Work and Travel Ecuador
If you wish to pursue practical training through an internship with a U.S. based employer, you will require either an exchange visitor (J-1) or trainee (H-3) visa. Such activities cannot be conducted on a B-2 visa or visa free under the Waiver Program, even if you will receive no payment from a U.S. source.
The first step is to determine if the prospective employer is a designated exchange visitor program sponsor. Training opportunities exist in a variety of occupational categories, including the arts and culture, information media and communications, education, management, business, commerce and finance. If the prospective employer is a designated exchange visitor program sponsor they will issue you with a Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status, form DS-2019, which you will be required to furnish when you apply for the J-1 visa.
If no exchange program exists, you may be eligible to obtain the requisite sponsorship for the J-1 visa through an approved work exchange program. There are a number of work exchange programs between Ecuador and the United States which allow participants to perform any employment which is available to them, although some work exchange programs restrict participants to a specific field. Further information is available from the individual program sponsor.
If you are unable to obtain sponsorship for an exchange visitor visa, your prospective employer will be required to file, on your behalf, a petition to accord you trainee (H-3) status. The petition, Form I-129H, is filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service office that has jurisdiction over the area of intended employment. The petition will take several months to be processed. Please review the information for Employment visas.
We always recommend that individuals apply for visas well in advance of their proposed date of travel. No assurances regarding the issuance of visas can be given in advance. Therefore, final travel plans or the purchase of non-refundable tickets should not be made until a visa has been issued and you have received your passport via DHL.