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FAQ

INTERNSHIPS

  1. Applications

Q: How many interns are accepted?

A: Between one and six interns are accepted by each language service for a given session.

Q: What are the deadlines for applying? 

A: Deadlines vary, but can be quite soon after the internship opening is published, which is usually several months before the internship begins.

Q: Can I still send my application when the deadline is over?

A: No applications will be accepted after the deadline. 

Q: Will I be informed of the receipt of my application? 

A: Yes. Online applications will be automatically acknowledged where an email address has been provided. Please note that you will receive a confirmation email for registering, for creating a Personal History Profile (PHP) and for applying for an internship by submitting your PHP to the Internship “Job Opening”. If you do not receive an e-mail acknowledgement within 24 hours of submission confirming your application to the Job Opening (the number of Job Opening should be stated), your application may have not been received. In such cases, please go to “My UN” page and check the status of your application by clicking on “View Application History”, and resubmit the application, if necessary.

Q: Is a CV enough for an application? What do I need for the application?

A: Internship applications need to be submitted in the same way as applications for employment, and you should not supply a separate CV/résumé. See How to apply.

Q: Do I need to attach recommendations to my application? 

A: No. This is not required for internships. 

Q: Should I contact the United Nations to check the status of my application? 

A: No. You will be informed about the outcome of the results as soon as the selection process is finalized. The decision-making process may vary from case to case. Please do not contact the UN regarding the status of the application.

Q: How soon will I be informed about the outcome of my application? 

A: It varies from case to case. In most cases, selected applicants are notified about two months prior to the commencement of the internship.

Q: Can I apply for more than one language internship?

A: Yes. Provided you meet the eligibility requirements, you can apply for internships at different duty stations (e.g. Geneva, New York, Vienna) and with different services (e.g. verbatim reporting, translation, editing). You must submit a separate application for each one.

Q: If my application is unsuccessful, can I reapply?

A: Yes.  You can reapply for internships in subsequent periods provided you still meet the eligibility requirements. You must submit a new application each time.

  1. Eligibility

Q: I have a Bachelor's Degree. Am I eligible to apply for the internship programme? I am enrolled in a Master's Programme. Can I apply? I am enrolled in a PhD Programme. Can I apply?

A: This depends on the duration of your undergraduate studies. At the time of application and during the entire internship, applicants have to be enrolled in at least  the 5th year of a degree programme, whether this is the continuation of undergraduate studies or a separate programme of graduate studies.

Q: I have already finished my studies. Can I apply? 

A: Yes, provided that your graduation date is no more than one year before the start of the internship.

Q: Does an internship give credit for my studies?

A: Check with your university/educational institution. 

Q: What kind of skills are you looking for? 

A: Obviously good language and technical (i.e. translation, editing, interpreting) skills, but also strong interpersonal skills, a positive attitude, interest in world affairs, good general knowledge and good IT skills.

Q: Do I get a certificate? 

A: Yes, everyone who has completed an internship receives a certificate stating the period of the internship and the name of the department or office to which she/he was assigned. 

  1. Nationality

Q: I am a citizen of a non-UN member state. Can I apply for an internship?

A: Yes, you may apply even if you are a citizen of a non-UN member state.

Q: Is there a nationality quota on how many candidates may be selected from each country?

A: No. However, preference is given to candidates from developing, underrepresented or unrepresented countries in the United Nations. 

  1. Visa Requirements

Q: What type of visa do I need for an internship at United Nations Headquarters?

A: United Nations interns must have a valid visa to enter and stay as an intern (rather than a tourist) in the United States. Most common is the B-1 visa. Depending on your nationality and student status (for instance whether you are studying in your home country or abroad), this may vary. Nationals of countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA) also need to apply for a visa. Please check with the United States of America Embassy/Consulate in your country of current residence.

Q: Does the United Nations provide any support for visa applications?

A: No, apart from the letter of confirmation from the United Nations that you have been offered an internship.

  1. The internship itself

Q: What kind of work will I be asked to do?

A: This will depend on the service to which you are assigned and the period of your internship.  Information on internships in the different professions and at the different duty stations can be found on this website.

Q: When is the starting date of my internship?

A: Selected candidates will be provided with an internship offer. All details will be in the letter (dates of the internship, departments assigned to, name of supervisor).

Q: Will my performance be assessed?

A: Yes, interns are given feedback by United Nations staff on the work or tasks they perform during the internship.

Q: Will I receive training?

A: Interns receive training to familiarize them with the tools and resources used by the service to which they are assigned. Training in translation and interpreting per se is not provided.  Training in editing, verbatim reporting and précis-writing is provided, since these are lesser known professions. Training is entirely hands-on and practical.

  1. Possibility of adjusting internship periods

Q: What is the minimum and maximum duration of an internship?

A: The normal duration of an internship is two months, but it may be extended to a maximum of six months.

Q: Can I do a one-month internship?

A: No. The minimum duration of an internship is two months.

Q: Can I do a part-time internship?

A: Internships are full-time only. Under exceptional circumstances part-time arrangements may be agreed by the receiving office, if the minimum duration of two months is already met.

Q: Can I postpone my internship until later?

A: No. An internship offer is valid only for the initial internship period. If the applicant declines this offer, s/he must reapply and the reapplication will be considered along with all the applications received.

Q: What is the procedure for extending my internship period?

A: Once the intern has completed part of the internship, s/he may request an extension from his/her supervisor. The supervisor will then submit the request to the Executive Office, where the request will be reviewed. The Executive Office will then inform the intern and the supervisor of the outcome. The intern must have a visa covering the additional period and still be enrolled in graduate studies throughout the extended period. Alternatively, the intern may agree on a longer period of duration (maximum: 6 months) with the supervisor prior to the start of the internship.

  1. Accommodation/Housing

Q: Is there any financial or logistical support for housing issues?

A: There is no financial or logistical support for housing. 

Q: Does the United Nations provide advice and information on available accommodation?

A: It is the responsibility of the intern to arrange for his/her accommodation.

Q: Where can I stay in New York? What does it cost?

A: It depends on the type of accommodation you prefer. An average studio apartment ranges from $800 to $2000 per month. Low-range accommodations such as the YMCA/YWCA cost approximately $1400 per month.

Q: Does the United Nations subsidize the rent for interns?

A: No. Unfortunately, the United Nations does not subsidize rent for interns.

  1. Cancellation/Refusal of offer

Q: What is the procedure for cancelling or refusing the internship offer?

A: Selected applicants must notify the supervisor whether they will accept the internship or not no later than two weeks after receipt of the written offer.

  1. Financial Aid

Q: How much does it generally cost to live in New York City during the internship?

A: It costs approximately $2,500 per month to cover accommodation, meals and other living expenses in New York.

Q: Can I get any financial support from United Nations?

A: Unfortunately, the United Nations cannot provide financial support to interns. All expenses connected with the internship will have to be borne by the intern or sponsoring institution. 

Q: Can interns take on part-time jobs to cover living expenses in New York?

A: No. The visa status of interns who are not United States citizens does not allow them to undertake paid employment in the United States of America.

Q: Are United Nations interns eligible for any discounts?

A: In New York, interns benefit from a number of discounts and special benefits, such as a free tour of the United Nations Secretariat and free entry to the Museum of Modern Art, as well as discounts at certain eateries. Details are provided upon arrival.

  1. Documents

Q: What kind of documents do I need to provide to the assigned department?

A: You need to send:

  • the signed offer letter and the internship agreement (no later than 2 weeks after receiving them);
  • the medical certificate of good health;
  • proof of enrolment in a health insurance plan;
  • proof of enrolment in a degree programme in a graduate school (second university degree or higher) at the time of the application and during the internship. Students pursuing their studies in countries where higher education is not divided into undergraduate and graduate stages must be enrolled in their fifth year (or higher) at a university or equivalent institution towards the completion of a degree.

Q: What is the medical certificate of good health?

A: The certificate of good health is a medical document stating that you are in good health. There is neither a specific nor a required format. It does not have to be in English.

Q: Do I need to have a health insurance plan?

A: Yes. You must have a valid health insurance covering your medical expenses for the duration of your internship in the country of the duty station.

  1. Employment

Q: What are my chances of employment at the United Nations after the internship?

A: The Internship Programme is not related to employment in the United Nations. There should be no expectation of employment within the United Nations after an internship. However many former language interns subsequently pass the recruitment tests set by the language services and end up working for the Organization.

Q: Are there any restrictions on interns being employed by the United Nations?

A: Please note that current regulations stipulate that interns are not eligible to apply for, or be appointed to, positions at the professional level for a period of six months following the end of their internship.

Q: How can I obtain a professional post with the language services after the internship?

A: Entry-level professional posts reserved for external recruitment are filled through language competitive examinations (LCEs), which are organized by each language service as required (usually every 1-3 years). For further information, please check the recruitment pages of this portal or the Language Competitive Examinations webpage. Language services also organize recruitment tests for freelance, temporary posts on an ad hoc basis.  Interns who perform well during their internship may be invited to sit the freelance tests.

Due to our limited resources, we might not be able to update our website as frequently as we would wish. Information may be subject to change without prior notification. Important notice: This site may contain links and references to third-party websites. The link sites are not under the control of the United Nations and the United Nations is not responsible for the content of any linked site or any link contained in a linked site. The United Nations provides these links only as a convenience, and the inclusion of a link or reference does not imply the endorsement of the linked site by the United Nations.