Farmer Exchange Program

Eligibility:

1. Must speak and understand English sufficiently to carry out instructions, to perform internship and training activities, to avoid injury to themselves and others, and to prevent damage to property.

2.    Must have an educational background or practical experience in the area of agricultural training or internship sought.

3.    May not repeat training previously received while participating in a J-1 training program, however application for advanced or different training in the same field is permitted.

4.    Must be prepared to pay for their own travel to their hosts in the United States and to depart the U.S. upon completion of their programs.

5.    Must agree to and comply with the program terms and conditions described in the Program Handbook, which may be downloaded from this site.

Trainee and Interns

The U. S. government requirements for trainees an interns are different:

  • Interns. When their programs begin, applicants for the Intern Program must either be enrolled in or have graduated within one year from a college level school outside the United States when their program begins. The Intern Program is a one year program but may be repeated provided that the applicant still meets the eligibility requirements.
  • Trainees. Applicants for the Trainee Program must either – (a) be enrolled in or have graduated from a college level school outside the United States and have at least one year practical experience in the area of agriculture in which training is sought, or (b) have at least five years practical experience in the area of agriculture in which training is sought. Both programs are for one year, but in limited situations a Trainee’s program may be extended for six months. Trainees and interns must return to their home country for two years before applying for a new trainee or intern program, unless a waiver is obtained from the U.S. government.

 

Available Programs:

Basic Agricultural Trainee and Intern Programs

These programs provide basic work-experience internship and training for one year on selected host farms in the United States in a specific field of agriculture. During the training or internship, participants either receive a monthly stipend or are placed on the host’s payroll. Participants in these basic programs will receive a minimum of housing and US$900 per month, or the equivalent.

Wine Harvest and Crush Program

This program is normally lasts between two to five months depending upon the length of the grape harvest and crush season. It provides hands-on experience in the United States in the wine grape crush for men and women from other countries. Participants are placed on payroll with the host winery providing practical experience. Participants pay their own SEVIS and visa fees, their travel to the host winery and departure from the United States, their living expenses while in the United States, and a program fee. For this program participants receive the Certificate of Eligibility for Intern or Trainee (J-1) Status (DS-2019 form) and other documents needed to obtain a “J” visa, medical insurance while the participant is in the U. S., and assistance with preparing U. S. income tax filings.

Short Programs.

A limited number of other short programs ranging from three to eleven months are available from time to time for specific agricultural commodities.

Associate of Applied Science

Qualified interns and trainees have a possibility to continue as students at University of Nebraska to obtain an Associate of Applied Science degree. All courses are taught on the campus of the university and will require approximately two years to complete.

 

Application and Placement in a U.S. Program

Applicants must complete and submit standard application and a medical statement completed by a doctor or clinic. If the applicant has a passport, a photocopy of the identification page should be attached. Copies of applicant’s curriculum vitae and university degrees also help find a placement.

Applications may be submitted by e-mail or facsimile.

To verify eligibility and to assist in placement, the applicant may be interviewed by an authorized representative. Once a suitable placement is found, the applicant is notified by e-mail. Upon agreement of the applicant and the host to the placement, all documents needed to apply for a “J-1” visa will be sent. Not all applicants can be placed, so the more specific and complete the information provided in the application, the better chance of a placement.

Please understand that selection for participation in the program and issuance of visa eligibility documents does NOT guarantee a visa. The decision to issue a J-1 visa rests solely with the U.S. Consular Officer. When a placement has been made and confirmed by the applicant and the host, visa package by international courier will be sent within three working days. Once the applicant received the visa documents, it may take from two weeks to three months for the visa to be issues.

J-1 visa permits a participant to enter the United States at any time before the expiration date of the visa. The J-1 visa does NOT specify the length of time a person may stay in the United States. The Certificate of Eligibility for Intern or Trainee (J-1) Status (DS-2019 form) together with the Arrival/Departure Record (I-94 form), which is stapled in the passport by a U. S. Immigration Officer on entering the U.S., allows participation in a training or internship program to the “end” date shown on the DS-2019 form.

At the end of the program, or earlier if participant is disqualified, the right to remain in the United States ends. Unless transferred to different J-1 program, the intern or trainee must leave the United States as soon as travel arrangements can be made, but in no case more than 30 days after the end of the program or disqualification. We must notify the U.S. government if an intern or trainee fails to arrive at the host site or does not promptly leave the United States upon leaving the program. A person staying in the United States without valid authorization may be deported.