Guidelines For Writing The Invitation/ Offer Letter For J-1 Student-Interns

The hosting department must provide the prospective J-1 student-intern with an invitation or offer letter. Invitation letters generally follow a similar structure as an offer letter. This letter is needed as a part of the intern’s initial application to request a DS-7002 and DS-2019 from ISSS, for the student-intern to apply for their visa at a U.S. consulate, and at other stages in the immigration process. 

At minimum, a letter needs to contain the following bulleted items. Please see the examples, guidance and Q&A included below where  applicable. The examples provided do not cover all situations, so if you need assistance with a unique situation, please contact ISSS.  

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Department Letterhead

The letter must be printed on the hosting department’s letterhead. 

Program Dates

Include the dates during which you expect the student-intern to be active in your department. These dates must match what you request in the ISSS J-1 Student-Intern Application (which are the dates that will be printed on the DS-2019). 


Include that you are inviting the individual as a J-1 student-intern. 

Q: Our applicant is a graduate student in their home country. Should we refer to him/her as a student? 

A: Student-Intern vs. Student**: It is very important for you to not refer to the individual as just a student. Students are assumed to be admitted to the U of M to take classes and are held to different visa requirements than student-interns. Your student intern's primary purpose must be research and observation. 


Include the student-intern’s purpose of visiting the University and what their primary activities will be (i.e. research in...). 


Include the name and title of the U of M supervisor/mentor who will supervise and collaborate with the student intern during their program here. 


Include whether or not your department is providing funding support for the student-intern. If you are not providing funding, please state what benefit(s) you are providing to the student-intern. 

Here are some examples:  

(Paid - Scholarship/Stipend): The University of Minnesota [Department] shall provide a stipend of [$ Dollar Amount] per [Months] for a total amount of  [$ total amount of US Dollars]. The department will provide you with access to email, the libraries, and opportunities to  participate in seminars, workshops, and other professional and social activities of the department. 

(Unpaid): My understanding is you have received financial support from your government, as the department is unable to provide  you with direct scholarship or stipend. The support you receive should cover all of the expenses of your stay at the U of  MN including health insurance, housing, sustenance and transportation. If you have any dependents, you are responsible  for all the expenses of their stay at the U of MN. I will be able to provide you access to all open seminars, laboratory  equipment, and the department will take care of any associated research expenses. 

(Unpaid): My understanding is you will be financially supporting yourself and any dependent(s) through personal finances. The  department will provide you with office space, access to email, the departmental network and internet, access to libraries,  and opportunities to participate in seminars, workshops and other professional and social activities of the  department.

Health insurance

Include information about the U of M health insurance requirement. 

Please use this language: The University of Minnesota requires all J-1 international student-interns and J-2 dependents to purchase U of M health  insurance. As you are not eligible for U of M employee benefits, you must purchase the Student Health Benefit  Plan  (SHBP) for  international student-interns. Coverage  under the SHBP  is  guaranteed for  incoming  J-1 student-interns  and  J-2  dependents  from  the  day  they  arrive  at  the  U  of  M. Your  payment  for  the  SHBP  will  allow  you  to  be  seen  at  Boynton Health Service for most services at no cost and some services at a reduced cost. Contact the Office of Student  Health Benefits for more information about this plan ( 

J-1 Student-Intern Program Requirements

Include information about J-1 Student-Intern Requirements 

Here is an example: 

In order to participate in the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program as a Student-Intern, you will have to meet certain requirements  of the U.S. Department of State. These include: being enrolled and in good academic standing at your academic institution  in your home country; returning to and obtaining a degree from your home institution after completing the internship  program; and the internship program must fulfill the educational objectives for your current degree program at your home  institution.  

To confirm that these requirements are met, we require a letter from your home institution confirming that you are in good  academic standing and that the internship will fulfill the educational objectives for your current degree program.  

We would be happy to answer any questions you may have or provide further clarity on your visit. We look forward to working with you  and anticipate that your visit here will be rewarding to both you and the Department of [department name]. 



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Last updated: May 13, 2024