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J1 USA - J1 The A-Z





The J-1 Summer Work and Travel Programme is a unique opportunity for 3rd level students to work legally in the U.S. for up to 4 months and travel for one month thereafter. The 4 months begins from the start date on your DS2019 usually from mid May with the last work date allowed being September 15th . You will find these dates (in box 3) . After your DS-2019 expires you may stay in the US but only as a tourist for a maximum of 30 days.

Absolutely! You just need to be able to show your intention to return to Ireland at the end of the programme (even if you are planning on doing the 12 Month Grad Visa.)

The 2020 J1 will be open for applications via our website in the coming months. But don't wait til then to be prepared...the start of the college year is the ideal time to hunt down prospective employers and friends who have been before, who have contacts. Also check that you're passport is in date and in mint condition....would be a shame to find you have to get a new one late in the season when you could do without the stress!

The DS-2019 is your work authorisation document that proves you can work legally and is valid only when accompanied by the J-1 visa which is stamped into your passport when you receive it from the U.S. embassy in Ireland. The DS-2019 will state the exact time period in which you can work in the USA (e.g. 1st June until 15th September 2019). The last date participants can work in the USA is 15th September 2019. Participants cannot work after the end date on their DS-2019 (e.g. 15th September) but they can remain in the USA for a further 30 days as a tourist. These additional 30 days are for travel purposes within mainland USA only

A J1 US Sponsor is a regulated not for profit entity appointed by the Educational & Cultural Affairs Office of the US Department of State. The Us Sponsor issue all DS-2019 Work Authorisation Documents for J-1 participants. Once Stateside, the US Sponsor takes responsibility for your participation on the J1 visa programme and are there to support and monitor your programme. It is essential that you co-operate and communicate with them as they need to ensure the health and safety and smooth running of the programme. They also determine your ability to remain on the programme and provide many support services for your time in the U.S.

Worldwide, all participants are required to complete a US Sponsor Orientation online before they depart on their J1 Visa. This is a U.S. Government mandatory requirement for the programme. It is very worthwhile and practical and gives useful information on how to apply for your Social Security Number, SEVIS Registration, information on the monthly monitoring survey, registering your US summer Job with SEVIS/US Sponsor etc. Failure to complete the orientation before departure will result in the participant’s cancellation from the programme. Full cancellations fees will apply in these cases.

SEVIS is the computerised system used by The US Department of Homeland Security to collect, maintain and manage information about international foreign students and exchange visitors during their stay in the USA. All J-1 participants must register with SEVIS within the first 10 days of their programme start date (i.e. the start date on your DS-2019 form in box 3). Failure to register within this time frame can lead to serious consequences for the individual.

All students travelling on the J1 programme MUST have an approved seasonal job before they can take part on the programme.

Network Network Network. There are thousands of employers looking for J1ers and the Irish have a great reputation. We will have access to jobs but for the most freedom you should research and find your own job independently. Join group forums on places that hire. Speak with family members and hunt down connections . GAA clubs are great for networking stateside too. Get your CV into the American Resume format! Keep it short - one page preferably, maximum two pages. Above all , don't leave it too late! Start NOW!

Seasonal Jobs that must be compatible with the intent and regulations of the programme. The programme mission is that participants can balance their work responsibilities with time spent experiencing the U.S culture and society. Important that you get to know Americans and not stick with groups of Irish. Please note, you must work an average of 32 hours per week. In addition to the above, any summer job that could bring notoriety or disrepute to the Exchange Visitor Program is expressly prohibited by the program regulations. It is also important to note that you need to ensure that all Work & Travel USA jobs are "seasonal" and not taking work from American Citizens. The typical Summer Work Travel job is in seasonal/resort areas in a seasonal business. There are seasonal needs outside resort areas and there may be suitable jobs in these areas. If a job is in an office environment, it should be seasonal and NOT an internship ie. if there is intent for professional development or some sort of career experience, then it likely belongs on the Intern side. In addition, you need to be careful that you are not working in isolated/remote areas. For a list of prohibited Jobs click here.

Yes. You can have as many as you like provided they all meet the programme requirements and have been approved by the US Sponsor.

Yes but you must inform your sponsor and receive approval from them. Don't just walk out - give a minimum notice period. If you do not receive Sponsor approval , you are in violation of the programme and could lose your visa status and cause yourself problems down the road.

That's entirely up to you! However, participants working for 'salary only' must be paid at least the federal minimum wage. Participants working for 'salary plus tips' will receive a lower basic wage.

Anywhere in the U.S ( there are a list of prohibited regions due to accommodation shortage and poor infrastructure) but the States is your oyster. Be adventurous...Haiwai ? Florida? Seattle? Texas? There's a vast amount of variety out there and we would say don't follow the crowd.

3 Times! Just as long as you qualify under the basic eligibility and remember it is vital to be legal.

Happens all the time! It's not the end of the world or the end of your J1. We can help change your flight schedule. There may be a fee for any changes made, which can be reimbursed to you by the insurance company if your insurance policy covers this eventuality. Please Note: this cover must be taken out before you sit your Summer Exams. For obvious reasons, you are not covered for Summer Exam Failure if you know the results of any of your exams before you depart Ireland!

You need to show your proof of pre-arranged job at immigration and also that you have access to funds ($800 minimum) This proof can be in the form of Cash, Travellers Cheques, Credit or Debit card statements or Bank Statements. Be aware though, as a bank account can be closed after a statement has been issued, you could be asked to log in to your bank account online, so the CBP Officer can view the account information in order to ascertain their balances and method of deposits. Cash and Travellers Cheques are the only form of proof of funds GUARANTEED by US Immigration.

Yes, but only as a tourist for a maximum of 30 days. You may not leave the US and re-enter on your J1 visa during this period.

It will require extra processing and extra time (6-10 weeks more than normal) by the U.S Embassy who will request support documentation from you such as your criminal records, letters explaining the offense, copies of statutes etc. Chances are you will be required to do a full medical if you have been arrested and/or convicted of any criminal or drink driving offence. You are responsible for all fees incurred to undertake this medical. You will need to gather extra documentation in the form of criminal records, copies of statutes, letters explaining the offence, and any other documentation requested by the US Embassy. If you are rejected due to these offences, then the programme fee will be non-refundable.

This should be top of your list upon arrival. Head to your local Social Security Office ( early morning is best). You will need to bring a Dear Social Security Officer letter we issue you with DS and passport. Always ask for a receipt of application from the Social Security Officer. This will assist you to prove to US Employers you have applied for your SSN. If you have obtained a Social Security Number in the past, through a previous US visa are you exempt from this requirement. In this case you can use the same card / number again. Please note that once you have applied for your Social Security card, it is legal to be paid by your US Employer. If you have lost your Social Security card then please visit for instructions on how to obtain a replacement card. If you have applied for your Social Security Number before but never received the number / card, you should contact the Federal Benefits Unit in the US Embassy on 01-6688777, ext. 2112 (8.30am-11.30am Monday- Friday excluding Wed).

Yes, this is more relevant for 2nd jobs as you will have been hired before you get there - an employer can legally hire you but you must have proof that you have already applied for your SSN. If you have any problems concerning gaining a summer job due to the fact you are waiting for your Social Security Number, please contact the US Sponsor immediately.

The Social Security Number (SSN) is the American version of the Irish PPS number. All individuals must obtain a SSN so they can work legally in the USA.

Usually 3-5 weeks ! But you can work before it arrives (see below).

No, if you already have a SSN, you do not need to get another one. A SSN is for life.

You need to contact the local Social Security Office in the USA, where you are staying, with two forms of ID to get your SSN. DO NOT apply for a new Social Security Number! It is completely out of hands!

It is essential you carry your important documents (passport, DS-2019, etc) with you at all times. However, in the case of lost or stolen documents please follow the steps below. Passport: Contact your closest Consulate/Embassy for a new passport. DS-2019 form: Contact your US Sponsor immediately. A Customer Services Agent will assist you in acquiring a new DS-2019 form. Please be aware there will be a charge for the replacement DS-2019 form. Social Security Card: Contact your local Social Security Office to apply for a replacement card. DO NOT apply for a new card.

Yes BUT we urge caution. If you wish to visit Canada or return to Ireland for a short period while on the J-1 Summer Work and Travel Programme be absolutely sure and check whether or not your visa allows you to make multiple entries in to the USA. This will be indicated by the letter "M" under the word "ENTRIES" on your J-1 visa. This will allow you to re-enter the USA more than once, as long as your J-1 visa and DS-2019 are both valid. If your J-1 visa and/or DS-2019 form is expired, you will NOT be able to re-enter the USA under the J-1 visa status. Please Note: Before your trips please contact the US Sponsor as you must have your DS-2019 form signed by a "Responsible Officer" in the US Sponsor's office. Please refer to the J1 handbook for more detailed information on how to obtain a signature, from the US Sponsor, on your DS-2019 form. IMPORTANT: travel to the Tijuana Metropolitan area in Mexico (includes Rosarito) is not permitted under any circumstances. Failure to abide by this will result in immediate termination from the programme.

No! State Department Rules state it is not possible to extend your work authorisation in the USA beyond the end date of the programme, 15th September 2019. The US Summer Work and Travel Programme is only valid during the designated summer period.