AUSSIES CALL 1300 135 331
KIWIS CALL 0800 440 079

FAQs

Click on a question below to be taken to the corresponding answer further down the page.

VISA

  1. What type of visa do I receive?
  2. Can I travel around the US after my working authorisation has expired?
  3. Can I leave the US and re-enter on my J-1 visa?
  4. What if I lose the copy of the DS-2019 Form?

WORK

  1. When can I go?
  2. Do I need to find a job before I leave?
  3. Can I work in any industry?
  4. Can I work for more than one employer?
  5. Do I have to work full time?
  6. What if I don’t find a job in the first 10 days after my arrival?

GENERAL

  1. When do I need to apply?
  2. How do I apply for the program?
  3. Do I need travel and medical insurance?
  4. Why do I have to pay to go on this program?
  5. Can I repeat the program?
  6. Is there an age limit?
  7. Am I permitted to study whilst in the US?
  8. Can students who study online or through distance learning be eligible for this program? Can the study be conducted part time?
  9. What is "post-secondary education" for the purposes of this program?
  10. Are students attending vocational schools eligible for participation in this program?
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 What type of visa do I receive?

You are a participant in an educational exchange program approved by the US Department of State and will receive a J-1 visa. Under the terms of the J-1 visa, you are allowed to work for up to 12 months at sites approved by the sponsor. The visa does not allow you to work as a domestic, au pair, camp counsellor, or in the medical field. In Nov. 1986, the US Congress passed a new Immigration Law requiring employers to verify that all employees - both US citizens and non-resident aliens - are eligible to work. The company supervisor will ask to see your passport and a copy of the Exchange Visitor Visa Form called DS-2019. This was the form that served to obtain the visa. The Immigration officer will stamp it and leave it in your passport. It should remain there at all times. We encourage you to make photocopies of your passport and the DS-2019 and keep them in a safe place. These are the documents that prove your work eligibility and identity. You will also be asked to sign a form (I-9) that the host company keeps in its files. The form proves that the company has verified work eligibility.

 Can I travel around the US after my working authorisation has expired?

Once your DS-2019 has expired you have 30 days from the expiration date to travel within the US.

 Can I leave the US and re-enter on my J-1 visa?

Yes, if you plan on travelling outside of the US during your program, you must first notify CIEE and request permission to travel. This involves CIEE signing your DS-2019 form, and issuing you a letter of "Good Standing" that indicates that you are still a current participant and that you will be returning to the US to continue on with your program.

Please follow these steps for successfully travelling in and out of the country.

  1. Make sure you are travelling WITHIN the dates on your DS-2019 form. Travel outside of these dates is prohibited, and will prevent you from re-entering the US!
  2. Send your DS-2019 form to CIEE at least two weeks prior to your trip using mail that can be tracked (i.e. - Fed Ex). Include a note stating your travel plans, US address, and phone number.
  3. INCLUDE a self addressed, PREPAID, TRACKABLE envelope (i.e. Fed Ex). CIEE will use this to send your signed DS form and a letter of "Good Standing."
    If you want to visit the CIEE office in order to get the DS-2019 signed in person, please call the CIEE Customer Service Center beforehand to let them know when to expect you.

Please also note that your DS-2019, J-1 visa, and passport must be valid in order to re-enter the U.S. Lastly, make sure it states "M" under "Entries" on your J-1 visa. If it states "S" or "1," you will not be able to re-enter the U.S. to finish the Work & Travel USA Program .

 What if I lose the copy of the DS-2019 Form?

You must have the copy of the DS-2019 form for the visa to be valid. If this is lost, CIEE will replace the form. A good safeguard is to always keep the copy of the DS-2019 form in the passport and have copies put elsewhere in a safe place. If you lose your passport, please contact your nearest Embassy or Consulate as soon as possible so that they can assist you in obtaining new documentation.

 When can I go?

You can go on the Work & Travel USA - 12 month program at any time of the year.

Summer Work & Travel students can work in the USA between November 15th - February 28th. Your work dates will be based on the length of your vacation break from uni or TAFE/Polytechnic.

 Do I need to find a job before I leave?

No. You can secure your job after your arrival in the US. You can work in any position which is not restricted.

 Can I work in any Industry?

According to the regulations of the J-1 Work & Travel USA program, employment cannot be approved if there are questions about the safety and well-being of the participant, or if the nature of the employment prevents the participant from having a meaningful cultural exchange experience in the United States.

The following job types are currently prohibited:

  • 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

Any job, whether or not it is included in the list above, must be generally compatible with the rules, regulations, and intent of the program. 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 job that could bring notoriety or disrepute to the Exchange Visitor Program is expressly prohibited by the program regulations.

 Can I work for more than one employer?

Yes.

 Do I have to work full time?

No.

 What if I don’t find a job in the first 10 days after my arrival?

Participants are required to contact CIEE and report their current address and employment status within 10 days of their arrival. If you have not secured a position you are required to keep CIEE informed about your location and job search process.

 When do I need to apply?

Your full application must be submitted to us a minimum of 8 weeks before your departure date.

 How do I apply for the program?

You can download an application form from our website, e-mail us, or give us a call on 1300 135 331 in Australia or 0800-440079 in New Zealand and we will send you one. Please see How to Apply section.

 Do I need travel and medical insurance?

Your program fee includes travel and medical insurance. Under US Government program regulations, you must have an approved level of insurance coverage. Our custom insurance plans meet this requirement. Our insurance covers you for emergency and accidents including hospital cover - but only while you are on the program. There is only limited baggage coverage and it does not cover loss of personal effects. If you are intending on taking expensive items we recommend you take out additional coverage.

 Why do I have to pay to go on this program?

Your program fee covers our services to you in Australia and New Zealand and CIEE’s services and support whilst in the US including sponsorship of your visa. The fee also covers your insurance. For a full list of what’s included in the program fee please click here.

 Can I repeat the Program?

Work & Travel 12 months - No, applicants are only permitted to receive the visa once.

Summer Work & Travel - Yes, applicants are permitted to repeat the program.

 Is there an age limit?

Work & Travel 12 months - No, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria and are more than 18 years old.

Summer Work & Travel - Yes, 18 - 30 years.

 Am I permitted to study whilst in the US?

Yes, you may take a course, but the study should be incidental to the work/travel program (i.e. a night class) and not a course which issues credits, leads to a degree or otherwise would require a F1 student visa.

 Do I need personal savings?

As your US authorised sponsor for this program, CIEE is responsible for ensuring that you arrive in the US with sufficient funds to support yourself before you start earning your own money. You will need to declare that you have access to a minimum of US $975. You may also be asked by Immigration for evidence of these funds when entering the US and when applying for your visa at the US Consulate serving your state.

 What Documents do I need to take to the US?

For Work & Travel USA 12 months there are no specific documents that you are required to take with you.

For Summer Work & Travel USA you must be sure to print out these documents before leaving for the US:

  • Dear Employer Letter
    Give this to your employer in the US when you arrive. This letter explains that you are a participant on the Work & Travel USA program through CIEE, and will assist your employer in setting up your paycheck properly.
  • Dear Social Security Officer
    CIEE provides you with this letter to help you through the Social Security process. Please take this with you when you apply for your card, and present to the Social Security Officer.
  • Legal Opinion Letter
    After you have applied for your Social Security Card, it is legal for you to receive paychecks even if you are still waiting for your card. This letter explains this fact, and is written by an attorney in case your employer has any questions.

 Can students who study online or through distance learning be eligible for this program? Can the study be conducted part time?

No. In order to qualify for the 12 month program, the study must be completed on a full time basis in a classroom.

 What is "post-secondary education" for the purposes of this program?

To be considered a bona fide post-secondary student, the potential participant must have completed his/her freshman (first) year of a post-high school program such as a Bachelor's degree program or other course which will lead to the issuance of a degree.

 Are students attending vocational schools eligible for participation in this program?

The requirements are that an Australian or New Zealand citizen wishing to travel to the United States must qualify as a student; that is, someone who is currently enrolled in a bona fide post-secondary course of study or who has completed/graduated from a bona fide post-secondary course of study within the last 12 months. Evidence to this effect must be provided.

Students attending a vocational school are not eligible to participate in the Student Work and Travel Program unless they can demonstrate that their study will ultimately lead to a degree from an accredited post-secondary institution.  For further guidance, please refer to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Website.