Frequently asked questions about J1 Summer Work and Travel Program

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Who can participate in the Work and Travel Program?

You are eligible to participate if you'll be between 18 and 27 years old and a fulltime student - both when you apply for the programme and when you begin working.


How do I apply for the Work and Travel Program?

To apply for the Work and Travel, simply return the Work Experience Application Form Work and Travel along with the supporting documents by e-mail, fax or regular mail.


Is there a minimum level of English required?

Yes, because you'll perform better in interviews and improve your chances of securing a "better" job when you have better English language skills. If necessary Work Experience offers English orientation for their applicants.


Can you guarantee me a job?

Everyone who has taken the programme has been successful; however, you will have to do your best in an interview to secure a job offer. What we will do is to arrange interviews for you, for jobs matched to your English level and your experience, if you have any previous experience. We'll set you up to succeed, since it is in our best interest for you to get a job offer from your first interview! Sufficient job opportunities are available!


What is the necessary level of English to participate?

Minimum intermediate level of English is necessary; this will open more job opportunities for you.


Will a longer English course help me land a better job?

It's likely to because you'll perform better in interviews and improve your chances of securing a "better" job when you have better English language skills. You may want to consider a longer course, particularly if you will be starting below the Intermediate level. Also, preference is given to students who have studied longer to prepare for their Work & Travel in Spain when interviews and offers are assigned.


How much will I be paid?

You will always be paid at least minimum wage. Some jobs do pay more than minimum wage, and some include tips and even meals.


How many hours will I work?

Most shifts are 8 hours per day with 1 day off during the week. You may work overtime, in this case you will be paid 150%!


What kind of job will I be placed in?

The job opportunities are in the hospitality, catering, retail and other general service sectors. Positions include: bartender, waiter, kitchen help, waiter's assistant, hostess and retail store or amusement park attendant.


How long is the Work and Travel Program?

The maximum stay to work is 4 months plus one month for travel!


I've never worked before. Can I still apply?

Yes! If you have any work experience at all, please list it on your application and include work references. If you have no experience, it may take you longer to receive an offer, but you are still eligible to apply.

Frequently asked questions about H2B Program

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Why is the United States offering H-2B work visas?

When there is not a sufficient pool of United States workers US employers have requested to bring overseas workers through the department of Labor to fill these positions under the category of an H-2B Visa.


Do I pay for my own travel expenses?

Yes, you will organize and pay for your return air ticket.


Can I pick the city where I wish to work?

No, we cannot promise to place you in your preferred city; we are restricted to positions and cities that are available at the time.


How many hours a week will I work?

Your working week will be an average of 35 - 40 hours per week (hours can vary depending on season or hotel occupancy).


How much tax will I pay?

Federal tax will be refunded to you in total at the end of the tax year. You will need to pay your own Income tax and lodge your return at end of the program.


Do I get a uniform and meals provided?

Some positions will include a free uniform.


Can I extend my contract after 10 months ?

Yes, if you work well the employer will give you an extension for another 6 mths or 10 mths. Please contact Work Experience for that process.


What does the medical examination consist of?

All employees will be subjected to a drug test on arrival at their place of employment according to USA law.


Can I take my spouse/family?

With H2B you cannot take your spouse/family with you in US, but they could try the H4 visa for dependets. For more details visit the Embassy web site, section nonimigrant visa.


How do I apply for the H2B Program?

To apply for the H2B Program, simply return the Work Experience Application Form H2B along with the supporting documents by e-mail, fax or regular mail.

Other frequently asked questions

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Who can apply for the program?

Students enrolled full-time at an accredited university. A three-year university is acceptable as long as it is accredited. All students must have a minimum 7 average in order to be considered bona fide students. SWT is a program for university students; therefore, only people who are students or who have just finished their studies can participate.


What about foreign students studying in Romania?

All foreign students studying in Romania may apply at the embassy in Bucharest. All other students should apply in their home country.


How does a student qualify for the SWT program?

In addition to good grades and English ability, SWT applicants must demonstrate that their situation is such that they will not want to remain in the United States. Consular officers may ask about a student's family or financial situation as part of the visa interview.


When can we start scheduling interviews for SWT?

You can begin scheduling interviews as soon as you have the DS 2019. We will start scheduling Friday appointments in March, but you can schedule appointments for Monday - Thursday prior to March.


How do I schedule appointments for my students?

When you receive the DS 2019 for a student, you may contact the Call Center at USEmbassyCustomerService@gmail.com. You must provide the names of the students at the time you request the appointments.


What should I do if I need to reschedule appointments?

You must contact the Call Center and provide the names of the students who are unable to attend their original appointment date. You may NOT switch an appointment slot with another student's name. Once an appointment date is full, the Call Center will create a waiting list on a first-come first-serve basis. As slots become available due to cancellations, the Call Center will fill the open slots from the waiting list.


Will you make Thursdays available for SWT appointments?

We will open up Thursday appointments in the first half of June only if there is high demand during that period (i.e. the Friday appointments have filled up). Please keep in mind that the SWT interviewing season coincides with the beginning of the tourist season and an increase in visitor visa applications; we will try to accommodate SWT demand the best we can without interfering with non-SWT visa applications.


What should students bring to the interview?

  • DS 156 (must be filled out and printed at https://evisaforms.state.gov/ds156.asp
  • DS 157 (for male applicants only)
  • DS 158
  • SEVIS receipt (for information and instructions, go to www.fmjfee.com)
  • Adeverinta and student book
  • Official transcripts stamped and sealed in an envelope

Students who previously participated in SWT must bring proof of when they returned to Romania (e.g. old passport, boarding pass).

For final year students, any documentation that would show a reason to return to Romania upon the completion of the SWT season. This could include job offers, evidence of onward enrollment in a master's program, etc.


What do I do if the DS 2019 or SEVIS form has a mistake?

If the mistake is minor, such as a slight misspelling of the name or it doesn't include the student's middle name, you do NOT need to get a corrected form. However, we recommend that the student correct the mistake with their American sponsor to avoid any problems with his social security card. If the start date on the DS 2019 is before June 15 and the end date after October 1, that mistake MUST BE CORRECTED before the student's visa can be issued.


What is the new form DS 7002? Is it required for Summer Work & Travel?

The DS 7002 form is for J1 programs that require a training plan, specifically internships and formal training programs. Form DS 7002 is NOT needed for Summer Work & Travel.


Can students who are refused a visa re-apply in the same SWT season?

Yes, but students who have been previously refused for the same SWT season must wait until the second half of June to schedule another appointment. Previously denied students who show up for a second interview before June 19 will be sent away and told to reschedule their appointment.


How do we pick up the passports for students who obtain a visa?

Students whose visa application is approved will receive a numbered, colored ticket. A representative from each company can pick up the passports in person at 3:00 pm on the Monday following the visa appointment by bringing the tickets to the consular section. Or, you may receive the passports via a courier service by submitting an excel spreadsheet to SWTBucharest@state.gov by the end of the day on the Monday following the visa interview. The excel spreadsheet should include: your company name, mailing address, each student's name and ticket color/number. You pay the courier service when the passports are delivered.


How long can students work and travel in the United States?

Students may not enter the United States before June 15 and should return to Romania by October 1 to begin their classes.


But isn't there a grace period that allows J1 visa holders to travel in the United States up to 30 days beyond the end date on the DS 2019 form?

The end date on the DS 2019 form is the last day a person can WORK in the United States. To ensure that the SWT program does not interfere with Romanian university classes and that students do not work past the authorized date, we ask all SWT students to be back by October 1. We take this very seriously and students who remain in the U.S. beyond October 1 may have a difficult time obtaining another visa in the future, even if they do not exceed their authorized stay.


Where can I get details about the regulations for the SWT program?

We highly recommend you read these web sites: The State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs SWT Frequently Asked Questions

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