- Application Information
- Pre-Departure Orientation
- Proof of Funds
- Working in America
- Social Security
- While in the USA
- Returning back to Ireland
- Extending your stay
- Repeating Exams
- What is the J1?
The J-1 Summer Work and Travel Programme allows full-time third level students to enter the US on a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa. This programme allows you to travel to the USA and work there legally for up to four months starting from the dates printed on your DS-2019 (in box 3) and ending no later than 15th September 2018. After your DS-2019 expires you may stay in the US but only as a tourist for a maximum of 30 days.
- What is a US Sponsor?
A J1 US Sponsor is appointed by the Educational & Cultural Affairs Office of the US Department of State. The Us Sponsor issue all DS-2019 Work Authorisation Documents for USIT's J-1 participants. US Sponsors are well placed to provide the highest level of support services for all USIT participants after their arrival in the US.
- What is SEVIS?
SEVIS is a 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 commencing (the programme start date will be stated on your DS-2019 form in box 3). Failure to register within this time frame can lead to serious consequences for the individual. Please refer to the J1 handbook for more detailed information about SEVIS registration.
- What is a DS-2019?
The DS-2019 is the official document that allows participants to work legally while on the J-1 Summer Work and Travel Programme and it is issued by the US Sponsor on behalf of the US Government. It is only valid for work when accompanied by the J-1 visa which is stamped into your passport by the US Embassy in Ireland.
The DS-2019 will state the exact time period in which each J-1 participant can work in the USA (e.g. 1st June until 15th September 2018). The last date participants can work in the USA is 15th September 2018. 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!
- When do I apply?
The 2018 J1 Summer Work and Travel Programme will be open for applications through USIT’s dedicated J1 Website. The first thing we suggest you do is apply for a valid passport if your passport will expire in the near future or if it is not in pristine condition.
- I am a final year, am I eligible?
Final year students can apply. You just need to be able to show your intention to return to Ireland at the end of your programme. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- I have been arrested and/or convicted of a crime/ drink driving offence. How does this affect my application?
If you have committed/ been arrested and/or convicted of any criminal or drink driving offence, you may be required by the US Embassy to complete a medical exam. 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. In this case you are subject to extra processing and such queries can often add at least 6 to 10 weeks to normal processing times. USIT will not be responsible for any delays as a result of obtaining and submitting this information. If you are rejected due to these offences, then the programme fee will be non-refundable.
- Where can I go?
You can travel to anywhere in the USA apart from the listed prohibited regions. Hundreds of options are available - why don't you do something totally different for the summer - work at a beach resort in Honolulu, a hotel in Anchorage, an amusement park in Orlando, a restaurant in Seattle, a diner in Ohio… you have 50 states to choose from!
- How many times can I go on the J1 Summer Work & Travel Programme?
There is no limit to the number of times you get a J1 Summer Work and Travel Visa. Once you still qualify under the eligibility section and have not previously been terminated from your J1 Programme, you can go as many times as you want!
- What is the US Sponsor Online Orientation?
The Orientation is a mandatory requirement of the programme set down by the US Department of State.
All participants are required to complete a US Sponsor Orientation online via an e-mail link before they depart on their J1 Visa. This is a U.S. Government mandatory requirement for the programme. The orientation is extremely beneficial as it gives 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.
The Orientation link will be emailed directly from US Sponsor to all students before their departure. In this email there will be a personalised Username and Password which will be required when entering the web link.
Proof of Funds
- Do I have to show Proof of Funds when I am entering the US?
US Immigration Officers do require that all J-1 participants have a certain amount of money to finance them when they are entering the USA on their J-1 programme. With a pre-arranged summer job in the USA, you need to have a completed USIT/US Sponsor Job Offer Form and $800 minimum available to you on arrival in the US, and you must be able to show proof of this to the US Immigration Official. This proof can be in the form of Cash, Travellers Cheques, Credit or Debit card statements or Bank Statements. However, 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.
Please contact the Programmes Department (email@example.com) if you require more information.
- Can I stay in the USA after my J1 Visa expires on September 15th?
Yes, but only as a tourist for a maximum of 30 days. You cannot work during this period. You may not leave the US and re-enter on your J1 visa during this period.
Working in America
- Do I need a summer job before I go?
All students travelling on the J1 programme MUST have an approved seasonal job before they can take part on the programme.
- How can I find a summer job before going?
You can avail of one of the hundreds of job interview slots that Usit can arrange for you over the season, or you can find your own summer job independently. If you decide to do it independently, speaking with family members, friends and previous J1 students is a great way to make connections. You can search our USIT’s J1 Employer database with many US Employers who hire J1 students. Make sure to get your CV converted into the American style resume and start to apply for summer jobs as soon as possible.
- What kind of jobs can I do?
Any summer job, whether or not it is included in the list below, must be generally compatible with the rules, regulations, and intent of the program. Please note, you must work an average of 32 hours per week. Participants must be able to balance their work responsibilities with time spent exploring their local community, learning about the U.S. and getting to know Americans. 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.
The following job types are currently prohibited by the US Department of State:
- Any job that is unpaid or does not pay at least the minimum wage for that state
- Sales jobs requiring the participant to invest his/her own monies to pre-purchase inventory
- Domestic help positions in private U.S. households - e.g. au pair, servant, gardener or chauffeur
- Jobs in the adult entertainment industry
- Jobs on the Department of Labor's "hazardous jobs list"
- Jobs in warehouses
- Jobs with moving companies
- Jobs in factories
- Jobs in manufacturing
- Jobs in construction or located on construction sites
- Jobs in catalog / online distribution centers
- Jobs in the fisheries industry
- Jobs that are substantially commission-based and thus do not guarantee minimum wage
- Jobs at mall kiosks/carts
- Employment that involves driving as a primary job duty
- Jobs with exposure to dangerous chemicals (e.g. pesticides)
- Jobs on the gaming floor of casinos
- Jobs with travelling carnivals / concessions
- Jobs where the participant is hired as an independent contractor / hired on a 1099 form
- Operators of pedicabs, rolling chairs, other passenger carrying vehicles for hire, and/or vehicles requiring a commercial driver's license -Jobs providing clinical care, medical services or involving patient contact, hands on therapy, counseling, administering treatment or making diagnoses of medical, psychiatric or psychological patients, or veterinary work involving hands-on care.
- As ship or aircraft crew members, or as pilots, except as crew members on ships that travel only within domestic U.S. waters
- Teacher, teaching assistant or coach
- Camp counselor
- Jobs through staffing/employment agencies
- Jobs entailing sustained physical contact with customers (e.g., body piercing, tattoo parlor, massage)
- Overnight/graveyard shift jobs
- Working with animals
- Jobs in healthcare
- Can I change my summer job while in the USA?
If a participant wishes to leave their employer, they must contact the US Sponsor for approval and work a minimum notice period of 2 weeks before finishing with their current employer.
- Can I have more than one job?
Yes. You can have as many as you like provided they all meet the programme requirements and have been approved by the US Sponsor.
- How much can I earn?
It's up to you how much money you can earn. The more hours you work and the more jobs you have will determine whether you'll be able to pay off that student loan on your return!! However, participants working for 'salary only' must be paid at least the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25 per hour (correct at time of print). Participants working for 'salary plus tips' will receive a lower basic wage. The minimum recommended wage in this case is not less than $3.65 per hour (correct at time of print). Some states have a lower minimum wage than this.
- How do I apply for a Social Security Card?
All first time applicants of the Summer J1 programme must apply for a Social Security card. Only 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.
If you have not applied before you will need to locate your nearest Social Security office. Try to avoid applying between the peak hours, we recommend you go early in the morning to avoid the long queues. You will need to bring to the office:
- Your Dear Employer Letter
- Social Security Letter
- DS 2019
- Your passport with your J-1 Visa stapled inside.
Please note that once you have applied for your Social Security card, it is legal to be paid by your US Employer. Please download the US Sponsor legal opinion letter and give it to your employer if they have any questions.
If you have lost your Social Security card then please visit www.ssa.gov 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).
Please note, the S.S.A. is a government agency that is not affiliated with the US Sponsor or USIT in any way. The US Sponsor & USIT do not have permission to obtain information about your application, number or card.
- What is the Social Security number?
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.
- How do I apply for my Social Security Number (SSN)?
To apply for a SSN you need to visit your local Social Security Office in the USA destination where you will reside for the summer. You need to complete the application form and bring the follow documents with you.
- "Dear Social Security Officer" letter
- "Dear Employer" sponsorship letter
- DS-2019 form + SEVIS receipt
- Passport with your J1 Visa
- How long does it take to get a SSN?
On average it takes applicants between 3-5 weeks to receive their Social Security number.
- Can I work before I receive my SSN?
Yes, 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.
- Do second timers need to apply for a Social Security number (SSN)?
No, if you already have a SSN, you do not need to get another one. A SSN is for life.
- What do I do if I have lost my SSN, do I apply for a new SSN when I travel on the J1 or can USIT give me this information?
Unfortunately, USIT cannot assist you with your SSN as we do not have access to participants SS information. 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!
While in the USA
- I have lost my passport/DS-2019/Social Security card - what do I do?
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 the US Sponsor immediately on 1-888-COUNCIL. 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.
- Can I leave the USA for a holiday while on my J-1 visas?
Yes BUT participants wishing to visit neighbouring countries (i.e. Canada) or return to Ireland for a short period while on the J-1 Summer Work and Travel Programme must inspect their documents carefully before leaving the USA. 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.
However, 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.
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 Portland 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.
Returning back to Ireland
- Before I return to Ireland is there anything I need to do concerning my US summer job and/or taxes?
In order to avoid any problems with your employer before you leave your job, follow these basic instructions:
- Ask for your final pay check and wages due to you BEFORE you leave.
- If your employer has provided accommodation for you as part of your employment, ask your employer to return your security deposit BEFORE you leave.
- Confirm with your employer what date you should expect to receive your last pay check and how you will receive it (money transfer, bank transfer, etc).
- Keep your employer's contact details in case there are any problems and you need to contact them after you leave the USA.
NB Leave an address for your employer where you can receive mail. Your employer will send you forms at the end of the year which are required for processing your tax returns.
Please refer to the J1 handbook for more detailed information about US employment, paying taxes, how to file your tax returns, etc.
Extending your stay
- I would like to stay in the USA and continue working after my J-1 visa expires, is this allowed?
Due to the rules and regulations of the Programme, as set down by the US Department of State, it is not possible to extend your work authorisation in the USA beyond the end date of the programme, 15th September 2018. The US Summer Work and Travel Programme is only valid during the designated summer period.
- I may have to take repeat exams in August/September. How will this affect my J-1 to the USA?
Every year there are a number of people who need to repeat an exam or two. Having to return to Ireland for your repeats does not mean the end of your J-1; 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. You are not covered for Summer Exam Failure if you know the results of any of your exams before you depart Ireland.