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.
First things first ..
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.
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.
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.
Yes, you need to show proof of double vaccine to get into the US.
Our Booking Promise
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:
3rd Party Fees that are exempt from our booking guarantee & may not be refundable in the following circumstances:
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.
The process and some FAQs
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 email@example.com
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Once you have all your paperwork organised you will be advised by USIT when and how to apply for your US Embassy interview.
Your college must consider you fully enrolled in full time education to participate in the J1 program.
Absolutely, if you have connections in the US, make us of them for help finding your job/accommodation.
Prohibited Regions & Restricted Job Locations
Where you can't go
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.
Before you go
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.
Proof of Funds
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you require more information.
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
All students travelling on the J1 programme MUST have an approved seasonal job before they can take part on the programme.
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.
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:
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:
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.
Yes. You can have as many as you like provided they all meet the programme requirements and have been approved by the US Sponsor.
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.
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:
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.
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.
You can legally work from the 15th of May to the 15th of September and have 30 days of travel after your work date.
The minimum number of hours you will be given is 32 hours a week, which is required by your visa.
Yes, your US location isn’t decided until you have secured your J1 job.
No, Most jobs whether you have experience or not will provide full onboard training when you start.
Through the USIT J1 Job’s Hub you can apply for one interview at a time.
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.
Depending on how you spend your money you can easily come home with money.
Yes, you do get taxed for the work you do, which can be claimed back when you return home.
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.
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.
The minimum number of hours you will be given is 32 hours a week, which is required by your visa.
On average it takes applicants between 3-5 weeks to receive their Social Security number.
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.
No, if you already have a SSN, you do not need to get another one. A SSN is for life.
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!
While in the USA
On your J1 summer
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
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.
Yes, your US sponsor will explain how to set this up during your online orientation before you depart.
Returning back to Ireland
After your J1 summer
In order to avoid any problems with your employer before you leave your job, follow these basic instructions:
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.
Extending your stay
in the USA
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.
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.