The International Student Visitor Program

Under the authorization of the U.S. Department of State’s Exchange Visitor Program, the ACPE sponsors international students on the J-1 Visa in the Trainee category.  All international students in this category must have either: 1) a degree or professional certificate from a foreign post-secondary academic institution and at least one year of prior related work experience in his/her occupational field acquired outside the United States, or 2) five years work experience outside the United States in his/her occupational field, and who enters the United States to participate in a structured and guided work-based training program in his/her specific occupational field.  The maximum time allowed for a trainee is eighteen (18) months.  There are no extensions allowed beyond these maximums.

ACPE cannot renew a J-1 visa. Anyone currently on a J-1 must return to their home country for 2 years before they are eligible for a new J-1. This is a US State Department policy; not an ACPE policy. To our knowledge, all appeals of the J-1's 18-month stay limit have been denied.

Because the J-1 no longer works for SES/CEC folks, we asked Alexander Volpe, an expert in student and religious visas, to offer an opinion of our best options. His letter is here .  ACPE is happy to provide letters of support, consultation, and recommendations for these options; we are not, however, able to provide funding for legal fees, travel, or applications.

Some folks have been successful in obtaining an H1-B visa. We are happy to support such efforts; however, please be advised that the newest guidance for such visas is that the recipient must earn at least $100,000 (thus making them even harder to obtain).

Required J-1 Visa Application Materials:

Admissions Interviews.
  The interview summary must be written and submitted to the ACPE along with the other visa application materials.  The summary should note the student’s language proficiency, any special needs of the student, as well as the other criteria defined by the ACPE standards.

Form DS-7002 (TIPP) documents the Training/Internship Placement Plan.  It must be signed by student and supervisor before submitting it to the ACPE.  NOTE:  This will add to the amount of time it takes to get all materials into ACPE.  The ACPE is not authorized to issue any visa documentation to the student until this form is submitted.  No exceptions can be made!  The form will then be signed by ACPE and sent to the student who will need to present it at the visa interview in his or her country. 

Proof of Insurance must be submitted to ACPE prior to issuance of the visa certificate.  If the ACPE center is providing insurance, a verification of the minimum coverage is required.  Minimum coverage requirements are as follows:

    • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness;
    • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000;
    • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation to your home country in the amount of $50,000; and
    • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.

If the ACPE program provides some, but not all, of the minimum coverage, then the student must purchase additional insurance.  There are a variety of private vendors from whom students can purchase this insurance, but the premiums for the time period covering CPE (which can be up to $1000 per year depending on coverage selected) must be paid in advance or ACPE cannot provide the student with the documentation to take to the embassy.  Some of the sources for purchasing International Student insurance at the levels required by the federal government:

The need for proof of insurance in advance is likely to be an additional financial burden for many international students.

Refer to the checklist on page six of the J-1 Visa Application Packet for additional information that will be required to complete the visa application.

Advanced or Additional Training.  International students can return to the United States for advanced or additional training after they have returned to their home countries.  In some cases they are not eligible to return until they have been in their home countries for at least two years.  There is no maximum to the number of times a students may seek additional training as long as any advanced or additional training is significantly different from any previous training they received under ACPE’s sponsorship.  This will allow more international students to enroll in Supervisory CPE during a second or third training period.

Minimum Weekly Hours for training programs is thirty-two (32) hours per week.  ACPE will not be able to issue visa eligibility certificates for extended CPE programs or part-time programs with fewer hours per week.

Mid-Point and Final Evaluations will be required.  In addition to the typical ACPE evaluation as required by the ACPE Standards, the ACPE national office will send the ACPE supervisor of an international student the appropriate accompanying forms for these evaluative processes with international students.

The ACPE office will work with you, but the following deadlines will assure you timely attention to your international student application:

  • January 1 - accepting international students for summer and submission of all materials to ACPE
  • March 1 - accepting international students for the August-September-October unit and submission of all materials to ACPE

    ACPE is not authorized to process a change of visa status request for international students currently in the United States.  All visa certificates that we issue must be approved at a U.S. Embassy in the student’s home country. 

A current application packet and training plan is available here:

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