Students advised to apply early for J-1 summer visas
7,000 slots are available for Irish students to travel and work in the US in 2018
The J-1 summer work and travel programme is available to all full-time third level students. Photograph: iStock/Getty Images
The US Embassy in Dublin is advising students wishing to partake in the J-1 summer work and travel programme to apply early. For 2018, 7,000 slots are available for Irish students.
Despite growing concern that Donald Trump would put an end to the programme, as he promised he would on several occasions along the campaign trail in 2015 and 2016, the US Embassy and Department of State have worked with the Summer Work and Travel visa sponsor agencies to ensure that Ireland would still secure 7,000 visa spaces for 2018, the same number that were allocated for this year.
The J-1 summer work and travel programme is available to all full-time third level students, to spend the summer working in the United States with an additional 30 days to travel.
The nature of the J-1 summer work and travel visa changed in 2016, when it became necessary for Irish applicants to have a job secured before travelling to the US, which would allow them to start working as soon as they arrive.
In the past it was not uncommon for participants to spend weeks or sometimes months in a hotel or hostel until they found suitable accommodation and employment.
J-1 participants must be accepted into an exchange visitor programme by one of several designated visa sponsors. The majority of Irish participants are sponsored by SAYIT, USIT, J-1 Ireland, Smaller Earth or World Wide Cultural Exchange.
The embassy is urging participants to apply early due to the large amount of paperwork involved, and to allow them sufficient time to secure a job before travelling. Many of the visa sponsor agencies hold job fairs to assist participants, starting in January.
The J-1 programme in Ireland is more than 50 years old and has seen over 160,000 Irish students spend their summers in the United States.
For more information on applying for a J-1 visa, visit ie.usembassy.gov/visas/nonimmigrant-visas/j1/