Visa Information & Tips
17 Mar 2017
Your Question: I have just finished my Bachelor studies and, before I enter the working world, would like to travel around the United States for a few months and take on small jobs. Is there something similar to a work & travel visa in the USA or, if possible, what type of visa do I need to do this?
Our Answer: Many countries around the world issue visas under the the classic Work & Travel program. These programs make it possible to travel in a foreign country as well as work. These travelers (for the most part young) are given a specified amount of time to work different jobs while getting to know the country and its culture at the same time. Canada, New Zealand and Australia, for example, are countries that have this visa category for people interested in this type of traveling.
Unfortunately, the USA does not have this visa category for such stays. The USA does have, however, slightly different variations of the Work & Travel program:
The program that would come closest to the Work & Travel Program is the J-1 Visa for “Summer Work Travel” in the USA. To get this visa you must, in all circumstances, turn to authorized exchange programs (e.g. CIEE or Intrax) that offer such programs. There are also requirements that must be meet. Participates must be between the ages of 18 and 30 and usually the program is solely orientated towards full-time students (at least in their second semester) who are enrolled at a higher education institute outside of the USA. These programs usually only take place between July and October (semester break).
Considering that you are no longer enrolled at the university, you will most likely not find a service provider to support you and accept you into a Summer Work Travel Program. On the other hand, you could qualify for the J-1 “Intern” program. This program allows people who have graduated within the year to take on an internship for up to one year in the USA. There are, however, certain requirements that you must fulfill and these can be obtained from an authorized exchange program.