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Everything you need to know

Help Section

Got some questions about your J1? Of course you do. And don't forget - if you don't see your query answered here, just ask our team.

You can also drop into any of our upcoming free info events (in-person and online) for more info about a J1 summer. Check out our Events page for more.

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First things first ..

Your J1 questions answered

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. 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). 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. Can we fill out the application and decide on a US location at a later date or do we have to have a location picked when filling out the form initially? Yes, your US location isn’t decided until you have secured your J1 job.

Do you need a covid vaccine to get in?

Yes, you need to show proof of double vaccine to get into the US.

LIFETIME DEPOSIT Your deposit is protected for life and you can use your deposit payment against any other programme. Deposit amounts vary by programme and you should refer to your programme specific conditions. Your deposit has no cash value, is non-refundable and only one lifetime deposit can be used per person per product booked. Your deposit will be deemed utilised if you have received any of your pre-departure programme inclusions (including but not limited to visa assistance and applications and pre-arranged job services).

BOOKING GUARANTEE If your programme destination closes its border and you are prevented from travelling within 12 months of your initial booking date due to any of the reasons below, you will have the option of a refund (less any third party fees) or to transfer your booking:

  • Full border closure or restrictions due to a pandemic, that prevents holders of the visa you hold entering the destination country.
  • Visa applications cannot be made due to closures or restrictions of appropriate Embassies, VAC centres or online portals due directly to a pandemic
  • Visas are not being approved due to pandemic related travel restrictions.
  • Please note: If any of the above reasons apply to your J-1 USA Summer booking (J-1 Camp Counselor or Summer Work & Travel), the booking guarantee will only apply if you are prevented from travelling by July of the summer of your booked programme.

3rd Party Fees that are exempt from our booking guarantee & may not be refundable in the following circumstances:

  • Insurance
  • SEVIS Fee: If your DS-2019 has been issued. (In the case of US J-1 Programmes)
  • US Embassy Fee: If your US Embassy appointment has been booked and you have/ or have not attended. (In the case of US Programmes)
  • Government visa costs: If your visa application has been processed & submitted to the relevant government authority or licenced migration agent. (Canada, Australia, or New Zealand programmes for example)
  • Police Checks: Where required cannot be refunded after submission.
  • Travel costs: We are not responsible for flight or other travel & transport related costs that are purchased separately and advise the purchase of cancellation insurance.
  • Medical costs: We are not responsible for any medical costs incurred whether Covid related, or not & participants should ensure they have sufficient travel insurance before departing.
  • Accommodation costs: We are not liable for any such costs that are purchased separately to the programme.
  • Miscellaneous: Anything other than the products & programmes purchased directly from us, regardless of its relevance to the participants intended plans on the programme, the participant is responsible for these costs & should ensure they are aware of Covid related terms & conditions on such additional purchases.

Exceptions Normal terms and conditions will apply and you will not be covered under the booking guarantee if any of the following apply to your booking:

• You test positive for a pandemic related illness before your departure. Trip cancellation Insurance cover is recommended to cover this • If you decide to postpone your trip when your destination border and visa routes remain open and permitted Your work or internship placement dates cannot be moved, or you fail to secure replacement work or internship placement

HOSTILE BEHAVIOUR POLICY Our staff members and our partner service providers work to service customers in a timely, and considerate manner. You are expected to treat staff members dealing with your booking in a reciprocal manner. Any behaviour deemed unrespectful or aggressive towards staff members will not be tolerated and we reserve the right to cancel any customers from their booked programme without a refund should they act in a way deemed hostile towards our staff members.

I am a final year student, 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 programmes@usit.ie

What do I pay?

Once you sign up for the programme, you will be asked to pay the first deposit of €99, with the next instalment of €200 within 20 days of signing up for the programme. These will come off your overall invoice and are not extra costs!

All remaining amounts will be due on the Pay in Full date listed on your invoice.

You will have your very own tracking page to stay on top of your application, and make any further payments.

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 will not be eligible for the J1. Please contact the J1 team for further details.

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 Miami, 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?

You can go on a J1 Summer Work and Travel Visa three times, once you still qualify under the eligibility section and have not previously been terminated from your J1 Programme.

Do you organise flights?

No, on our J1 program, participants are able to book their own flights independently and should wait until you receive your DS 2019 and have your US Embassy interview scheduled.

How much roughly would you need to have set aside for the entire experience (money-wise)?

You need to bring the minimum proof of funds $800 to enter the USA, which should keep you going until you start getting paid depending on your rent and other expenses you may have.

So, should I wait until I get my new passport to complete my application? Or can I change my passport photo on my application later?

No, you can sign up to the USIT J1 programme and complete all other steps in phase 1 while you wait for your new passport. However, we won’t be able to submit your application to the US sponsor until you have submitted the passport you will be travelling with.

How can final students who are graduating take part in the J1, what proof would we need to ensure we are going to return to Ireland since we are finished university?

The US embassy may ask for proof of returning home this could be in the form of a master’s application if you are going for one or a letter from an employer that you will be returning for work.

Are the fees paid in full or in installments?

You pay your €99 deposit, then a further €200 to move onto phase 2 and then your final balance is due before your DS-2019 is issued.

With the J1 Job guaranteed programme do we get options of where I can work?

Yes, there are hundreds of jobs on the USIT Jobs hub from East coast to West coast and everywhere in between with jobs being added daily.

How do you organise the US embassy interview?

Once you have all your paperwork organised you will be advised by USIT when and how to apply for your US Embassy interview.

Can you apply for J1 next summer if you deferred the academic year in college?

Your college must consider you fully enrolled in full time education to participate in the J1 program.

If you have family where you want to work in the US can that help in any way?

Absolutely, if you have connections in the US, make us of them for help finding your job/accommodation.

What are the prohibited regions and restricted job locations for a J1?

Locations where students plan to live, and work must provide opportunities for regular communication and interaction with U.S. citizens and allow participants to experience U.S. culture. You cannot work in remote/isolated areas and/or locations that may cause safety concerns. Seasonal accommodation must also be readily available. You must be able to keep in contact via phone, email, etc. with Your US sponsor at all times. US Sponsors hold the right to refuse locations that may be deemed a concern for J1 Summer Work and Travel participants.

Some examples of locations where jobs may not be approved can be seen in the below prohibited and restricted areas lists.

Alabama (AL) – Gulf Shores/Orange Beach California (CA) – Santa Barbara, Isla Vista, Goleta Florida (FL) – “Panhandle” including the following cities; Apalachicola, DeFuniak Springs, Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Marianna, Panama City, Panama City Beach, Pensacola, Tallahassee. Hawaii (HI)- a severe concern with US sponsors, due to lack of housing. Contact J1 Team for more information Kansas (KS) Louisiana (LA) - New Orleans Maryland (MD) - The following locations are restricted: Chester/Easton region: Annapolis Curtis Bay Glen Burnie Mcdaniel Rosedale Annapolis Junction Davidsonville Glenn Dale Millersville Royal Oak Arnold Deale Grasonville Neavitt Saint Michaels Baltimore Denton Greenbelt Newcomb Secretary Bethlehem Dundalk Gwynn Oak North Beach Severn Bowie Dunkirk Halethorpe Nottingham Severna Park Bozman East New Market Hanover Odenton Shady Side Brooklandville Easton Harmans Oxford Sherwood Brooklyn Edgewater Harwood Parkville Sparrows Point Catonsville Elkridge Hillsboro Pasadena Stevensville Centreville Essex Hurlock Pikesville Tilghman Chester Federalsburg Lanham Preston Towson Chestertown Fort George G Laurel Queen Anne Tracys Landing Churchton Fort Howard Linkwood Queenstown Trappe Claiborne Friendship Linthicum Heights Riderwood Upper Marlboro Cordova Galesville Lothian Ridgely West River Crofton Gambrills Lutherville Timonium Riva Wittman Crownsville Gibson Island Mayo Rock Hall Wye Mills North Dakota (ND) New Jersey (NJ) – Atlantic City New Mexico (NM) Nevada (NV) - Las Vegas Pennsylvania (PA) – The following locations are restricted: Annville Elm Jonestown Mount Gretna Rossville Bainbridge Emigsville Landisville Mount Joy Schaefferstown Boiling Springs Enola Lawn Mount Wolf Shermans Dale Camp Hill Etters Lebanon Myerstown Silver Spring Campbelltown Franklintown Lemoyne New Bloomfield Summerdale Carlisle Fredericksburg Lewisberry New Buffalo Tower City Columbia Grantham Manchester New Cumberland Wellsville Cornwall Grantville Manheim New Kingstown Williamstown Dauphin Halifax Marietta Ono York Dillsburg Harrisburg Marysville Palmyra York Haven Dover Hershey Maytown Quentin Duncannon Highspire Mechanicsburg Rexmont Elizabethtown Hummelstown Middletown Rheems Vermont (VT) - Burlington, South Burlington West Virginia (WV) South Dakota (SD) Restricted Job Locations Requiring Pre-Arranged Housing

In certain geographical areas, housing has become an area of concern as affordable, suitable housing options that offer safe transportation options to job sites are limited. In order to ensure student safety and support program success, we will be limiting students’ job placements in certain locations in regard to housing.

The following communities and/or U.S. states have become areas of concern as suitable housing options for participants are limited. Employer placements in these locations are restricted to employers who provide housing.

East Hampton, NY Jackson Hole, WY Kittery, ME Montauk, NY South Hampton, NY Bridgehampton, NY California (CA) and Nevada (NV) - Lake Tahoe Colorado (CO) - Aspen, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Crested Butte, Telluride, Vail Utah (UT) - Brett Robinson Gulf Corporation

The following communities and/or U.S. states have become areas of concern as suitable housing options for participants are limited. Participants must secure housing at least two weeks in advance of their arrivals. If housing is not provided with the job offer, participants must be advised to start early in seeking housing in these areas and work with their employer to secure housing.

Cape Cod, MA Myrtle Beach, SC Ocean City, MD Rehoboth Beach, DE Virginia Beach, VA Cape May, NJ Wildwood, NJ

In addition, due to multiple student collisions with vehicles while biking in the area this past summer, your US sponsor are asking all students in Cape May to be proactive in finding appropriate housing and transportation and have requested the same of employers. If students are living in Wildwood but working in Cape May, they will not be allowed to bike back and forth to work. Your US sponsor have asked employers sourced through them to help arrange work schedules to fit the public transportation schedule, provide transportation for them, and/or set up a ride share system with local staff members. Please remember, if they are using their bikes locally (within Cape May or within Wildwood) that they should always have a helmet and reflective gear.

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 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 will be emailed directly to all students before their departure.

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 Placement Agreement 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 (programmes@usit.ie) if you require more information.

Can I stay in the USA after my J1 Visa expires?

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.

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. 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:

  • Au pairs, child carers, mother's helper, nanny
  • Babysitter, maid, or other jobs of a domestic nature in private homes
  • Childcare provider
  • Medical Services (medical interns or anything involving hands-on therapy, counselling, administering treatment or making diagnoses of medical, psychiatric or psychological patients)
  • Jobs involving sustained physical contact with other people
  • Veterinary Science (making medical diagnoses or administering treatment to animals)
  • Teaching, including but not limited to Language teacher, teaching assistants, or full-fledged trained teacher
  • Coaching positions or as a Personal Trainer
  • Beauty therapy jobs including massage, hairdressing, manicurist positions or any jobs involving 'hands-on' therapy of any kind
  • Farmer ranch jobs
  • Camp Counsellors
  • Crew member on ship or airplanes or as pilots
  • Certain casino positions
  • Pyramid salespersons
  • Jobs involving driving a vehicle
  • Operators of pedicabs, rolling chairs, or other passenger-carrying vehicles for hire
  • Jobs in gaming/gambling
  • Jobs in Manufacturing, warehouses, or factories/fisheries
  • Moving companies or catalogue/online distribution centres
  • Mall kiosks or carts
  • Jobs in modelling
  • Jobs involving controlled hazardous substances
  • Employment with a staffing agency
  • Commission-only positions
  • Jobs in the adult entertainment industry are not permitted, including but not limited to: escort services, adult book/video stores, massage parlors, strip clubs
  • Jobs requiring shifts that are predominantly between 10.00pm and 6.00am are not permitted
  • Lifeguard with a pool management company
  • White water rafting guide
  • Vacation home cleaning crew
  • Housekeepers, dishwashers or laundry
  • Apartment building doormen
  • Jobs with multiple sites of activity, i.e. tent setup, landscaping, catering
  • Bouncer or security positions
  • Positions involving any advance or start-up fee to the participant or with a travelling concession business
  • Jobs identified as hazardous to youth by the US Department of Labour
  • Labour/construction work

Are There New Rules For Getting Jobs Approved Because Of Covid-19?

Covid-19 related enhanced Job vetting measures: In order to move forward with the approval process during the Covid-19 global pandemic, USIT & CIEE will continue to require enhanced vetting measures that put the health, safety, and welfare of participants and host communities at the forefront of their assessment. These enhanced vetting measures not only focus on health and safety but are fully supporting the State Department in their efforts to protect the reputation of the program during these complicated times. As the Covid-19 landscape continues to shift, CIEE is actively discussing their specific expectations and internal processes to appropriately vet host employers. When sourcing your own job, it’s important for you to inform any prospective employers of additional information they will be required to confirm:

  • The Host Employer agrees to follow the CDC guidelines related to workplace safety and sanitization, as well as all local health and safety requirements.
  • The Host Employer has a contingency plan in case of an outbreak in the workplace.
  • If the Host Employer does not provide housing, they agree to provide substantial assistance to Participants to secure housing prior to their arrival, including providing housing leads and/or local resources.
  • If the Host Employer does provide housing, they agree to have a contingency plan in place in the event of an outbreak in housing.
  • The Host Employer agrees to inform Participants of any arrival testing or quarantine requirements in advance of the placement interview.
  • The Host Employer agrees to support Participants in the event of an outbreak, shelter-in-place order, or border restriction preventing a successful return for the Participant. This includes but is not limited to: providing hours, stipend, extending the stay and reducing housing costs, or providing food.
  • Should hours be reduced due to COVID-19, the Host Employer will make every attempt to provide additional hours in other departments as appropriate, or reduce housing/food costs, and/or provide a stipend to the Participant.
  • The Host Employer agrees that there must be a documented, seasonal need for Work & Travel USA Participants to be placed. If there were any domestic staff impacted by layoffs or furloughed, domestic staff must first be rehired in order to host Participants. Work & Travel USA Participants must not displace American workers.
  • Host employers must document efforts to hire Americans into the seasonal positions which Work & Travel USA Participants will be placed. This documentation may be requested by CIEE at any point within the year.
  • The Host Employer agrees they have reviewed all other resources and expectations CIEE has provided.

Can I change my summer job while in the USA?

If a participant wishes to leave their employer, they must contact the US Sponsor to explain why they want to change jobs and seek approval. If approval is granted, they must 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. Participants working for 'salary plus tips' will receive a lower basic wage.

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 Social Security Officer" Letter
  • DS 2019
  • Your passport with your J-1 Visa stapled inside.

Always ask for a receipt of application from the Social Security Officer. This will assist you to prove to potential US Employers you have applied for your SSN.

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.

Do you need to be above 21 to serve a bar in the US?

Yes however, there are other positions available in bars/restaurants such as servers, hosts, bussers that you can work in if you are under 21.

What’s the minimum amount of weeks can I work?

You can legally work from the 15th of May to the 15th of September and have 30 days of travel after your work date.

What is the minimum number of hours I can work?

The minimum number of hours you will be given is 32 hours a week, which is required by your visa.

Can we fill out the application and decide on a US location at a later date or do we have to have a location picked when filling out the form initially?

Yes, your US location isn’t decided until you have secured your J1 job.

Do you need relevant experience for specific jobs like bar experience etc.?

No, Most jobs whether you have experience or not will provide full onboard training when you start.

How many jobs am I allowed to apply for at one time?

Through the USIT J1 Job’s Hub you can apply for one interview at a time.

Do you manage to make enough money out there to go traveling at the end after all the living costs and such expenses?

Yes, working a minimum of 32 hours per week as well as tips if you are working in the service industry will more than cover the entire summer including travel depending on how you spend your money.

Can we expect to bring funds back to Ireland on the J1 programme?

Depending on how you spend your money you can easily come home with money.

Will I get taxed for my J1 Job?

Yes, you do get taxed for the work you do, which can be claimed back when you return home.

Can I do a J1 to Hawaii or Alaska through USIT if I find my own job?

You can work in Alaska but unfortunately you are not permitted to work in Hawaii. However, you can travel there on your 30 days travel.

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.

What is the minimum number of hours I can work?

The minimum number of hours you will be given is 32 hours a week, which is required by your visa.

How long does it take to get an 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. 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. DO NOT apply for a new Social Security Number!

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 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.

If you require more information on how to acquire new documents that have been lost or stolen please contact your US Sponsor or USIT at programmes@usit.ie.

Can I leave the USA for a holiday while on my J-1 visa?

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 your 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.

Is finding accommodation in big cities like New York or Chicago for such a short period of time like 2 months or so difficult?

The best advice we can offer is to look to research companies like J1 Accomm who look after specific accommodation for J1 students in New York, San Francisco and Chicago. Keep an eye on the Facebook groups where people look to rent out rooms and accommodation.

Are flights in the USA expensive?

Depending on the airline and when you book you can get them for a good price, Jet Blue is a good option when you are in the US.

Do you need to get an American bank account?

Yes, your US sponsor will explain how to set this up during your online orientation before you depart.

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.

You must also contact your US Sponsor to let them know you are leaving the US by emailing them your confirmation that you’re leaving along with your flight details (date, flight number, departure airport etc.)

Please refer to the J1 handbook for more detailed information about US employment, paying taxes, how to file your tax returns, etc.

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. 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. 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.

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A line of palm trees on a blue sky - Corey Agopian via Unsplash

The inside scoop

“Money comes back, so make those memories.”

Meet J1 Insider, Xav. Who spent last summer working in Florida on her J1. Leading up to summer ’24, our Insiders will be across our channels spilling the iced tea on all things J1. Click to watch and follow @usittravel.

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Still have some questions?

No worries - our J1 team are always on hand to answer any queries you might have about a J1 summer.

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