Five Tips for Navigating the Form DS-7002

​Completing the “Training/Internship Placement Plan,” also known as the Form DS-7002, can be one of the most daunting aspects of applying for sponsorship of a training or internship program as part of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program.  This form, which the U.S. Department of State requires for every Trainee, Intern, and Student Intern program, can be daunting to fill out – especially for individuals new to the J-1 process.  However, by keeping these five tips in mind when preparing the application, you can save yourself valuable time later in the sponsorship process and avoid potential delays or compliance issues later in the process.

1. Make sure the content reflects that the program is a bona fide training or internship program

The DS-7002 is the key document for outlining the planned activities during the proposed training or internship program.  This form will be vetted by the sponsoring organization and ultimately signed off on by them before issuing the Certificate of Eligibility (Form DS-2019) sponsoring the program.  Additionally, this document is reviewed by the consular official at the candidate’s visa appointment before the J visa is issued.  In both cases, the DS-7002 is vetted to determine what will occur during the program and whether it reflects a bona fide training or internship rather than employment activities or unskilled labor.  The DS-7002 must show what will be learned, how it will be learned, and how progress of the program goals will be monitored and evaluated.  To make these items apparent, the DS-7002 should steer clear of sounding like a job description and should, instead, clearly highlight the skills and experience to be gained during the program.

2. Avoid using too much industry jargon and unidentified acronyms

For most organizations, the DS-7002 is created either entirely or in part by the supervisor and other subject matter experts that will be connected with the implementation of the planned training or internship program.  When this occurs, one common issue that can arise is that the DS-7002 becomes filled with industry-specific phrases, terms, and acronyms that don’t clearly identify what will be occurring with the program and how the activities link together.  In all likelihood, neither the individuals reviewing the form at a sponsoring organization nor the consular official having to review the form in a matter of seconds or minutes during the visa appointment are experts in the field of training.  Making sure that the nature and objectives of the training or internship program can be clearly and quickly understood by industry outsiders are essential for preventing potential problems in obtaining the J-1 visa.

3. Don’t forget to have separate DS-7002s for each site of activity

Federal regulations require a separate DS-7002 form for each distinct site of activity where training or internship activities will be occurring.  If your proposed plan includes multiple sites, plan on having the multiple DS-7002s upfront and allocate your planned program phases accordingly between the two (or more) forms.  And don’t forget - each DS-7002 needs to be signed by both the participant and by the supervisor of the phase(s) associated at that site.

4. Make sure to answer the questions completely

One common issue seen with the DS-7002 form is that a host organization won’t fully respond to the question on the form, which leads to  the sponsor needing to follow up to get additional information and updated forms before the process moves forward.  This can appear in several ways, from neglecting to list the qualifications of the listed supervisor(s) to not providing enough detail on the cultural activities question to show that these will be a regular and integral part of the overall J-1 experience.  This information is important to sponsors as part of the program vetting process, and overlooking this detail when initially creating the DS-7002 form will result in additional follow-up down the line.

5. Don’t overlook the attestations

In the haste of rushing to complete the DS-7002 form in order to get the sponsorship process started, it can be quite easy for participants and supervisors to simply sign the form without looking at the associated attestations.  The Form DS-7002 is a legal document and included in the attestations are important program requirements that are important for all parties to review and understand.