Learning Exchange Program

Important Updates
Updated March 27, 2020

March 27, 2020: The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs has issued a new travel advisory: those on short term visas who risk losing employment, financial security and access to health care should return to Ireland. Please visit their Twitter page for the announcement.

March 18, 2020: Attention Active Exchange Visitors in the U.S. If you are considering returning home due to COVID-19, please follow the guidance of your Irish Consulate, in which they advise those who intend on returning to Ireland to make provisions to do so NOW! Please refer here for more updates from the Irish Consulate.

March 16, 2020: 2020 J-1 IWT Applications are suspended until May 16, 2020. The recent travel ban that has been put in place for travel from European countries to the U.S. includes Ireland and the United Kingdom.  This ban takes effect from midnight on Monday, March 16th 2020.

To enquire about our program, or to answer any questions about your program or application, please send an email to j1iwt@riancenter.org with your query.

2020 Applications Currently Paused

To apply for the J-1 IWT program, please fill out our eligibility form below.

The Rian Immigrant Center is a U.S. Department of State designated visa sponsor for the J-1 Exchange Visitor visa program. Irish citizens and international students who are current students or recent graduates of Irish universities, can intern in the U.S. in their field of study for up to 12 months to gain experience and enhance their future career and academic pursuits. The Rian Immigrant Center became an accredited J-1 visa sponsor in 2008 and has since supported more than 2,500 graduates and students through our programs.

Last updated: March 16th, 11:30 am EST. Important notice: Based on recent guidance from the Department of State and the inclusion of Ireland in the travel ban, we are pausing all our applications until further notice. Since new visas will temporarily not be issued, we are not currently proceeding to the next steps of sponsorship applications, nor will we be receiving new applications. We appreciate your patience during this time and reiterate the importance of caring for your own and others’ health.


J-1 Intern Program Purpose & Policy Regarding Mandatory Return to Ireland Upon Completion

The J-1 visa programs are US public diplomacy programs designed to foster global understanding through cultural exchange visits. The US Government’s Department of State categorically requires all J-1 visa exchange visitors to return to their home country upon completion of their exchange program in order to share their exchange experiences. The J-1 Intern program is not a pathway to permanent status in the United States.

If you have any intention of staying longer than the 12 month program period, or transferring to another visa, then the J-1 visa programs are not for you. As a participant in the Rian Immigrant Center’s J-1 program you must commit to not transferring to a B-2 Visa, H-1B, L visa or apply for an adjustment of status. All program applicants are required to sign a declaration stating that you understand that you are applying for an non-immigrant, J-1 Intern Visa and that this is not a pathway to permanent status in the United States.

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J-1 Irish Work and Travel (graduate visa)

Under this category of the J-1 visa, you can travel to the U.S. without having secured an internship. It is a work-based learning experience for you to advance your skills in your field of study. We sponsor this visa only for Irish citizens who graduated from Irish universities. Our Director of Intern Placements builds relationships with U.S. employers and assists interns in offering tips on networking, interviewing, resume building for U.S. companies, securing appropriate positions when available, and additional resources.
Learn more about our J-1 IWT visa program by reading below:

Program Eligibility Requirements

Internship Placement Service

Information for Potential Employers

Internship Restrictions

To apply for the J-1 IWT program, please fill out our eligibility form below.

Eligibility Form

J-1 Intern Program

If you do not have an Irish passport or did not graduate from an Irish university, you may still apply for the general J-1 Intern visa. This visa is also a work-based learning experience, but you must secure a placement on your own before applying for the visa. Your position will have the same restrictions listed above.

J-1 Intern Program with Ulster University

In partnership with Ulster University, Rian provides international internship opportunities for third-year students with top U.S. employers across multiple sectors. As their visa sponsor, we provide constant support for students throughout their stay in the U.S. For more information about this program, click here.

J-1 Summer Work and Travel

The Rian Immigrant Center is also a resource for those who travel to Boston on J-1 Summer Work and Travel visas. We do not sponsor the J-1 Summer Work and Travel visas, but we support students as they transition to Boston and help them navigate living and working in the US. Assistance from our Director of Placements might be available upon request.

What the Rian Immigrant Center’s J-1’s Are Saying

“The J-1 IWT program is by far the best opportunity for graduates who want to gain vital work experience and go on a life-changing adventure. My J-1 IWT program to San Diego, California provided me with professional and personal development that was unparalleled to any other option. My first piece of advice is if you are considering the J-1 IWT – simply go for it… you will reap the benefits tenfold.”

— Christopher Dixon-O’Mara, 2016
Masters in Energy and Environmental Policy, University College Dublin

“I think in a few years from now, the most memorable and impactful experience will have to be finally securing a role that I enjoy and beginning my career. It takes a lot of hard work, long hours and determination but I never doubted my decision to move to New York.”

— Emmet O’Shaughnessy
Business and Information Systems, University College Cork, 2019