Summer J1 2016: The Lowdown

It’s that time of year again. No, not Christmas, silly…J1 season! The 2016 J1 summer programme has just launched and you may have heard by now that a change has been made to the programme requirements, whereby you will HAVE to secure a summer job in America before official work papers can be issued for you to get your visa. Because of this change, it’s really important for you to get started on the application process and job hunt as soon as possible if you plan on going to the USA next summer.

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Finding a summer job

So you’re probably thinking to yourself ‘How am I going to get a job in America before I even step foot in the country?’ right about now.  Well, that’s where we come in.  Here in USIT, we ‘ve been organising J1 visas for 50 years and as a result, we’ve dealt with our fair share of US Employers.  2016 will mark the first year that Irish students will have to travel to the USA with a job offer, but we’re here to help you every step of the way!

When you book your J1 with USIT, you’ll be granted exclusive access to an American Employer Database as well as get an invite to our J1 Hiring Fair in Dublin on 10th February 2016, where American employers will be travelling to Ireland with the sole purpose of hiring students who booked with USIT.   You’ll also be invited to attend a number of Virtual Job Fairs over the coming months, so no matter where you’re based in Ireland, you will be given the best tools available to get a great summer job in the USA.


Job Requirements

The job that you secure for your J1 has to comply with requirements set out by the US Department of State.  The most important thing to keep in mind is that your job has to be ‘seasonal’ in nature.  This means that your position cannot be taking a job away from an American citizen, but more-so filling a need for staffing during the high (summer) season.  Any professional or internship-based positions will not be approved for the J1, as there is a specific internship visa for this type of work.  Suitable positions would be in hospitality, retail, amusement parks etc.  There are also certain towns and cities in the USA that you can no longer work/live in on a J1 visa.  Check out the full list here before you begin your job hunt.

Remember, CIEE (who are the US J1 Programme Sponsor) will have to vet and approve your J1 Job Offer.  We help with this step, as your US Employer will have to complete a form as well as speak with a CIEE rep to confirm the terms of your employment.  It is only then that the Department of State will issue your official work papers, which you will need in order to interview for your J1 Visa with the US Embassy.

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Where to begin

Once you’ve applied for the J1 programme with USIT, you should start your job hunt almost immediately.  Ultimately, you and only you will get yourself hired by a US Employer at the end of the day and the first step in doing that is to have a strong resumé, cover letter and interview skills.  Check out our previous job-hunting blog posts to get started:

Rules for Writing your Resumé

10 Tips for Turning your CV into a Resumé

How to Nail a Skype Interview

When you book your programme, you’ll also get access to a sample resumé on your J1 tracking account.

You should update your LinkedIn profile with all of your relevant work and college experience as soon as possible.  You should also clean up all of your social media accounts as US Employers could very well check them out.  Keep everything above-board and professional at all times.

Ultimately, this change to the rules of the summer J1 has been made so that you can travel to the USA safe in the knowledge that you can start working immediately; that way your focus can be on experiencing America and all it has to offer to the fullest.  The key message here is that those who are organised and prepared should have no problem going through the entire J1 process smoothly.

To apply for the J1 2016 Programme, please visit where you will find everything there is to know about the new requirements including costs, the application process, job and housing tips and all of the terms and conditions you need to understand before moving forward.

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