Australia & New Zealand

Questions about J-1 12 Month Work & Travel Visas

How much do they cost?

$1449 AUD including GST

This can be paid by cash, cheque, bank deposit.

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How long does it take?

Generally 3-4 weeks but it is safer to allow 4-5 in case there are delays at the consulate.

What kind of visa do I need in order to enter the U.S. on the 12-month Student Work and Travel Pilot Program?

The 12-month Student Work and Travel Pilot Program falls under the existing exchange visitor category. Under this visa category, international visitors experience and contribute to U.S. culture by participating in programs approved by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The Student Work and Travel Pilot Program allows participants to combine work, and travel in the United States for up to 12 months.

What is the difference between the B-1/B-2 business and tourist visa and the Student Work and Travel Pilot Program visa?

Australian and New Zealand participants in the Student Work and Travel Pilot Program may work and travel in the U.S. for up to 12 months. The B-1/B-2 business and tourist visa allows short stays to conduct business meetings, attend conferences, visit family, or engage in other temporary business or tourist activities. B-1/B-2 visa holders may not work or study in the U.S.

What are the eligibility requirements for the visa?

The Student Work and Travel Pilot Program is based on the existing Exchange Visitor Program. In addition to the requirements for other exchange visa programs, participants traveling to the U.S. on the Student Work and Travel Pilot Program must also:

Be a citizen of Australia; 
Be a bona fide post-secondary student or recent graduate, and provide evidence from post-secondary institution to this effect; and 
Not be accompanied by dependents. 
Unlike participants in other exchange visa programs, Student Work and Travel Program participants are not required to return home in time for the academic school year to begin.

What is "post-secondary education" for the purposes of this program?

To be considered a bona fide post-secondary student, the potential participant must have completed his/her freshman (first) year of a post-high school program such as a Bachelor's degree program or other course which will lead to the issuance of a degree.

What is meant by the term "recent graduate" for the purposes of this program?

A recent graduate is an Australian citizen who has graduated from a post-secondary college/university in his or her home country within the last 12 months. The applicant must provide evidence of student status. For further guidance, please refer to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Website.

Are students attending vocational schools (e.g. TAFE) eligible for participation in this program?

The requirements are that an Australian or NZ citizen wishing to travel to the United States must qualify as a student; that is, someone who is currently enrolled in a bona fide post-secondary course of study or who has completed/graduated from a bona fide post-secondary course of study within the last 12 months. Evidence to this effect must be provided.

Students attending vocational studies at TAFE (AU) and Polytech (NZ) are also eligible to participate in the Student Work and Travel Program. The U.S. State Department has determined that TAFE and Polytech meet the educational requirements of the Student Work and Travel Program.

Refer to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Website.

What is the first step in the application process?

As with all exchange visitor visas, you must obtain sponsorship from an exchange visitor program approved by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.  GROW USA works as the Australian and New Zealand agent for 3  of the approved designated U.S sponsorship organisations.

Why do I need a sponsor?

Sponsorship is a standard U.S. visa requirement for exchange visitor applicants. Participants must secure sponsorship from an approved exchange organization.

How long may I stay on the Student Work and Travel Pilot Program?

A valid U.S. visa allows a traveler to arrive at a port of entry in the United States any time during the validity of the visa. Permission to enter the United States, and the length of stay granted on each visit, is at the discretion of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), part of the Department of Homeland Security. The initial visa may be valid for up to twelve months from the date of issuance, and participants will generally be granted permission to remain in the United States for the entire duration of their status as a program participant. Participants will need to apply for new visas at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas if they depart the United States after their initial visa expires and they wish to return to the United States.

Can I adjust to a different visa status once I am in the United States?

Once you are in the United States you are responsible for maintaining the correct immigration status with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). For further information on changing to a different visa status once in the United States, you may visit the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov.

Is there an age limit for the Student Work and Travel Pilot Program?

No.

Is there a limit on the number of visas issued?

The Student Work and Travel Program can only be entered into once, so only one visa can be issued for this particular program however, applicants may complete other J1 programs before or after the 12 month program.