BridgeUSA Exchange Visitor Program
Thank you for your interest in BritishAmerican Business’s BridgeUSA Exchange Visitor Program. Click on the interactive sections below to learn more about the program benefits, criteria and qualification requirements.
BritishAmerican Business’s (BAB) BridgeUSA Exchange Visitor Program is designed to promote business relations and commercial ties between the U.S. and the U.K. and to facilitate international exchange by enabling participating companies to bring selected Interns and Trainees to the U.S. for up to 12-18 months. This goal is achieved by imparting to Exchange Visitors knowledge and understanding of U.S. business practices and culture in a structured training program in a specific occupational field. The purpose of the program can be realized only if Exchange Visitors return home to share their knowledge and experience.
BAB offers our Program in the categories of “Intern” and “Trainee”. The J-1 visa is used for practical training and is only granted for temporary stays (a maximum 12 months for Interns and 18 months for Trainees).
The BridgeUSA Exchange Visitor Program has no age or nationality restriction. All Trainees and Interns must be qualified to receive the training by virtue of their academic background and experience.
- Trainees must have either (1) a degree or professional certificate from a post-secondary academic institution outside the U.S. and at least one year prior related work experience in his or her occupational field; or (2) five years of work experience outside the U.S. in his or her occupational field.
- If currently enrolled in a post-secondary institution, the Intern must be participating in a “sandwich” year program, or a program during the student’s summer vacation months.
- The training may not duplicate the trainee/intern’s prior training or experience. The training must also be designed to enhance the trainee/intern’s career upon return home.
- If a Non-British trainee/intern has been employed by your company for less than 8 weeks we will require a written reference from a third party who will verify the trainee’s suitability to participate in the Program.
- Non-English speakers will be required to demonstrate their English language skills sufficient to function on a day-to-day basis in their training environment.
To participate in the BridgeUSA Exchange Visitor Program, the Host Company must:
- Have a business relationship with the U.K.
- Complete all required BAB Application paperwork for a DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, inclusive of submitting a detailed training plan in the relevant occupational field.
- Enter into an agreement with BAB to comply with BAB’s BridgeUSA Exchange Visitor Program goals and requirements and the regulations of the U.S. Department of State.
- Ensure the Exchange Visitor becomes an individual member of their local British-American Business Council (BABC) chapter for the duration of the training, in order to participate in local events.
- (If the Host company is applying to BAB’s BridgeUSA Exchange Visitor Program for the first time and has fewer than 25 employees or less than three million dollars in annual revenue) Undergo a site visit and screening by BAB in order to comply with DOS. The purpose of the site visit is for sponsors to ensure that host organizations possess and maintain the ability and resources to provide structured and guided work-based learning experiences according to the individualized Trainee/Internship Placement Plan.
The BridgeUSA Exchange Visitor Program is available to qualified Trainees and Interns who seek structured training in the following fields:
- Management, Business, Commerce and Finance;
- The Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics and the Industrial Occupations;
- Information Media & Communications; and
- The Law.
Each training program must conform to BAB requirements and include the following elements: (1) a statement of objectives; (2) the skills to be imparted to the Exchange Visitor; (3) detailed phases indicating training syllabus and chronology; (4) a description of how the Exchange Visitor will be supervised and evaluated.
The host company must ensure that:
- Duties of Exchange Visitors as outlined in the Training/Internship Placement Plans will not involve more than 20 per cent clerical work;
- All tasks assigned to Exchange Visitors are necessary for the completion of training;
- Training/Internship programs are full-time (minimum of 32 hours a week)
- Exchange Visitors are not placed in unskilled or casual labor positions.
Consistent with the objectives of the Fulbright-Hays Act, BAB considers cross-cultural activities as integral to the success of an EV’s experience in our program. As such, we strive to highlight the cultural aspects of each EV’s stay in the United States to provide participants with the opportunity to learn about U.S. society and culture outside of their placement; to learn about the local community in which they are placed; to share their own culture, traditions and views with Americans; and to appreciate similarities that bring people together.
Host companies must expose each Exchange Visitor to a variety of cross-cultural activities, thereby increasing their understanding of American society, culture and institutions. Activities may include sports, cultural or social events, and Exchange Visitors should be encouraged to attend functions of their local BABC organization. A one day volunteer experience is also strongly encouraged.
- All application documents should initially be submitted in draft format.
- Upon BAB approval of draft documents, please collect all signatures and submit to BAB.
- Upon submission, BAB will process final application and generate the DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility within 5 business days.
- If the final signed application is submitted to BAB less than 3 weeks prior to the program start date, a Late Priority Processing fee of an additional $300 will be assessed.
In addition to the program fees paid to BAB, applicants will be required to pay the Visa Application fee of $160 and the SEVIS I-901 fee of $220 to the U.S. government. Further information on government fees via your local embassy can be found here. Instructions on how to pay these fees will be provided with your DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility.
Should the circumstance arise, it is possible to extend a training program at the current host company for up to a maximum of 12 months for interns and 18 months for trainees.
Host companies must make a case for why an extension is necessary and show how this extension will afford the Exchange Visitor an opportunity to work on more challenging tasks and projects in the designated training area.
If you are interested in applying for an extension please contact Lumi Zogaj for the appropriate application materials.
To register your interest and check eligibility, please complete this form. Once submitted, a BritishAmerican Business team member will contact you regarding the next steps in the BridgeUSA Exchange Visitor Program. For specific program questions please contact BAB’s J-1 Visa Manager, Jenn Nina