Work and Travel

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  • Work and Travel USA is the most popular international student exchange program.

Its purpose is to provide full-time students of higher education with the opportunity to directly participate in the daily life of the people of the United States of America through travel and temporary work for up to 4 months during the summer holidays. At the end of the program, the participant is given up to 30 days to travel around the country without the right to work (so-called "grace period").

  • Terms

According to the requirements, the program starts no earlier than May 15 and ends no later than September 15.

To participate in the Work and Travel USA summer program, you must be a full-time student at an accredited educational institution and conscientiously attend classes, as well as speak English at a conversational level (Intermediate Level and above). There are no formal restrictions on the age of participants, however, students who are older than the "typical" student in Russia - that is, older than 23-26 years old, are at risk when passing an interview at the US Embassy. Evening students may participate in the program provided they attend classes at least 5 days per week (or at least 20 hours per week). Final year students are eligible to participate in the Work and Travel program, but must convince the consular officer that they will return to their home country at the end of the program in due time.

The US Department of State administers the exchange program under the Mutual Education Ordinance and the Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, as amended. The US Department of State defines organizations to manage international exchange programs in several categories. These organizations are called sponsors. Most sponsors have partners and agents around the world. Sponsors are responsible for screening prospective employers of participants in advance.

  • What do program participants get?

First of all, this is an opportunity for young people to get to know the country, its customs, culture, as well as an opportunity for Americans to learn something new about the life, customs and culture of the participant's country. Secondly, this is an excellent practice in the language environment. The level of spoken English proficiency during the period of participation in the program improves significantly, the language barrier disappears or significantly decreases. Thirdly, the program pays off. Participation costs are covered by income from work in American companies. Moreover, many students earn over the summer much more than the amount they spent. Work, as a rule, is offered in resort cities by the ocean, in seasonal positions - in restaurants, hotels, shops, water parks, as well as national parks and reserves. Salary $9-$15 per hour or $1415-$2360 per month when working 35 hours a week. You can get 2 jobs. According to the rules of the program, there are restrictions on the types of work and their location. The proposed vacancy must be temporary and the work schedule must be predominantly during the daytime. It is also forbidden for Work and Travel participants to work in factories and factories, in positions associated with a risk to life and health, in positions without a specific location.

  • Stages of registration for the Work and Travel program for students.

Registration for the program involves finding a specialized agency that cooperates with program sponsors in the United States. You can apply both at the agency's office and online from any city. The agency conducts English proficiency testing and checks the student status of a candidate for the program, assists in the preparation of the necessary forms and documents, and also conducts various trainings. When registering for the program, the student chooses who will select a job offer for him (job offer) - the agency or the participant himself. In the case of an independent job search, the program costs less. After the employer has been selected, the signed job offer (job offer) is sent to the program sponsor for verification. The sponsor is obliged to make sure that the employer is really ready to hire the participant on the terms specified in the job offer, as well as to check that the employer has a license and insurance. After confirming the job offer, the sponsor will send the original certificate for the participant (form DS-2019), which must be carried to the interview when applying for a J1 visa at the US Consulate. After the visa is approved, the participant books an air flight and goes through a Pre-Departure Orientation to the USA, where the agency or sponsor is required to explain in detail about the rules of the program, its features and provide all the necessary information before traveling to the USA.


SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) is a state electronic system that allows you to track current information about students who arrived on F or M visas and participants in international exchange (J visa). SEVIS allows schools and sponsors to transmit information and notifications over the Internet to the Department of Homeland Security and the US Department of State throughout the duration of students and exchange participants' stay in the US. SEVIS will receive information about the status of students and exchange participants, including (but not limited to) entry/exit dates, address changes, program extensions, work notices, and changes to the educational program. SEVIS will also provide system alerts, event notifications, and reports to educational institutions and sponsors, as well as to the Department of Homeland Security and the US Department of State. US embassies and consulates also have access to the SEVIS system.

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