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Guidelines for Administration of the U.S.-Austria Reciprocal Professional Development Program |
US and Austria sign reciprocal Professional Development and Cultural Exchange Program
WYSE News | March 8, 2024

The US Department of State has announced that the Government of the Republic of Austria and the Government of the United States recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to launch a reciprocal professional development program. The new U.S.-Austria Professional Development and Cultural Exchange program, subject to renewal, will be valid for five years and became effective January 31, 2024.

The program provides an exchange opportunity for students and recent graduates of Austrian-accredited post-secondary and dual/vocational education programs. Austrian exchange visitors will be placed for an internship or training experience at private companies and non-profit institutions in the United States. The maximum program duration is 12 months.

Program Administration

The Department of State designates sponsor organizations to administer exchange programs under existing Exchange Visitor Program regulations (22 CFR Part 62). Organizations may apply for a designation under the Intern or Trainee categories specific to this Austria Professional Development Exchange Program, as well as other MOUs in the Intern or Trainee categories. MOU sponsors will receive a separate allotment of Forms DS-2019 for MOU exchange programs. The Form DS-2019 issued to Austrian vocational exchange visitorsshould reflect their program participation information in the Subject/Field Code Remarks Box (e.g., “Austria Professional Development Exchange Program – Up to 12 months”).


Program sponsors will place Austrian exchange visitors with American private companies or non-profit institutions in their field of study or occupational field for periods ranging from six to twelve months. Exchange visitors should complete at least two training rotations, distributed evenly across the program duration, and with progressively increasing responsibility. An exchange visitor may choose to stay with one host organization for the entirety of the program or be placed at two different host organizations. For example, a twelve-month training program may begin with a six-month routine assignment with one company and then progress to a second six-month rotation at a different host organization for a more advanced assignment. Alternatively, exchange visitors may also choose to complete two rotations in more advanced assignments without completing an initial routine component.

The U.S. sponsor, host organization, and exchange visitor must approve a written structured and guided Training/Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP), or Form DS-7002. The sponsor must provide a training plan with at least the first rotation to the exchange visitor no later than one month prior to the program start date; the training plan should be amended for the subsequent rotation and explain how the exchange visitor will assume additional and more advanced responsibility. The maximum duration of this program is twelve months.

Screening and Selection of Exchange Visitors

Final screening and selection of exchange visitors is the responsibility of designated Intern and Trainee category program sponsors. All applicants must be interviewed and must meet the following program eligibility requirements:

  •  Be a citizen of the Republic of Austria aged 18 to 30 years;
  •  For an internship, be a full-time bona fide student or recent graduate of an Austrian-accredited postsecondary or dual/vocational education program outside the United States. A recent graduate is someone who graduated no more than 12 months prior to the date of program application.
  • For a training program, have either a degree or professional certificate from a foreign post-secondary academic institution or dual/vocational education program and at least one year of prior related work experience in their occupational field acquired outside the United States or five years of work experience in their occupational field acquired outside the United States; and
  • Will not be accompanied by a spouse or children in J-2 visa status.

Monitoring and Support

Sponsors must ensure that host organizations compensate Austrian exchange visitors at no less than the highest of the federal, state, or local minimum wage, including for any applicable overtime, for each hour of training or internship.

Sponsors must ensure that exchange visitors participate in two or more cross-cultural activities organized by either the sponsor or host organization during their internship or training program.

Austrian exchange visitors should have the opportunity to travel for up to two months in the United States. This may include the 30 days before and after their internship or training program begin and end dates. With the sponsor and host organization’s written approval, they are permitted to travel for up to one month between the required rotations of their program. Any travel phase that takes place during the program must be reflected on the T/IPP (Form DS-7002).

At any time before or during the program, exchange visitors may request T/IPP revisions after providing a justification for the request to the sponsor. In each rotation, Austrian exchange visitors should intern or train alongside Americans, learn U.S. business practices, become familiar with U.S. culture, and learn general practical and management skills.

All other Intern and Trainee category regulations apply. This includes adherence to regulations on exchange visitor pre-arrival, orientation, monitoring, and program evaluations.