General

When can I apply?
You can apply anytime of the year. However the processing time of your application will take approximately 6 to 8 weeks, so plan for this when you apply.
What does this price cover?
Processing of application; transfer of all relevant documents to CIEE in Portland; Participant Handbook; Issue of DS-2019; Dispatch of all Visa Application forms, including samples; 24 hour emergency service in the USA. Pre-departure orientation and unlimited site visits if required.
What does the SEVIS fee cover?
The Sevis fee is charged by the US Government in order to maintain the SEVIS system. The SEVIS system generates your DS-2019 and serves as a tracking system/database while you are in the US. There are more details regarding the SEVIS system in the programme handbook and materials you receive when you are approved for the programme.
How long before I can go? Can this be expedited?
Yes, there is a fee involved if you need a quicker turnaround, please speak to an agent for further information. The processing time of your application to the 1 year Graduate USA Programme will be approx. 6 to 8 weeks from the date you submit all necessary documentation. Unfortunately it is difficult to guarantee the processing times for the 1 year Graduate USA visa due to SEVIS waiting periods and Interview Appointment availability at the US Embassy/Consulate. Due to this we do not accept applications with a departure date less than 6 weeks away unless you wish to avail of our expedited service which cost and additional €500. If your application is processed in less time you can re-arrange your flights for an earlier date provided your J1 visa is issued by that date.
Can I go to the US and apply from there?
You need to be in Ireland for a majority of the process for several reasons. The main reason is that if you have spent too much time in the US prior to attending your Interview at the US Embassy/Consulate they will look at your application more suspiciously and you will run a greater risk of rejection. We also need to be able to contact you if there are any problems with your application, so they can be dealt with immediately. You also must attend your US Embassy/Consulate interview yourself in person in Ireland. We also post all important documents to your Irish address, so you will need to be there to receive them.
I’m in my final year, can I secure my work papers now?
Yes, you can apply now and secure your work papers. Your work papers can start anytime between AFTER your exams and on or before the 31st December 2017.
I just finished college but I don’t graduate for 4 months, do I have to wait until I graduate before I can apply?
You do not need to have your official graduation ceremony in order to apply or travel, you just need to have completed your degree before you can travel.
I have a degree in Education, can I teach in the US?
There are restrictions to the internship that can be completed within the teaching sector. If you were to obtain a job within the teaching field your position could not allow you to intern hands on with any students. Essentially you cannot intern as a teacher in the USA. Training in teaching cannot involve any direct interaction with students, all positions must be observation only. If you feel you could gain experience from an observational position , or possibly a research or development based role within the teaching field and you meet all other eligibility requirements then you can apply for the 1 year Graduate USA Programme.
Will my sponsor organise any cultural activities for me while I’m in the US?
CIEE will organize and offer cultural activities and opportunities for you during your Intern/Trainee program in the U.S. These opportunities include the monthly Culture Guide, local networking events, periodic email newsletters, the Civic Leadership Summit, and additional cultural activities that may be offered to you by your Host Organization, your home-country CIEE representative, and/or the U.S. Department of State during your program.
What is the Requirements of your Host Organization
  • Your supervisor must be available to speak with a CIEE representative after submitting the DS-7002 Training Plan and discuss the training program
  • Your supervisor must complete and return the mid-point and final evaluations
  • Your host organization must have a Worker’s Compensation policy in place that provides coverage to you during the training program
  • You must have 1 intern to every 5 employees

Eligibility

Is the 1 year Graduate USA Programme open to all Irish Nationals?
No. You need to be a recent graduate from a full time or part time education (within 1 years, min degree level) from a recognised ROI or NI college/University and hold an Irish passport. All applicants must show proof of return to Ireland.
I hold an Irish passport and/or live in Ireland but studied in the UK. Am I eligible?
No. You must be registered or be within 1 years of graduation from a University within the 32 counties of Ireland. However, you could potentially be eligible for our Internship programme - see www.usavisa.ie/internship for more details.
I am a 32 year-old student. Am I eligible?
Yes, as long as you meet all eligibility requirements.
I already went to the US with a J1 Summer Work and Travel visa. Can I still apply for the 1 year Graduate USA programme?
Of course. Regardless of how many times you went to the US with a J1 Summer Work and Travel visa, you can apply for the 1 year Graduate visa provided you meet all eligibility requirements. You will need to wait until you withdraw from your J1 programme or until your visa expires to be able to lodge your application for the 1 year Graduate USA Programme and some hiatus rules apply in certain situations i.e. returning to the same employer. You can email workusa@usit.ie for more information on your specific situation.
I already went to the US on an Internship programme. Can I apply for this new programme now?
Yes, provided you meet all eligibility requirements and your new 1 year Graduate USA programme will impart an advanced level of skills and you will not be repeating any previous experience. Some hiatus rules apply in certain situations i.e. returning to the same employer. You can email workusa@usit.ie for more information on your specific situation.
I've finished my internship and would like to begin the 1 year Graduate USA programme while in the US. Is this possible?
No, you must return to Ireland to make the application for the new programme. Please note you must meet all programme eligibility requirements to be able to apply for the 1 year USA Graduate Programme and be in a position to re-enter the US and start your programme no more than 1 years from your graduation. Some hiatus rules apply in certain situations i.e. returning to the same employer. You can email workusa@usit.ie for more information on your specific situation.
Can students currently on other visa types studying in the US apply for the programme?
No, you are not permitted to change visa classes while in the US; you would need to return to your country of permanent residence in order to apply for a new visa. The US Embassy/Consulate may query you on why you wish to spend so much time in the US.
Can applicants take up unpaid positions as interns in the US?
Yes, however they must be able to provide firm evidence that they will have access to at least USD$1000 per month in order to support themselves throughout the entire period of their stay in the US. This can be in the form of a guarantor in Ireland or through proof of savings. Please note you CANNOT hold any other employment while in the US to fund your stay (i.e. in bars/restaurants,etc).
If I'm on the US Summer Work and Travel Programme and I want to stay on in the US, can I apply to go directly on the 1 year Graduate USA Programme?
NO! As with the US Summer Work & Travel Programme, the 1 year Graduate USA visa is a J1 class visa, and it is not possible to have two J1 visas running back to back concurrently. As such, if a participant on the US Summer Work & Travel Programme wants to apply for the 1 year Graduate USA programme, they must return home to Ireland to do so. You can however potentially be returning on the 1 year programme in 6-8 weeks. Some hiatus rules apply in certain situations i.e. returning to the same employer. You can email workusa@usit.ie for more information on your specific situation.
I want to bring my partner/spouse and/or children to the US with me. Is this okay?
Unfortunately no. You cannot make an application for any dependents to accompany you on the 1 year Graduate USA programme. They can go and visit you on a holiday visa, but cannot stay with you for the duration of your visa.
I studied through distant learning. Am i eligible?
Unfortunately not. In order to qualify for the programme you must have completed your course through classroom based learning on a full or part-time basis.

Payment

When do I have to pay in full?
USIT require an initial deposit of EUR499 at the time of booking with an additional EUR499 required 2 months later. Your balance will be due 12 weeks prior to departure . If travelling within 12 weeks full payment will be required within 1 weeks of booking.
Why do I have to pay a visa fee also?
The Visa Application Fee is a separate fee that the US State Department requires from you in order for them to process your paperwork. This fee is paid directly to the US Embassy and has nothing to do with either USIT or CIEE.
What does the programme fee cover?
See above. General, Q3.
What is the SEVIS fee? Do I have to pay it?
SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. SEVIS was implemented post 9/11 in order to allow the US Government to track the location of all participants on student exchange based programmes, including the 1 year Graduate USA programme. The system is now fully implemented and the US Government has levied a fee to cover the administrative costs of the system. You must pay this fee in order to obtain your J1 visa from the US Embassy/Consulate. USIT/CIEE arrange payment for you and will supply you with a SEVIS receipt (I-797 or I-901) with your DS-2019 before your appointment with the US Embassy/Consulate.
How long before I get my visa?
The processing time is generally 6 to 8 weeks, however it can take more or less time depending on your individual application.

Financial Support Evidence

Why do I have to submit a bank statement to the US Embassy/Consulate?
You must submit a bank statement to the US Embassy/Consulate and at US Immigration in order to prove that you can support yourself and will not pose a burden on the US Government. Keep in mind that you should have sufficient start up funds (min $2,000) as your first pay cheque may not become available to you until you've been there for a little while.
I do not have a current account bank statement but I have a Visa credit limit of more than €400. Is that OK?
Unfortunately no, the US Government feels a bank statement is the best and most accurate way of reflecting your financial status. Please ask your bank to provide you with a bank statement before you attend your Interview at the US Embassy. Your statement should be dated within the last 30 days.
Will I still need to show proof of funds to US Immigration?
Yes, US immigration can decide to allow or not allow you into the US even if the US Embassy has granted your visa, so we recommend that you have another set of these documents when going through US Immigration.

Passport

What if I don't have a valid passport at the time of application?
You MUST have a valid passport at the time of application. We will need to check the dates of your passport, which must remain valid throughout your stay in the US. We also have to match your passport to all of your documents in order to have your DS-2019 printed correctly.
My passport validity will expire while I am in the US? Is that OK?
No your passport must be valid for your entire stay. If it is not you will need to apply for a new passport with the appropriate validity before you submit your application for the programme.
My passport has been stolen and I only have an emergency 1-year replacement passport. Can I go in the US with it?
No, your passport must be valid for the full 1 year validity of your 1 year Graduate USA visa.Without a valid passport we are unable to process your application.
I'm in America and I've lost my passport - what do I do?
It is essential you carry your important documents (passport, DS-2019, etc) with you at all times. However, in the case of lost or stolen documents please follow the steps below.
Passport: Contact your closest Consulate/Embassy for a new passport.
If you require more information on how to acquire new documents that have been lost or stolen please contact CIEE on 1-888-268-6245 or USIT at workusa@usit.ie.
You cannot leave / re-enter the US on your replacment passport. If travelling outside of the US on your replacement passport you will need to contact the US Consulate in the country you are travelling to to arrange a new visa. YOU WILL NOT BE PERMITTED TO ENTER THE USA WITHOUT A VISA

Visa

When do I get my visa?
After you have received your DS2019, you will need to attend an Interview at the US Embassy/Consulate where they will vet your application and issue your Visa if it is approved. The US Embassy (generally within 5 days of your Interview) will post your documents to a sorting office of your choice. You will need to arrange your own US Embassy interview - you will be notified of how to do this in your Welcome Pack.
How do I apply for my J-1 visa?
Once your DS2019 has been issued and sent to you, you will need to book and attend an interview at the US Embassy/Consulate. USIT can no longer arrange this for you.. Your 'Welcome Pack' will be sent to you shortly after we receive your completed documents and will detail the documents and information required for your US Embassy/Consulate interview. Your DS-2019 will be issued to you shortly before your appointment date provided you have booked and paid for your flights and insurance and there have not been any delays in processing your application.
I am going to the US for 1 years, do I really need Return Evidence at the US Embassy?
Yes, the US Embassy/Consulate require that all participants supply a letter of Return Evidence to illustrate that they are returning to Ireland once your programme is completed. This can be a letter showing an intention to return to studies or to a job here in Ireland. You MUST have this, if you do not your application will be rejected. This programme is a temporary exchange visitor programme and should not be viewed as a springboard to stay in the US permanently.
What is a DS-2019 form?
It is the 'Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor J-1 Status', which is the document that entitles you to apply for a J1 Visa. You cannot obtain a J1 Visa without a DS-2019. Similarly your J-1 visa is not valid without your DS-2019. Only the two documents together grant you permission to live and intern in the US.
Should I keep a copy of my DS-2019 while I am in the US?
YES! You must keep your original DS2019 in a safe place and with you throughout your stay in the US and you will need to take it with you if you travel outside of the country. We also recommend that you keep a photocopy of this and all of your travel documents in a safe place just in case something happens to them.
I have lost my DS-2019. Does it matter?
YES! If you lose your DS2019 while you are still in Ireland contact USIT straight away and we will arrange getting a replacement for you. If you lose it while you are in the US you will need to contact CIEE straight away. You may have to pay a fee for the issuance of a new document.
How long can I stay on a J-1 1 year Graduate USA visa?
You are permitted to travel as 30 days before and after your DS 2019 start dates ( provided you have Insurance to cover you for this duration). You are only permitted to intern for 1 year.
Can participants apply to extend their period of internship after they've travelled out to the US?
The 1 year Graduate USA programme is valid for 1 year and your work papers will reflect this. You cannot extend past 1 years.
Can I apply directly to the US Embassy?
No. You must be a registered participant on a US Government authorised work exchange programme or have other official US Visa documentation for other visa types. The US Embassy does not issue work visas (J1) without the necessary Work Authorisation from a US Government approved legal sponsor. CIEE is the approved legal sponsor of our programme and can issue such Authorisations - the DS-2019. Without a DS-2019 you cannot apply for a J1 visa.
Can I study in the US while on Internship visa?
No. The regulations on this programme do not allow you to study at a US institution while there.

Immigration & Travel

May participants leave the US during their period on the programme?
Provided you have a valid multiple entry J-1 visa stamped into your passport you may leave and return to the USA as many times as you wish as long as you get your DS-2019 signed before departure or obtain a 'letter of good standing' from CIEE. 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 your trainee program. You are not permitted to leave and re-enter the USA within your 30 day grace period at the end of your visa.Please check your visa before you depart for the US and be sure to raise any questions on this by emailing workusa@usit.ie.
Can I go to Canada / Mexico for a few days?
Yes, but you will have to follow the procedures outlined above as these rules apply to any travel outside the US. Travel to the Tijuana metropolitan area incl Rosarito in Mexico is prohibited on this programme. If you travelled to the Tijuana metropolitan area on your J1 in 2015 or 2016 you will not be permitted on this programme.
Can I come back home for a holiday during my internship?
Yes, but you will have to follow the procedures outlined above as these rules apply to any travel outside the US and you will have to do this before your DS-2019 and J1 visa expiry dates. Please note, if you return to Ireland your insurance will not cover you for your stay in Ireland. With USITs insurance policy any trip home over 28 days will invalidate your insurance altogether and you will have to purchase a new insurance policy before you return to the us. If you have chosen Alternative Insurance you will need to check directly with your insurance provider if and how long you can travel back to Ireland.
If I leave America, during my 1 year Graduate USA visa, on a holiday how long can I remain outside of America?
If you stay outside the USA for 30 days or more, your DS2019 will become invalid and you will not be able to return.

Work, Social Security & Taxes

How long do I have to find a position once I arrive?
You have 90 days from the start date on your DS-2019 to submit a position related to your field of study to CIEE to approve. If you do not secure a position in this time,you will have to return to Ireland.
Does the position in the US have to be an Internship placement?
Yes, your placement in the US must be an Internship. It cannot be replacing American workers or filling a general labour need. Below are some things you need to keep in mind when you secure a position in the US:
1. The position is related to your field of study - i.e. what you studied in college. 
2. The training you will receive in your position is progressive - i.e. you will clearly be developing your skills and knowledge.
3. You will receive constant supervision and be regularly evaluated by your company throughout your Internship.
4. Your company will cover you under their Workers Compensation Insurance Policy.
5. The company has a business premises (i.e. no home office internship allowed), company website, and Tax Id. Number.
6. There must be a ratio of at least 5 full-time employees to 1 Intern.
If your position fulfills all of the above, CIEE, your US Sponsor will be able to vett the position. Once CIEE approve the Internship placement, you may begin work.
Do I have to have a positon secured before I travel to the USA?
No, this programme has been designed to allow you enter the US without prior employment arrangements. If you have found a position though, this is okay, you simply have to get it approved by CIEE when you are in the USA on the programme.
My position is unpaid or I am paid less than US$1000 per month. How do I show that I will be able to support myself while in the US?
With your initial internship application you will need to submit an original or certified copy of a bank statement showing access to $1000 multiplied by the number of months you will be in the US or a letter from a guarantor here in Ireland stating that they will support you. If you have a guarantor then the information for the US Sponsor, CIEE will need to be more detailed and you may be asked to submit bank statements or pay slips from your guarantor.
Am I allowed to hold a second job during my programme?
No. The US regulations on this programme prohibit holding any other job ( eg more than 1 at the same time ) while you are over on this Visa. If you do so you risk losing your Sponsorship and Visa and may be deported from the US.
Are there any positions I'm NOT allowed to do?
YES! Medical, veterinary, health, childcare and housekeeper positions are not authorised under the J-1 Internship visa. There are also some positions that fall under the US Government's Unskilled Occupation list.
My position is not paid. Is that OK?
Yes! However you must complete all of the relevant documentation on the Financial Sponsorship form and you will need to furnish the US Sponsor, CIEE with proof of funds and a letter from your financial sponsor stating the amount of money they will furnish you with and how they will get it to you while you are in the US.
Are participants on the 1 year USA Graduate Programme liable for taxes in the US?
Yes, participants are responsible for paying ALL income taxes, which apply to your area. However, you do not have to pay Social Security, Medicare or Federal Unemployment Taxes.
What forms will I need to file my tax return?
Before you can file your tax return you will need to obtain a W-2 from your Host Company. US Employers are required to post these to all employees no later than 31 January every year, so you should receive this by mid-February. Make sure that your Host Company has your correct address. The 1040NR-EZ is the form you must complete for your Federal taxes. You will also need to obtain your W-2 form from your employer at the end of the year. If you paid any State or Local taxes, you will need to get any State / Local tax forms that are applicable to you - these can often be obtained via the web or through local government offices in your area of the US.
You can obtain all Federal tax forms from the IRS web site: www.irs.gov . You may also obtain the federal tax form from the American Embassy outside of the U.S. To obtain State tax forms, look in the blue pages of any local telephone book in the U.S. to find your state tax office address. Local libraries, post offices and town/city halls also may have state, federal and local tax forms.
My only compensation is room and board. Do I have to pay taxes on that?
We advise that you ask your employer for a statement at the end of your employment (I.e. W-2 or 1099 form) stating the amount of compensation for that period of time, mentioning that this was compensated through room and board. NOTE: All 1 year Graduate USA Programme participants should apply for a Social Security Card and file a tax return at the end of the year, regardless of whether they have received regular payment/compensation or not. This is beneficial to the participants, in case they want to come back to the U.S. in the future, so that they have proof that they followed the regulations while here on CIEE's program.
Do I have to apply for a social security number if my position is unpaid?
Yes. Whether you are paid or not you are 'employed.' The company you train with will also have to have a social security number for you for tax purposes. Plus, if you are going to return to the USA on another visa in the future, you can use the same number again.
I'm in America and I've lost my Social Security card - what do I do?
It is essential you carry your important documents (passport, DS-2019, etc) with you at all times. However, in the case of lost or stolen documents please follow the steps below.
Social Security Card: Contact your local Social Security Office to apply for a replacement card. DO NOT apply for a new card.
Can I do more than one position on the 1 year USA Graduate programme?
Yes. Just not at the same time. If you find an internship for 3 months, you can then move onto another internship in another state or city for another 3 months, and so on. As long as there is time left on your visa and each internship is related to your field of study, this is no problem!
Can I do part time job on the side during this visa, such as working in a bar at the weekends?
Unfortunately not. You are not allowed to do any part time or unskilled internship on this programme.

Insurance

Do I have to buy the insurance with USIT?
No. Due to continued rising cost of insurance to the USA you can now purchase your own insurance at your own expense.
If choosing alternative insurance you must ensure the following:
  • If you choose to book your own insurance please note there is an admin fee of EUR 75
  • The length of your stay in the US will be dependent on the duration of your policy eg if you choose a 12 months insurance policy , you will only be permitted to stay in the US for 12 months , travel will not be permitted either side of your work papers. If you wish to travel 30 days either before or after your visa, you must purchase either a 13 month or 14 month insurance policy.
  • Work paper will not be issued until we have received a copy of your insurance policy ( policy confirmation in your name as well as policy documents )
  • Your insurance should meet the min following criteria :
    • Medical Expenses min cover EUR 3,000,000
    • Personal Accident min cover EUR40,000
    • Repatriation and Medical Evacuation is adequate and provide the insurance within the above medical expenses limit.
  • You cannot purchase multi trip insurance and your insurance must be valid for the entire stay in the USA
  • You must submit the Alternative Insurance Request form to USIT
  • USIT take not any responsibility for the insurance that you have purchased nor will we be able to intervene should any dispute arise between the participant and the third party provider.
What does the USIT programme insurance cover me for?
Cancellation and curtailment; Emergency Medical Responses and Repatriation; Baggage and Personal Effects; Travel Delay and Holiday Abandonment; Hijack; Missed Departure; Personal Accident; Personal Liability; Student Loan; Legal Expenses; Exam Failure; Loss of Earnings; Programme Participation Costs in certain cases where a return to Ireland is necessary; Government Travel Advice and certain Hazardous Pursuits are all things that are covered to varying degrees on the 1 year Graduate USA Insurance Policy. For further details or specified information regarding the policy you will need to refer to your policy.

Flights

Can I book my flights to anywhere in the US?
Yes, you can travel to anywhere in the US.
Can I book my flights with another travel agency?
No, you must book your flights with USIT, this is so we have all of your travel information to provide to the US Government and Sponsors, as well as the Insurance provider. It's also more beneficial as you can purchase tickets that can be changed for a nominal fee in case you run into problems with obtaining all of the necessary paperwork to travel on your position. Make sure that you are aware of all fees and rules that may apply to your specific ticket.
I am entitled to concession travel because a member of my family works for an airline. Is that okay?
Unfortunately no. You are not permitted to travel on concession flights as per 1 year USA Graduate Programme regulations. You must purchase your flights through USIT.