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How do I qualify for the J1 visa program

All you need to know about the new changes to the J1 visa program

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in life

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Recent changes to the J1 Summer Work and Travel program means students need to have an offer of employment before they can be issued a visa. This pre-placement policy means that you need to get organised and be prepared early if you’re planning on working in the States for the summer.

US resumes are slightly different to Irish CVs and only need to be one page. So make sure you’ve got yours updated and ready to send to American employers with plenty of notice.

How do I qualify for the J1?


  • 18 years of age at the time of application
  • 18 years of age by 15th May 2018 (with parental permission in form of co-signature on application form)


  • Any nationality studying in Ireland
  • Irish, Northern Ireland Nationals studying in Great Britain 
  • Irish Nationals on Erasmus/Socrates abroad 
  • Legal permanent resident of Northern Ireland studying in Great Britain

Student status

  • You need to be taking part in a full-time academic day course in a recognized Irish University or College (running at least 2 years full time) that will ultimately lead to a degree or higher qualification
  • Returning to either a full-time job (if you are in the final year of your degree or higher course) or (if in a 2/3 year Cert or Diploma course) returning to full-time education in autumn 2018 for at least one more year of full-time study on your current course in order to ultimately gain a degree or higher qualification
  • Final year students can apply. You just need to be able to show your intention to return to Ireland at the end of your programme

Application process for the J1 visa

  1. You can apply for the J1 without a job but your J1 Work Papers will not be issued until you have a job that has been vetted and approved by the US Sponsor.
  2. You will need to apply for your Certificate of Eligibility (Form DS-2019) through a Program Sponsor. Interexchange and Council for International Educational Exchange (CIEE) are the two sponsors of the program sponsors for J1 students in Ireland. Most of these sponsors work with an Irish partner organisation.
  3. Your designated sponsor will enroll you in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and your SEVIS number will be on your DS-2019 form. You will need your SEVIS number when you complete your visa application.
  4. Once you have received your DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility and SEVIS number, you will find the DS-160 online visa application form.
  5. Once you have your DS-160 Barcode Number (begins with AA), you or your service provider must make an appointment through the US online appointment website and pay the visa application fee.
  6. You must then attend an interview at the US Embassy in Dublin, read about what you'll need for yout Visa interview at the US Embassy here.

You can work in the United States until the end date on your DS-2019, but have an additional 30 days to complete any travel - just be sure to factor this in to your flight bookings. 

For more information visit J1 Online or

Read the US Embassy in Dublin's infosheet on the J1 here.

Need more information?

We are here to answer your questions and talk through your options. Our online chat service is for 16 to 25 year olds and is available Monday to Friday, 4pm to 8pm. Chat to us now about your situation.

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Published Feb­ru­ary 16th2016
Last updated March 22nd2018
Tags j1 travel visas USA Passport
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