Intern or Train in the USA

Take your career to the next level on an internship or professional training in the USA! Learn entry level skills through hands on training as an intern or receive advanced professional training as a trainee at an American Host Company while meeting new friends. Consider an advanced hospitality training or intern placement at one of Spirit’s many cooperating luxury hotels or resorts across the United States. Or, identify your own placement in one of a variety of professional categories. The choice is yours.

J-1 Visa Intern and Trainee Program Sponsor

j-1 intern or train in the us detailsSpirit is designated as a J-1 Visa Program Sponsor for the Intern and Trainee BridgeUSA Programs in the following categories:

  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • Management, Business, Commerce and Finance
  • Information Media and Communications
  • The Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics and Industrial Occupations
  • Arts and Culture
  • Education, Social Sciences, Library Science, Counseling & Social Services
  • Public Administration and Law

Find Your Own Internship

Do you already have a Host Company in mind and just need assistance from Spirit with J-1 visa sponsorship?

Spirit’s Independent Placement option is right for you.  Independent Placement is designed for international students and young professionals who already received an internship or professional training offer from a U.S. based Host Company.

Request a Host Company Match

Are you looking for a Host Company to host your hospitality or culinary internship or professional training in the USA?

Spirit’s “Premium Placement” Internship Program option is designed for international hospitality students and professionals seeking a training program abroad. Spirit works with a network of luxury hotels and resorts across the USA to offer culinary training programs, as well as general hotel and food and beverage management internships. Spirit can assist with training placement and in the development of the required Training and Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP).

Available Positions

intern & train in us cultural activitiesCultural activities include the things you do outside of your internship that introduce you to the diverse life and culture of the United States. It is important that you participate in at least two cultural activities per month, so you are sure to get a real taste of life in the USA.  Examples of cultural activities include: 

  • Attending an “after-work” event with American colleagues 
  • Volunteering in the local community 
  • Visiting a museum or historic site 
  • Gathering with American friends for meals, games, or movies etc. 
  • Touring a US city or visiting a tourist site in your host community 
  • Visiting a national park 
  • Attending an American sporting event 

The opportunities are endless! 

Don’t forget that your J-1 visa also provides up to 30 days of grace period travel time after your program end date on your DS-2019 form. You must return to your home country before the end of this grace period in order to comply with the terms of your J-1 visa.

Program Costs

work travel usSpirit’s Internship Program fees are as follows:

Independent Placement Option: $995 + $70/month

Premium Placement Option: $2,395 + $70/month

Program fees include regulatory compliant illness and accident insurance during program dates, emergency support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and required visa support paperwork (DS-2019).  Host Company placements are available upon request. Fees are subject to change.

There is no initial fee to start an application. Fees are only due to Spirit after we review your full application and you accept an internship offer approved by Spirit.

Helpful Terms

DS-2019: Official U.S. government form, provided by Spirit and required at visa interview. This official document must be kept with participant passport throughout the program, as it confirms authorized program dates.

Training/Internship Placement Plan: Also called a T/IPP or DS-7002. This document describes the content of the Internship or Training program. This form must be signed by Spirit, the Host Company and participant, and must state specific goals and objectives of the training, as well as detail the knowledge, skills or techniques to be learned by the participant during the course of the program.

Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS): U.S. Department of Homeland Security database used to manage the status of Exchange Visitors to the United States. Spirit uses this database to provide the U.S. government with important information on each participant’s status.

Validation: Within seven days of arrival in the US, all Spirit J-1 participants must submit their SEVIS “Validation” through Spirit’s online Support Center. Only once this has been completed and processed by Spirit is a program considered “Active” – allowing the participant to begin the program and apply for a Social Security number.

J-1 visa: The Exchange Visitor (J) non-immigrant visa category is for individuals approved to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs, such as Spirit’s Work & Travel, Intern, Trainee and Teacher Programs.

J-1 Intern: Current student at or recent graduate (within in the last 12-months) from a primarily academic (must issue degrees, such as Bachelors or Masters) institution outside the USA, which is recognized by that country’s Department of Education (or equivalent). Students or recent graduates from technical or vocational institutions do not qualify for the program. Degree must be in the same industry as requested Intern program.

J-1 Trainee: Graduate from primarily academic (must issue degrees, such as Bachelors or Masters) institution outside the USA, which is recognized by that country’s Department of Education (or equivalent) with at least one year of professional experience OR Professional with 5+ years of professional experience. Degree and experience must be in the same industry as requested Trainee program.

Support Center: Spirit’s online resource for participants and Host Companies to access important information about their program 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Intern and Trainee categories does Spirit sponsor?

  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • Management, Business, Commerce and Finance
  • Information Media and Communications
  • The Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics and Industrial Occupations
  • Arts and Culture
  • Education, Social Sciences, Library Science, Counseling & Social Services
  • Public Administration and Law

Does my previous professional or educational experience need to match my training focus in the USA?

Yes. You must have professional or educational experience in the industry you are hoping to intern or train in.

Are there any prohibited positions?

Spirit does not sponsor training in the following areas: housekeeping, bartending, driving a vehicle (valet), receptionist, counter-service dining outlets, machinery operations, retail establishments, amusement parks, or water parks.

I previously participated in a J-1 visa program. Can I still apply for the Intern or Trainee program?

Your eligibility will depend on which program you participated in previously and when. Please complete our Get Information Form to provide more information to Spirit so we can answer your specific case.

Do I need to provide my own insurance?

Spirit’s program fees typically cover the cost of BridgeUSA regulatory required medical insurance throughout your time in the US. See the Program Costs tab for more information.

Does an online or distance learning degree qualify for the program?

No, educational experience must have been completed in classroom settings.

How long can I train in the US?

The maximum length of a BridgeUSA Intern program is 12 months. The maximum length of a BridgeUSA Trainee program is 18 months. Hospitality Trainees are limited to 12-month programs. The minimum program length for all programs is 3 weeks. Once your program has ended, you are permitted to remain in the US for up to 30 days of travel (grace period) – not additional training time.

Can I bring my spouse or children with me on the Internship Program?

No. Spirit does not accept J-2 dependent applications on its Internship Program in the USA.

Should I apply directly to Spirit or can I use a local office in my home country to help me with my application?

Spirit accepts applications directly via the “Direct” application process on our website. Spirit also works with a network of vetted international partner “third party” offices that assist applicants who would prefer local support with their applications.  Any third parties used to assist you with your Spirit program must be approved by Spirit before you submit an application. This is important to ensure that the third party you are working with is an approved Spirit partner office. Failure to disclose the use of a third party to Spirit will result in cancellation of your application or program termination. For a list of approved Spirit international partner offices where you are located, email

Get Started on Your Training Adventure

Get Started

What our past interns say…

I liked training with my amazing teammates. I also got to visit important cities in the U.S. and see historically important places to understand a little bit more about U.S. culture.- Miguel C. from Mexico, Mechanical Engineering Intern, Ohio
I met so many people from around the world who I’m still in contact with. I traveled to new different places and all the good moments I had do not compare to anything else.- Loida R. from Peru, Restaurant Management Intern, Colorado
If you want to achieve your vision and develop in your career, this program is the perfect and right program for you.- Michael B. from Ghana, Hospitality Trainee, Florida

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