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J1 USA

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What is the J1?

In essence the J1 is the J1 Summer Work and Travel (J1 SWT) visa which allows 3rd level full time students completing degree level courses work in the USA for 4 months between the 15th May and the 15th September. Participants can opt to travel for a further month (up to the 15 October) depending on the reopening date of their college and SEVIS compliance. The J1 SWT is also a cultural visa and all participants are required to undertake as many cultural activities as possible during the summer (See Cultural Activities below)

Employment

From 2016, all J1 SWT students are required to have a job vetted and approved by the US Sponsor before they will be approved for a DS-2019 and be offered a US embassy interview. 

Regulations require that all job offers made to a J1 SWT participant are fully vetted and approved through SEVIS. The process takes a minimum of 72 - 120 hours but can take longer depending on how long it takes for employers to provide the 3 following documents to them:

  • Current Business License
  • Copy of the Workers Compensation Insurance
  • EIN Federal Tax ID number

The business license is required to ensure that the employer is fully registered company with the IRS (Inland Revenue Service) and are compliant with all tax requirements. The workers compensation Insurance is required to ensure that all employers have their staff fully insured against any on the job accidents.

 

SEVIS

Since May 2012, the J1 SWT Program has undergone a major change. This is due to the introduction of stricter regulations to safeguard participants from being exploited while on the program in the USA.

To facilitate and ensure all J1 SWT participants comply with the changes, all are required to update their SEVIS.

SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. SEVIS is a United States Government computerised system that collects and manages data about foreign students and exchange visitors during their stay, including Work & Travel participants. SEVIS is maintained by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Bureau (ICE formerly INS) and is designed to help foreign visitors follow the terms of their visas.

SEVIS advises the U.S. government where you live, where you work, and your legal status on the J1 SWT Program.

All participants are required to provide the following through the SEVIS system:

  • Notification of US accommodation address within 10 days of DS2019 program start date
  • Notification of any change in accommodation address within 10 days of change
  • Confirmation of working with the same employer every 30 days
  • Confirmation of their current accommodation address every 30 days
  • Confirmation of any cultural activities that have been undertaken during the previous 30 days
  • Notification of their plan to leave the US and return home

SEVIS Statuses Explained

  • No Show
  • Runaway
  • Left Job
  • Termination
  • Shorten Program

 No Show

  • No Show status means that a participant has arrived to the U.S. but did not report to their Site of Activity (employer listed on box 1 of   DS-2019 form).
  • Participants with pre-placed jobs must report for work to their employer. If a participant lies about their reason for No Show, their  program is subject to termination. Note: Unforeseen circumstances include natural disasters, hospitalization, urgent emergencies.   These do not include new job opportunities or lost property.
  • If participants have any issues with their housing or employment, they should contact their sposnor immediately for assistance before leaving their job.

Runaway

  • Leaving a job without notifying the sponsor is unacceptable and the sponsor intends to shorten or terminate the program of  students who do this.
  • If participants are experiencing issues with their employer, co-workers or housing, they should contact their sponsor immediately before making alternate plans.

Left Job

  • If a participant is experiencing issues at work and wants to leave their job, they should contact IEX to discuss the program as soon as possible before making alternate plans.
  • Cannot leave their job without consultation with yoru sposnor about a safe plan. Where will they be living and working
  • Participants should ask their sponsor for help in finding a new employer and keep in constant contact with their sponsor during the relocation process.

Shortening Program vs. Termination

Program may be TERMINATED if the participant:

  1. Fails to timely register within 10 days of arrival to the U.S. This includes students who arrive to the U.S before their SEVIS begin date.
  2. Fails to report change of residence within 10 days.
  3. Fails to report to the job listed on their DS‐2019 form to begin work (This can be considered visa fraud)
  4. Begins work at any job not approved by your sponsor (Includes secondary jobs)
  5. Fails to login or call for mandatory 30 day check‐in
  6. Fails to pursue the exchange activities for which the participant was admitted to the United States

Termination has a negative or adverse effect on an exchange visitor’s program status and immigration record. Participants who are terminated from their exchange programs are expected to leave the United States immediately or face law enforcement proceedings.

Shorten Program

  • When an exchange visitor’s program is shortened and becomes inactive, this means that they have completed their program early or their sponsor has ended the work portion of their program.
  • They may no longer work in the U.S.
  • They have 30 days to travel around the U.S and this does not have a negative effect on their immigration record or future ability to obtain a U.S visa.
  • All participants should understand the difference between shorten program and termination.
  • Due to new SEVIS changes, the former ‘ending’ program status will only apply to participants whose programs have ended due to death.

 

Accommodation

All participants are required to provide SEVIS with the address where they will be staying during the summer within 10 days of arriving. All accommodation must comply with all fire regulations so overcrowding of accommodation is not allowed.  SEVIS will track this and any group found to be breaking the regulation, will be asked to vacate their premises.

Please be respectful of the property to ensure that you receive your security deposit back (usually a full month's rent). We recommend that you take pictures of any previous damage that you find in the property with your landlord before you move in.

Be respectful of your neighbours too. It is no harm to keep in constant contact with them in relation to any events that you may be undertaking to ensure that they are aware of it and do not contact the police.

Note: Don't forget to update your SEVIS every 30 days confirming you address. If you move address you must advise SEVIS within 10 days of the move.

****Warning - Accommodation Scam ****

Please be aware that none of our college reps are organising accommodation for our J1 students heading to the USA. We can offer you advice on accommodation options directly though our Cork and Dublin offices ...or online at www.j1.ie

Please be aware that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is! Be especially cautious of any person looking for cash payment prior to you arriving in the USA, you could find yourself without accommodation on arrival. We are not affiliated with any external individuals arranging accommodation in the USA.

If you are at all unsure please don't hesitate to contact us on 021 427 9190 or 01 608 0072 and let us know.

 

 

 

 

Cultural Activities    

The US State Department wants the J1 SWT not only allow participants to experience working and living in the USA but to gain as much cultural experience as possible while there. To this end all participants are required to provide details every 30 days of all cultural activities that they undertake. We recommend that you take photographs of any event that you participate in and upload them to SEVIS. The requirement of having a job prior to traveling to the US doesn't alter allowing participants from traveling around the US and experience a full and enjoyable J1 summer.

US Cultural Activities examples include:

  • Going to a baseball game
  • Visiting important US monuments (Hollywood sign, Statue of Liberty, Washington Monument, Mount Rushmore etc.)
  • Going to a local 4th of July event
  • Having dinner with a group of US citizens

Note: Don't forget to update your SEVIS every 30 days confirming what cultural activites that you have undertaken. Upload as many photographs to show this.

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