BUYUSA.GOV -- U.S. Commercial Service


Internship Program - Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who is eligible to apply?

U.S. and non U.S. citizens are eligible to apply. Individuals with dual citizenship may also apply. However, one must pass a security investigation before the projected start date of the internship cycle. Candidates may be unable to participate in the program should the security clearance not be completed in time.

2. What is the level of commitment required?

We require a minimum of 16 hours a week. If one cannot commit 16 hours, the internship agreement will be rescinded. We understand that you will not be certain of your academic schedule at the time you submit your application. We ask that you apply being fairly certain that you will be able to commit 16 hours a week during the 7AM-7PM 12-hour slot allotted to each day. Proof of commitment is needed for the final internship offer.

3. Must one be a native speaker of Japanese and/or English?

No, one does not need to be a native or heritage speaker, but should have a strong command (approximately TOEFL 550/IBT 90/TOEIC 800, JLPT N2) of both languages. Language validation is a requirement for the application, so please submit proof of language ability. You do not need to validate the language you are pursuing an academic degree in---as it will be assumed that you are fully functional in that language.

For students enrolled in a Japanese academic institution, please submit proof of English language ability. For students enrolled in an American academic institution, please submit proof of Japanese language ability. For students without proof of language ability, please take the computerized tests CASEC ( for English and J-SAC ( for Japanese, and submit proof of these scores with your application. 英検準一級may also be submitted as English language validation. In some cases, we will accept letters from Professors indicating language ability on either the TOEIC/TOEFL or JLPT scale.

4. Will I get credit for the internship?

The Embassy does have a relationship with several schools that do offer credits for students that participate in the internship program. We can document work and time, or otherwise complete forms that may be required by U.S. colleges to gain academic credit.

5. Is the internship paid?

Unfortunately, the internship is unpaid.

6. What other requirements must I met?

Selected interns must sign the Volunteer Agreement indicating their understanding that the Embassy cannot be responsible for workplace related injuries and/or medical costs. Interns are encouraged to have their own medical and liability insurance-should they have concerns. Interns should check with home universities about such options.

7. Does the Embassy/Consulate provide housing or a stipend for commuting?

Unfortunately, no financial benefits can be provided.

8. How do I apply?

You can apply by emailing 1) the completed application form, 2) your English resume with proof of language scores and 3) a cover letter or statement of interest in English. We ask for a U.S. style resume (please reference samples on the web) that elaborates on your skills and achievements. Please do not merely list what you have done. We also recommend that you have someone proofread your application materials if English is not your native language. Please email materials to

9. What happens after I apply?

Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted. There will be 1-2 interviews before a conditional offer is made, and online interviews can be conducted for distance candidates. Once a conditional offer is made, candidates must pass a security check that can take 1-3 months.

10. What type of responsibilities will I have as an intern?

As an intern for the Commercial Section, you will have the opportunity to attend internal policy meetings, assist in planning events for U.S. companies, attend tradeshows, and conduct market research. You also will be asked to assist with administrative tasks. Please be aware that your involvement in the tasks listed will vary based on when/how often you come in. As can be expected, there are busy periods and less active seasons.

11. My friend wants to apply.

The internship is open to all interested and eligible U.S. and non U.S. citizens. The same application procedures apply.

12. Can I apply to a part-time job at the Embassy?

The Embassy occasionally advertises for a wide variety of available positions but those on student visas and current college students are ineligible to apply. Should you be interested in Embassy employment in the future, you can check the website for local hire positions (open to those who can legally reside and work in Japan) or sit for the State Department of Commerce Department Foreign Service Assessments (open to those who are U.S. citizens wishing to join the Foreign Service).

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