The hosting department must provide the prospective Student-Intern with an invitation or offer letter.
Invitation letters generally follow a similar structure as an offer letter. The Student-Intern will need this letter as part of their materials to request a DS-2019 from ISSS, apply for their visa at a U.S. consulate, and other stages in their immigration process.
At minimum, a letter should contain the following:
- Department letterhead: The letter must be printed with the hosting department’s letterhead.
- Program dates*: Include the dates as written on the DS-7002 Internship Plan. These dates must match what you request in the ISSS Host Department Application to Receive a Student-Intern (which are the dates that will be printed on the DS-2019). Refer to the Inviting a J-1 Student-Intern timeline to assist in choosing realistic dates for the Student-Intern’s program. If the program dates change, you will need to issue a new invitation/offer letter for the Student-Intern to match the dates with those on the DS-2019 and DS-7002.
- Status: Include that you are inviting the individual as a J-1 Student-Intern.
- Purpose*: Include the Student-Intern’s purpose of visiting the University and what their primary activities will be (such as receiving training in...).
- Student-Intern vs. student**: Do not refer to the individual as a student. Students are assumed to be admitted to the UMN to take classes and are held to different requirements than Student-Interns. A student-Intern's primary purpose must be to receive training in their major field of study.
- Faculty mentor: Include the name and title of the UMN faculty mentor who will supervise the Student-Intern during their program here. This is the same person who signed the DS-7002.
- Funding: Include whether or not your department is providing funding support for the Student-Intern.
- Health insurance: Include information about the UMN health insurance requirement.
* Student-Interns may not be placed in unskilled or casual labor positions, a position that requires or involves child care or elder care, or a position in the field of aviation. Student-Interns also may not be placed in clinical positions or positions that engage in any kind of work that involves patient (human or animal) care or contact, including any work that would require medication or other clinical or medical care. The Student-Intern’s position can require no more than 20% clerical work.
** There are specific student visas for individuals seeking to take classes at the University. Taking or auditing classes cannot be the full-time focus for a Student-Intern. Student-Interns must maintain full-time focus on their training activities. Consult with ISSS regarding the proper visa for individuals seeking to take classes at the University.