had interns available to those who are looking for jobs.

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  7. What’s the difference between an on-campus and off-campus internship?

    An on-campus internship is usually a supervised research project on one of the NC State campuses and involves close and frequent supervision by an NC State faculty member. These are open to any overseas student that receives an invitation from an NC State faculty member. An off-campus internship does not need an NC State faculty member to provide frequent supervision and is not on the NC State campus, but is conducted at a US company or agency that has entered into a “Third Party Agreement” with NC State University, has agreed to fulfill all necessary responsibilities with regard to providing an off-campus internship, and is limited to students who are enrolled in one of our partner institutions.

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  8. Can I be paid for my internship?

    Yes – if it is approved beforehand in the SEVIS system. Some interns are paid wages and some are not paid anything. If an internship is paid, then the company must pay at least the US federal minimum wage for a full-time position (32 hours per week or more) for the entire period of the internship. Companies are not obligated to pay wages to interns – some do and some do not. Interns should not be paid anything unless and until the employment is approved in the SEVIS system by OIS.

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  9. How do I pay for my internship or show I have enough money to support myself?

    Most student interns do not have to pay the company for the internship experience, although some formal internship programs do charge a fee. If the company will pay the student intern sufficient wages to meet estimated living costs (currently $1,250 per month), then the student intern does not need to document to the OIS any additional financial information in order for us to issue the visa documents. If the internship is unpaid - or the wages are lower than the minimum monthly living estimate – the student must document to the OIS other liquid funds (personal, family, or other sponsor) before we can issue the visa document. These documents (current bank statements with specific amounts in US dollars and letters of support) may be uploaded in the International Application Center. Letters of credit, credit card limits, certified accountant statements, tax returns, pay stubs, property assessments, or other non-liquid types of asset documentation are not acceptable.

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  10. What if I have problems or things don’t work out?

    It is unlikely that any internship program arranged while abroad will be without some misunderstanding, surprise, or unexpected situations. It is critically important to communicate and manage expectations prior to arriving at the internship as well as for interns and supervisors to “check-in” regularly with each other. Discuss any frustration, disappointment, problem, etc., with your supervisor and try to work out a solution that is acceptable to both parties. It is often the case that someone made an incorrect assumption or oversight and the problem is not rooted in an intentional or unprofessional act or omission. It is better to bring it up and discuss it sooner rather than let it go on for a period. Guarantees about all working conditions, safety, convenience, outcomes, changes in responsibilities, relationships, etc., are simply not possible, but we do expect everyone to work together to prevent or resolve problems so that everyone is content with the internship experience. If the company supervisor or the student intern cannot resolve a situation together first, then please contact the OIS and we will see if we can assist with a mutually acceptable solution or compromise. It is not possible to change internship companies (or student interns) after the internship has begun so please know that a situation that does not work out will result in the student intern returning to the home country.

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  11. Who will arrange travel and housing and other details for the student internship?

    The student intern is responsible for all logistical and personal details such as travel, housing, fees, etc. Some companies (or faculty supervisors) do offer assistance in travel, local transportation, airport pick-up, meals, local accommodations, etc., but they are not required to. It is imperative that these matters be discussed between the student intern and the company/supervisor in detail (you may wish to use the Intern-Company Discussion Points on the OIS website) prior to issuance of the visa document – and especially prior to arriving in the US.

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  12. What if I am already in the US?

    The J-1 student intern program is not for those students or visitors who are already in the US, but is designed for overseas students to gain some culture and work experience in their field of study as part of their overseas educational program. We will not assist those already in the US in another nonimmigrant visa status to apply to the USCIS for a change of status – but it may be possible to apply to the International Student Intern program while in the US if you will be departing and applying for the J-1 student visa overseas.

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  13. Can I arrive early or stay later than my visa document indicates?

    The program dates on your DS-2019 will reflect the dates of your internship period. You may (and should) enter the US a few days prior (we recommend 7-10 days prior) to the start date in order to go through orientation, find housing, etc. You also have 30 days after you complete your program (as reflected on the DS-2019 or if you finish a little earlier) to depart the US. This 30 day “window” is called a “grace period” and can be used for sightseeing, shopping, etc.

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  14. Why do I have to “report” to the OIS when I arrive in the US and what if I fly directly to my internship site in another city? What is involved in “checking-in?”

    The University is required to “validate” your SEVIS record after arrival in the US and before you begin your internship. If you do not check in with the OIS, we will not validate your SEVIS record and you will be in violation of your status (with no chance to do your internship). We recommend that you check-in with OIS in person during a scheduled appointment, but if this is not possible, then a virtual check-in can be arranged (by appointment and via video/phone). For check-in, we need a copy (scan, copy, or fax) of your J-1 visa stamp, processed DS-2019, and stamped Admission-Departure Form I-94. We also need your complete street/residential address where you will be staying (spending the night) during your internship, and any other local contact information (phone) in case we need to get into contact with you. You will also review a brief powerpoint overview of your rights and responsibilities as well as other helpful information regarding expectations, safety, and opportunities. Once check-in has been completed, we will validate your SEVIS record and you may begin your internship.

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  15. Does OIS have to do a site visit of my off-campus company host?

    The federal regulations regarding a student intern program that utilizes a “Third- Party” or company site require that the program sponsor (or OIS) conduct a site visit to ensure the company is appropriate and meets the eligibility requirements. Exceptions to this requirement include companies that have had an NC State international student intern before, government agencies or academic institutions, and companies that have over 3 million dollars in annual revenues or more than 25 employees. Companies that do not meet one of these exceptions must have a site visit and must cover the travel costs associated with the required site visit (if the company is not in central North Carolina).

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  16. What if the company that wants to hire me cannot sign the “third party agreement” or is unable to pay for the required site visit costs?

    Then that company is not able to host you as an international student intern.

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