Cost of a J1 Visa, J1 Visa Prices, J1 Exam Failure Insurance, Applying for a J1, J1 Travel Insurance


The J1 is a visa program which allows you to work and travel in the US during your college Summer break for up to 5 months. You can start work from 15th May and work until 15 th Sept. When you finish working you have up to 30 days to travel in the US.

To be eligible for a J1 visa you need to be:

  • Aged 18-27 years at the time of application.
  • An Irish resident.
  • A student enrolled full-time and pursuing studies at an accredited 3rd level college or university at degree level or minimum FETAC Level 6 with progression to a Degree. The course must be classroom-based in an academic institution physically located outside of the United States and you must have successfully completed at least one semester of your course.

Final year students are eligible to apply, we recommend you bring documentation of proof of your intention to return to Ireland when attending the U.S Embassy. Eg. Employment offer or further education.

Erasmus or students studying abroad temporarily are eligible to apply providing their usual place of residence is in Ireland. Students studying abroad may choose to attend their embassy appointment in Dublin or in the country they are studying in. If you choose to attend an embassy other than Dublin you are responsible for making that arrangement and paying the embassy fee directly to the relevant embassy. Go4Less can provide guidance on this. Unfortunately, we cannot accept students studying in the US or Canada.

International students residing in Ireland are eligible to apply. If you an International student studying full time in an Irish college, you will be required to supply additional documentation and may incur higher visa fees. Please contact us to discuss this before applying.

You can apply to Go4Less before having a job arranged but you will need to secure a job offer before being issued a visa. See our J1 jobs tab for typical jobs on a J1 visa and also the prohibited job list.

Yes! We encourage students to search for jobs independently. We recommend being open to more than one location as certain locations can be difficult to secure work and housing. (San Diego in particular).

If you are offered a job you must have the employer fill out a job offer form and submit this to us. Your sponsor will vet your job offer by contacting your prospective employer. If your job offer meets the J1 criteria your sponsor will issue you with a DS-2019 work paper.

If you decide to find a job independently, speaking with family members, friends and previous J1 students is a great way to make connections. Make sure to change your CV into an American style resume and start to apply for summer jobs as soon as possible.

There are lots of different jobs you can apply to on a J1 but all must be seasonal positions due to increased business in the Summer months – serving in café’s and restaurants, front desk at a hotel, cashier in shops, lifeguard and pool attendant positions, ride and amusement operators, ticket sales and many more. Your job must give you an average of 32 hours per week and pay at least minimum wage. Make sure to check our Prohibited jobs list for jobs not suitable for the J1 program before you start looking for work.

J1 participants travel all over the US. As the work you do must be seasonal in nature it is generally in areas with increased tourism in the Summer. There are some areas you are not allowed to work on a J1 – please see the restricted location list here.

A J1 visa Sponsor is an organisation designated by the US Dept of State who are responsible for the vetting of your J1 job and issuing your DS-2019 work paper. This then allows you to apply for a visa at the US Embassy. Your visa sponsor is your first point of contact when you are in the US for any program related issues or in the event of emergency.

A DS-2019 is a work paper which can only be issued by a designated US Sponsor. The DS-2019 allows you to apply for a visa at the US Embassy. Your DS-2019 will be issued once your J1 job is vetted and approved by the US Sponsor. Your DS-2019 will list your employer, their address and the dates you will work. The DS-2019 is an important document that you should kept safe at all times and on return from your J1 be stored for any possible future visa applications.

SEVIS is the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). SEVIS is a United States Government system that collects data on foreign students and exchange visitors while they are in the US. Your US Sponsor will ask you to report where you are living which is reported to SEVIS and you must check in with your Sponsor every 30 days in a monthly check in where they will ask you some questions about your stay. Once you respond to all of your US Sponsors requests in a timely manner you will have no issues.

If you have been to the US Embassy then it’s not possible to change your job before you travel. You will be expected to start work at your original job.

If you have not yet been to the embassy you can change your job, but please be aware this will set you back in the processing of your application as your new job will need to be vetted. There is also no guarantee that the new job will be approved. A fee applies to re-print your DS2019.

If you wish to change jobs while you are in the US you must give your employer at least 2 weeks’ notice and you must have your new job vetted by your US Sponsor before you start work. Please note, there is no guarantee the second position will be approved. Please speak with your US Sponsor for advice in advance.

Once you submit your J1 job offer it will be vetted by the US Sponsor and on approval your DS-2019 will be issued. This then gets shipped to Go4Less. Once we receive this, we will book you into the Embassy. Embassy interviews usually take place between March and May. When you register you will be asked to provide any dates that you are not available to attend the embassy, please do not block off whole weeks for exams as you may need to do this at this time to make your intended travel date.

A DS-160 is an online form that you will fill out before you attend the Embassy. Go4Less will ask you to complete this once we know your J1 job is approved and your DS-2019 is on the way. Go4ess need the reference number from your DS-160 in order to book your embassy interview. This form takes approx. 1 hour to complete and Go4Less will provide you with a guide on how to complete it.

When you arrive at the embassy you will be checked in at the security desk and asked to leave your phone or any small belongings in a locker. Do not bring any large bags with you as there is little storage space. You will be brought to a waiting room where you will be asked to read an information pamphlet about your rights. You will then be called and you will present your documents and passport for your visa interview, the interviewer may ask you some questions about your college course or your job in the US. Usually they will advise you that your visa will be approved and it will take approx. 5 days for your passport to be released. If you have any concerns please speak with a Go4Less agent for advice.

It depends on your specific offense. You will need to provide a Police certificate for your embassy appointment and may be asked to complete a medical. Go4Less cannot advise on if you will be granted a visa or not as it is solely at the discretion of the US Embassy. If you are denied a visa, full cancellation fees will apply.

You must book your flight through Go4Less only, we will provide you with a flight booking engine that you can search dates for the most suitable flight for you. You will be given access to this once we have booked your embassy interview.

Yes, this is a great way to see more of the US. You will need to book these options at the time of booking your return flight. An agent will work with you to find a suitable flight for your travel plan.

Yes, you will need to contact Go4Less and an agent will quote you for a flight change. Please contact us as soon as possible if you decide to do so.

We recommend staying within the US during your J1 period. However, it is possible to travel outside of the US once your US Sponsor has completed the travel validation section of your DS-2019. This means you will need to post your DS-2019 to your US Sponsor to have them sign it and eturn it to you for your trip. Allow a 2-week turnaround for this.

You may only re-enter the US during your active J1 work dates which are active on your SEVIS record. Your visa may have a longer period noted but it is not valid for entry alone without a valid DS-2019/ SEVIS status. If your work period has ended you will not be allowed to re-enter the US on the J1 program and may be refused entry entirely.

Therefore, if your work period is ended you must not cross any US border. The 30-day grace period forl is for travelling within the United States only.

Important: For safety reasons, J1 participants are not permitted to travel to the Tijuana Metropolitan area in Mexico. Violation of this rule will result in termination of your J1 program.

Trips home to Ireland are restricted to a maximum of 14 days due to insurance conditions.

If you fail an exam during the Summer you must contact Go4Less to arrange a flight home to sit your exam. If you wish you can return to your J1 following your exam. If you have added Exam Failure Insurance the cost of this can be claimed from the insurance provider, minus the excess. Please note, this only covers Summer exams once the additional premium is added before the exam is sat.

If you are returning on your J1 you will need to have your DS2019 travel validated for re-entry. Contact your US Sponsor as soon as possible to arrange this. You can return home for up to 14 days for exam repeats.

Yes, but only as a tourist for a maximum of 30 days. This is known as your ‘Grace period’. You cannot work during this period. You may not leave the US and re-enter on your J1 visa during this time.

Under J1 rules you need to have at least $1000 available to your when you are arriving in the US. You will need to be able to show proof of this at immigration, we recommend printing a bank statement in case you have any access issues on your phone.

You should also consider when you will be getting paid and how much you will need to pay in expenses before your first paycheck. Do you need to pay rent for housing on arrival? You should have sufficient funds for housing, food and transportation until your first paycheck.

  • Once you arrive you should download your I-94 record, this can be done online any time after you pass through immigration.
  • In the days after your arrival, you should apply for your Social Security card as soon as possible.
  • You need to check in with your US Sponsor and confirm your address and US contact details within 4 days of arrival. You can do this through your US Sponsor online account.

Please see your Go4Less departure pack for full information on these processes.