If you are a non-US citizen of college / university age and are interested in working a seasonal job in the United States in the travel, tourism, or hospitality industries, the J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa Program is a popular option that might be a good route for obtaining temporary permission to work in the States. This article will provide some information on how the program works, as well as some resources on how to see if you’re eligible and how to being the process of applying.
Overview of the J-1 Program
With the J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa program, interested applicants must first register with a Designated Sponsorship Organization, an agency that will assist applicants with fulfilling the requirements of the program, including determine eligibility, processing required Department of State paperwork / forms, demonstrating English language proficiency, obtaining required medical insurance, etc.. The sponsorship agency will also support applicants in securing employment. For this reason, it is important to remember that if you are interested in participating in the J-1 Visa program, you must first register with a Designated Sponsorship Organization – do not contact employers directly. Employers are not able to directly sponsor international applicants for J-1 visas. Applicants must work directly with a Sponsorship Organization before they will be able to obtain offers of employment.
How to Get Started
The J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa has several programs that allow non-US citizens to temporarily visit and work in the United States, but the three that are most relevant to employers in the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries are:
Summer Work & Travel Program – The Summer Work Travel program provides foreign students with an opportunity to live and work in the United States during their summer vacation from college or university
Camp Counselor Program – The Camp Counselor Program enables post-secondary students, youth workers, and teachers to share their culture and ideas with the people of the United States in camp settings throughout the country.
Intern – Internship programs are designed to allow foreign college and university students or recent graduates to come to the United States to gain exposure to U.S. culture and to receive hands-on experience in U.S. business practices in their chosen occupational field.
Click any of the links above to visit BridgeUSA, the official US State Department page for the J-1 Visa Program, to learn more and to get started.