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A number of programmes between the US and the UK encourage international understanding through practical work experience (often called ‘internships’ in the US) for up to a maximum of eighteen months.

The sponsoring programmes are known as work exchange programmes, and vary widely in nature, some allowing participants to do any job available, others more restricted to specific fields. Check and see which programme best suits your situation and needs.

Work exchange programmes can only be administered by organisations authorised to issue the US Government form DS 2019. This allows work exchange programme participants to apply for a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa at a US Embassy, letting them work legally in the US for a certain period.

Plan your participation in a work exchange programme as early as possible. Some programmes require you to obtain an offer of employment in the US before you apply to them.

Programmes may have application deadlines or require you to apply a certain number of months before you intend to leave for the US. Check how long the whole process will take. Allow time for the visa application, and if possible, do not purchase a flight until you know your application has been successful.

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