Summer Work & Travel FAQs
Why should I choose AmerEx?
AmerEx is dedicated to ensuring the best possible experience to Participants. AmerEx works tirelessly to make sure Participants receive good job and housing offers and we offer support throughout your program.
How much does it cost?
Please contact your local AmerEx Agent for information on program fees. Please note that consular fees, SEVIS processing fee, as well as air travel to the work site are not included in the program fee unless otherwise noted in your program rules.
Who is eligible for the Work and Travel Program?
Students actively enrolled in an accredited post-secondary institution can apply for the program. Participants must be between the ages of 18-26 and possess at least an intermediate command of the English language.
What is the J-1 Visa?
The J-1 Visa is issued to overseas visitors for educational and cultural exchange purposes. The J-1 Visa category was established by the U.S. government through the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 in order to promote the foreign policy objectives of the U.S. and to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and other countries through educational and cultural activities.
Can I choose where I will live/work?
During the application process, you will have the opportunity to identify the types of jobs and geographical regions you prefer. AmerEx will do their best to find the perfect job match for you, but cannot guarantee placement into your first choice job/location. It is a good idea to stay in contact with your local AmerEx Agent and consider various job offers in the event that your first choice is not available.
Do I need to have perfect English language skills?
Successful Participants generally have an intermediate to advanced level of English proficiency. All candidates must undergo English screening with their Agent to determine their English level and accordingly define what types of job functions would be best suited for each individual.
What work experience do I need?
Most of the Work and Travel jobs are labor-based positions that do not require past work experience to be eligible. However, if you have some experience that might be useful in the program (ex: restaurant server, lifeguard, use of English in a professional setting, etc...) be sure to advise your Agent as this may qualify you for higher-level and higher-paying jobs. Once assigned to a job, some preliminary training or preparation may be necessary depending on the position.
What kinds of jobs can I choose from?
Work and Travel jobs range across various industries and job functions, and are available in locations all over the United States. Popular industries include those with seasonal staffing needs such as hospitality, lifeguarding, and amusement park services.
How much will I earn?
Most positions offer salaries that range from $8-$12 per hour. Some Employers offer additional pay in the form of overtime wages, tips, and bonuses. Please see your AmerEx Agent for detailed wage information for specific jobs.
Where will I live?
Depending on the job assignment, you will most likely share an apartment or suite with other AmerEx Participants. These accommodations will generally be within a short distance of the job site, and will be available to you throughout the duration of the program.
What is included in the Program?
One job offer lasting 2 - 4 months, an affordable housing option, DS-2019 issued by AmerEx to support the application for a J-1 Work/Travel Visa, comprehensive medical and travel insurance, and 24-hour support from AmerEx's experienced staff.
Can I stay at my job for longer than 2-4 months?
No. Federal Regulations state that the duration of your employment at your designated job site cannot exceed the dates outlined in your Visa documentation. Once you complete your job assignment, you will have a one month grace period that may be used for travel or sightseeing within the USA. This time CANNOT be used for work.
How far in advance should I apply?
Depending on your country's consular deadlines, you should begin the application process by contacting your local Agent at least 6-9 months before your desired travel date. However, AmerEx may be able to assist you in joining the program provided the Consular deadline has not passed.
Who do I contact in case of an emergency?
AmerEx offers a toll-free 24-hour emergency help line. However, should you have a life-threatening emergency you should call the appropriate authorities (police, fire department and/or ambulance) by dialing 911 from any telephone.
For other concerns, you may contact AmerEx's toll-free number during office hours. Examples of problems that DO NOT warrant a call to the emergency telephone number, but can be addressed during regular business hours (10 AM - 7 PM EST) are:
• Loss of DS-2019 and/or I-94 form
• Loss of passport - contact your home country's consulate (List & Locations of Consulates)
• Tenant/Landlord concerns
• Basic legal information and advice for procedures and contacts
• Victim of theft or a non-violent crime
• Employee/Employer concerns
• Social Security and tax problems
• Forwarding your Social Security card
• General information about jobs and housing
What kind of additional expenses should be expected?
Participants should expect some additional expenses before and upon arrival in the USA. Housing deposit and rental fees, meals, international airfare, and domestic transportation in the USA are not included in the program provided by AmerEx. Participants should budget for an additional $500-$800 per month to cover housing, meals, and personal expenses. These amounts may vary depending on spending habits and/or work location.
Will I need medical insurance?
The United States Information Agency requires all visitors be insured for illness, emergencies and third party liability. The insurance provided to you by AmerEx is specifically designed to cover all of the above requirements and is included in your program.
Do I have to stay at one job?
By signing your Job Offer, you are agreeing to work for that employer. If you decide that you cannot work for that employer, or you are fired from your job, you need to contact us for assistance. If you do not report to work when you are scheduled, or leave your job without telling anyone, you will be dismissed from the program and you will be required to return to your home country immediately.
AmerEx is here to help - if any issues arise, contact us immediately and we will work with you and your employer to resolve any problems you may be encountering.
While working for your assigned employer, you may, however accept a second, part-time job to make extra money. This is acceptable so long as it does not affect your schedule or job performance at your primary work position.
Can I be placed at the same job as my friend?
You can request to have the same employer, but AmerEx cannot guarantee you will be placed together.
I am already in the U.S. on a Visa; can I transfer to another Visa without returning home?
No. We do not transfer your Visa to other Visa categories.
I've already completed an AmerEx Work and Travel Program, can I participate in another?
Yes – as long as you still meet the eligibility requirements for the program, you may participate in another AmerEx program.
Am I allowed to travel to Canada and Mexico with my J-1 Visa?
You do not need a Visa to travel to Mexico, but you must contact AmerEx and request to have your DS-2019 stamped for re-entry to the United States. Failure to obtain permission may result in you being detained at the airport upon re-entry in the U.S., or worse, you not being allowed back in the U.S. If you would like to travel to Canada, you must apply for a Canadian Visa in your home country.
Can I travel around in the U.S. before my job starts?
No. You should report to your employer upon arrival, however, you are allowed a 30-day grace period after your program to travel.
Can I extend my stay in the U.S.?
Extensions beyond your 4 month allotted work and travel program are not allowed for the J-1 Work/Travel Program. Failure to return home on time may result in being arrested and/or deported. Failure to return also affects your chances of obtaining a Visa in the future. Do not jeopardize your future by breaking the law!
Am I guaranteed a J-1 Work/Travel Visa?
No. In addition to the program fee, completed forms and various required documents, you will be required to attend an interview at the U.S. Consulate to discuss the purpose of your visit which will determine the success of your Visa application.
If I have some more questions, what should I do?