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Internships in the US as a Canadian

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  • Thread starter raina1234
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Hi,

I apologize if this isn't the place to ask this. I am a second-year Physics student in Canada, and I have a scheduled 8-month co-op soon (from September 2020 to April 2021, yes it's still early). I wanted to work in the US, either as part of a national research laboratory, or a university, or any sort of internship program.

I noticed that many internships require US citizenship, so I was wondering if anyone knew of programs that take Canadians? Also, would it be weird to reach out to professors at US universities directly?

Any help would be appreciated, thanks!
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
George Jones
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Fifteen years ago or so, when my wife was an MASC student, she used to do 4-month internships at GM under a J-1 visa.
 
  • #3
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Thank you for your reply!

I've heard of people doing this but it seems like they arrange the J-1 Visa after they have gotten a job offer. I guess my question is, how does one go about getting said job offer as a Canadian with no US Visa? Are J-1 Visas required to intern in the US? I'm not too knowledgeable on the subject.

Many internship programs require citizenship, so I've been looking at professor bios in hopes to gain research experience in their labs. However, I don't know if it's a good idea to directly reach out to them.
 
  • #4
StatGuy2000
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Thank you for your reply!

I've heard of people doing this but it seems like they arrange the J-1 Visa after they have gotten a job offer. I guess my question is, how does one go about getting said job offer as a Canadian with no US Visa? Are J-1 Visas required to intern in the US? I'm not too knowledgeable on the subject.

Many internship programs require citizenship, so I've been looking at professor bios in hopes to gain research experience in their labs. However, I don't know if it's a good idea to directly reach out to them.
I can't say for research opportunities, but certainly for private sector co-op work placements or internships, typically the employer will sponsor you and help arrange the various visas. Here is a link that provides some further information.

https://www.legalline.ca/legal-answers/can-canadians-work-in-the-usa/

The above link is more geared to those Canadians working in private sector employment, from what I can tell.
The J-1 Visa is more directed towards Canadians and other non-US citizens seeking research or teaching opportunities in the US. Here is a link with a better description of the program.

https://j1visa.state.gov/programs

You would probably fall under the College and University Student Program, which specifically mentions student internship programs in a research setting.
 
  • #5
ZapperZ
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I can't say for research opportunities, but certainly for private sector co-op work placements or internships, typically the employer will sponsor you and help arrange the various visas. Here is a link that provides some further information.

https://www.legalline.ca/legal-answers/can-canadians-work-in-the-usa/

The above link is more geared to those Canadians working in private sector employment, from what I can tell.
The J-1 Visa is more directed towards Canadians and other non-US citizens seeking research or teaching opportunities in the US. Here is a link with a better description of the program.

https://j1visa.state.gov/programs

You would probably fall under the College and University Student Program, which specifically mentions student internship programs in a research setting.
But here, we are putting the cart before the horse. That visa will not be granted without a sponsor, i.e. an agency, institution, business, etc. that wants that individual in the first place. And many of these internships, especially at US universities and National labs, are restricted to only US citizens AND those already at a US university. So they definitely will not extend a J-1 visa, or whatever visa, to non-US citizens. That's why I said that figuring out what visa is required is rather pre-mature.

Unless there is an exchange program, or a specific bi-lateral program between an institution in Canada and the US, or unless there is a private company that is open to making such a sponsorship for an international intern, such opportunities are usually difficult to find.

Zz.
 
  • #6
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You'll probably find there are more opportunities for private sector sponsored co-op positions. In terms of actual research positions at academic institutions I would check to see what opportunities your school offers but you may find there are more opportunities at universities in Europe and Asia. Not sure where in Canada you are but you might want to check out

http://obw.ouinternational.ca/programs
http://www.ora.ouinternational.ca/programs
http://www.osaka-u.ac.jp/en/international/inbound/exchange_program/frontierlab/frontierlabguide
 
  • #7
StatGuy2000
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But here, we are putting the cart before the horse. That visa will not be granted without a sponsor, i.e. an agency, institution, business, etc. that wants that individual in the first place. And many of these internships, especially at US universities and National labs, are restricted to only US citizens AND those already at a US university. So they definitely will not extend a J-1 visa, or whatever visa, to non-US citizens. That's why I said that figuring out what visa is required is rather pre-mature.

Unless there is an exchange program, or a specific bi-lateral program between an institution in Canada and the US, or unless there is a private company that is open to making such a sponsorship for an international intern, such opportunities are usually difficult to find.

Zz.
The existence of the J-1 visa pre-supposes research opportunities at American universities that are open to non-US citizens -- for example, in joint collaborations between American universities and their partner universities outside of the US (whether in Canada or elsewhere). That was certainly the assumption I was making.

The OP asked a question regarding visa requirements, and I offered some info above.
 

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