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Summer Work Travel Program
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Getting Ready for the United States



Form DS-2019

After CSB reviews your program application, a package containing the Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status) will be sent to your international representative. This form documents your acceptance in the program and identifies CSB as your program sponsor, it defines the purpose of the program and it states the program period, which is also the time you can legally work in the United States.

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J-1 Visa

Please contact the United States Consulate in your home country to schedule a visa interview appointment, needed in order to obtain your J-1 visa. Please ask about the specific documentation required as visa procedures vary from one United States Consulate to another. Our local representative will also help you with this process and if you encounter problems, please contact CSB.

The J-1 visa stamp in the passport is the permission given by the United Sates Consular officer to enter the United States to perform specific activities – in your case, summer work/travel. In addition, the J-1 visa is given to the participants with the understanding that at the end of the program they will return home. J-1 visa extensions are not possible.

Note: Sometimes the expiration date on your visa might be different from the end date on the Form DS-2019. The J-1 visa stamp does not determine how long you can stay – your Form DS-2019 does. Your program end date is always the end date of your Form DS-2019.

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The duration of the program

The J-1 Summer Work Travel Visa Category is designed by the United States Department of State as a program that lasts for a maximum period of 4 months. However, the dates on the Form DS-2019 may be less than 4 months. The dates on the Form DS-2019 are your program dates and they are based on the dates of your official vacation from studies and on the job offer.

You must leave the United States upon completion of the program and return home on time for the first day of school and no later than 30 (thirty) days (otherwise known as the grace period) after the end date listed on the Form DS-2019. You are not authorized to work during the grace period however you can enjoy travel opportunities, as long as you are not late for the first day of classes at your university.

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Pre-departure checklist

Before you leave your home country, please review the below checklists, as a guideline.

    Important documents – Please make a copy and keep it in a safe place.
      ✔ Airplane ticket
      ✔ Passport and copy of the passport
      ✔ Form DS-2019 and copy after the Form DS-2019
      ✔ Copies of the transcripts, medical records and prescriptions, if any
      ✔ International driver's license, if any
      ✔ Legalized copy after the birth certificate
      ✔ CSB Handbook and a Valid email address that must be checked weekly
    Things to do
      ✔ Have a medical check-up
      ✔ Contact your employer, confirm accommodation arrangements and ensure that your transportation means are known
      ✔ Check the weather at your final location and pack accordingly. Search to find out more about the community you will be living in
      ✔ Make sure you have the CSB contact information. Please remember to give a copy to your family, in case of an emergency.
    Packing
      ✔ Documents – Make sure you have the originals and a copy. Pease keep them in a place from where you can easily retrieve them.
      ✔ Clothing – Pack accordingly, enough to keep you warm or enough to protect you from the heat.
      ✔ Money – Make a budget sheet before departure and make sure you bring enough money to cover the housing cost (deposit and rent), transportation and other expenses needed for a healthy lifestyle, until your first paycheck is issued. Besides cash, other options of carrying money are Visa Travel Money, Traveler's Check and/or Credit cards
      ✔ Medicine –Prepare a basic emergency kit. If you are taking prescription medication, always bring enough medicine – the medicine should be in its original box with a clear label so it can be properly identified. If you are allergic, know the name of the medicine in English.

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Job placement

CSB requires that all participants have a job placement prior to arrival, with the exception of participants who are nationals of the Visa Waiver Program countries and have applied for the program under the Walk-in option. Your success in any American workplace depends on your flexibility, enthusiasm, and willingness to adapt, to learn, to work hard and act as a team player. Initiative, positive attitude, punctuality, kindness and smiles will never go without notice.

The program placements must be seasonal or temporary in nature and provide opportunities for regular communication and interaction with United States citizens, as well allow the opportunity to experience the United States culture during the work portion of the program. Job placements always fall into the basic skills, general category. Most participants work in the service industry, for employers such restaurants and fast-food stores, hotels and casinos, resorts, ski areas and amusement parks, mobile ice cream companies and retail stores, supermarkets and gas stations, pool management companies, etc.

CSB offers placement options at the time you are applying for the program. Please review your application form to fully understand your option.

  • CSB-placement/Full-placement
    1. Participants have a job placement before arrival, through the sponsor. CSB has made arrangements with several companies throughout the United States to allow us to fill in their positions with J1 Summer Work Travel Program participants. We will arrange basic skills, entry-level, seasonal job, much like one that a student in the United States would have during a school break. We will provide a list of jobs that will include the name of the company, its location, positions available, employment benefits and housing information. To confirm acceptance, an interview must be passed.
  • Self-placement
    1. Participants have flexibility in locating and securing a job placement before arrival, independently/on their own. Participants under this option will be required to provide CSB with a copy of their signed job form which must pass the job vetting process. This option is popular among returning participants.
  • Walk-in
    1. This option is available only to program participants who are nationals of the Visa Waiver Program countries. Participants are able to enter the United States without a pre-arranged job, and have 1 (one) week after arrival to find suitable employment and submit a signed job offer to CSB for authorization. Such participants must also prove before arrival that they have sufficient financial resources to support themselves during their period of search for employment.

Note: Prior to signing your job offer form, always read thoroughly the form provided to you, especially the details about the location, job title, wage, housing, prerequisites and other conditions of employment. If needed, please ask your international representative or CSB for clarifications. It is also in your best interest to have a copy of your job offer form with you during your stay in the United States.

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Prohibited job placements

      1) Positions that could bring notoriety or disrepute to the Exchange Visitor Program;
      2) Sales positions that require participants to purchase inventory that they must sell in order to support themselves;
      3) Domestic help positions in private homes (e.g., child care, elder care, gardener, chauffeur);
      4) As pedicab or rolling chair drivers or operators;
      5) Operators or drivers of vehicles or vessels for which drivers' licenses are required regardless of whether they carry passengers or not;
      6) Positions related to clinical care that involves patient contact;
      7) Any position in the adult entertainment industry (including, but not limited to jobs with escort services, adult book/video stores, and strip clubs);
      8) Positions requiring work hours that fall predominantly between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am;
      9) Positions declared hazardous to youth by the Secretary of Labor at Subpart E of 29 CFR part 570;
      10) Positions that require sustained physical contact with other people and/or adherence to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Universal Blood and Body Fluid Precautions guidelines (e.g., body piercing, tattooing, massage, manicure);
      11) Positions that are substantially commission-based and thus do not guarantee that participants will be paid minimum wage in accordance with federal and state standards;
      12) Positions involved in gaming and gambling that include direct participation in wagering and/or betting;
      13) Positions in chemical pest control, warehousing, catalogue/online order distribution centers;
      14) Positions with travelling fairs or itinerant concessionaires;
      15) Jobs that do not allow participants to work alongside United States citizens and interact regularly with United States citizens and to experience United States culture during the workday portion of their SWT program;
      16) With employers that fill non-seasonal or non-temporary job openings with exchange visitors with staggered vacation schedules;
      17) In positions that require licensing;
      18) In positions for which there is another specific J visa category (e.g., Camp Counselor, Trainee, Intern);
      19) In positions with staffing agencies, unless the placements meet the following three criteria:
        i. Participants must be employees of and paid by the staffing agencies
        ii. Staffing agencies must provide full-time, primary, on-site supervision of the participants
        iii. Staffing agencies must effectively control the work sites, e.g., have hands-on management responsibility for the participants
      20) Positions in the North American Industry Classification System's (NAICS) Goods-Producing Industries occupational categories industry sectors 11, 21, 23, 31-33
      numbers (set forth at http://www.bls.gov/iag/tgs/iag_index_naics.htm);
      21) Additional prohibited job placements: jobs with staffing agencies, independent contractor jobs, door to door sales jobs, mover jobs, laundry facility jobs, janitorial jobs, jobs in isolated or remote areas (exclusive of parks and resorts)

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Housing

In addition to job placement, CSB requires that all participants have housing arrangements prior to their arrival in the United States. CSB does not provide housing for the participants but will actively assist with arranging appropriate housing when needed; however most employers will provide and/or assist with housing, as indicated on the job offer form.

Note: Do not assume housing availability, always know before arrival whether it is available or not and prepare accordingly.

There are different arrangements made for housing or living accommodations. Housing options vary across the United States. Some examples of the types of housing are: apartment, private house, hotel or motel, college dormitory and/or on the employer's property. You should always expect the basics. You may be required to bring or purchase items necessary for a healthy lifestyle (for example: linens, towels, kitchen utensils and cookware). You are also responsible for all expenses associated with housing such as, but not limited to, deposit, rent, utilities, furniture, etc.

If you are placed in a site that provides and/or assists with housing, it is recommended that you use this housing facility for the duration of your program as the employer might have made a financial commitment to the housing site. Most employers will offer or arrange housing at an affordable cost, in a safe area. On the job offer, they will provide specific details about the living accommodations.

If employer housing is not available, you will be required to locate housing on your own with CSB assistance and submit a proof of the housing address to the local CSB International Representative. We suggest you ask for recommendations of housing near the job location. CSB always advises participants to arrive in groups of 2-4 to be able to temporarily share a hotel or a motel room for the first days after arrival in the United States. Alternatively, you may seek an established facility rather than an individual apartment owner. After arrival, you can then search in person for a permanent housing facility based on the below leads. Please always use caution and common sense.

    Participants should consider the following crucial aspects of finding housing:
      ✔ Budget – How much can I afford to pay, considering my income, deducting all the expected expenses?
      ✔ Lease – What is the length? If you have questions about the lease, you can call the city's Office of Landlord-tenant Affairs.
      ✔ Payment schedule – Is deposit needed? When and how much? When is the rent due?
      ✔ Utilities (heat, electricity, water, cooking gas, cable, Internet, etc.) - Are utilities included in the rent? If so, which?
      ✔ Safety of the place and neighborhood – Google Earth/Maps.
      ✔ Proximity to work, stores, public transportation, recreation facilities, etc.
      ✔ Furnished or unfurnished
Note: Tips to avoid fraud: WikiHow - Avoiding Fraudulent Housing on Craigslist
Hotpads.Com- Avoiding Housing scams
ABC.COM TV Network - Avoiding online housing scams hyperlink to

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Transportation

Participants are responsible to make arrangements and cover all the expenses of transportation while in the program, including but not limited to, arriving in/departing from the United States, going to work and traveling around the United States. If any assistance or guidance is needed, please contact CSB.

Traveling from the airport to destination - Please search for the means of transportation available before arrival in the United States. Know where you go and how will you get there. Read carefully the arrival instructions provided to you and prepare accordingly.

  • Taxi - it is convenient but expensive
  • Public transportation - it is cheap however the route must be planned ahead

Attention: Hitchhiking is illegal and NOT safe!

The participants are solely responsible arrange on site transportation and cover the expense to go to and from work. When housing within walking distance or local shopping centers is not available, you must find out what type of onsite transportation is available in your area. We recommend that participants use one of the following means of transportation, depending on distance:

    • Bicycle* (please read the safety guidelines)
    • Public transportation (bus, trolley or metro)
    • Transportation arranged by the employer (employee van)
    • Taxi ride (share the ride with friends)

    Note: Do not assume that you will be within walking distance to work or that you will be able to rely on co-workers who may have their own transportation. If so, you may find yourself unable to get to work and this may cause frustration that will further diminish the experience. The housing site has been selected based on different criteria such as cost, availability, and it is not always possible to meet them all.

    Bike safety

    If you need to ride a bicycle to work, this is not only an economical way of transportation, but it is good for the environment too. However, please keep in mind the following important tips to ensure you are safe at all times:

    • Wear a properly fitting helmet and stay visible at all times (wear bright colors)
    • Do not wear earphones, talk on the phone or text message while biking
    • Inflate tires properly and check the brakes before riding. Keep your bike in a good repair
    • If you ride during the evening or at night, make sure your bike has rear reflectors and headlight
    • Wear reflective/bright clothing during the evening and at night
    • Obey all traffic laws, signs, signals and lane markings, which are the same as the traffics laws for drivers of motor vehicles.
      • Bikes and cars drive on the right side of the road
      • Never ride against the traffic
      • Do not turn left from the right lane
      • Do not go straight in a lane marked "right-turn only"
    • Look, scan for traffic, signal and look again before lane changes or at road crossings. Use hand signals and establish eye contact with the drivers. Hand signals tell motorists and pedestrians what you intend to do. Signal as a matter of law, of courtesy and of self-protection
    • Choose the best way to turn left. There are two choices: (1) Like an automobile: Signal to move into the left turn lane and then turn left. (2) Like a pedestrian: Ride straight to the far side crosswalk. Walk your bike across
    • Stop and look in all directions before entering a street from driveways, curb, or another street
    • Keep both hands ready to brake. You may not stop in time if you brake one-handed. Always allow extra distance for stopping in the rain, since brakes are less efficient when wet
    • Expect the unexpected (for example, cars exiting driveways, cars turning during red light, road hazards such a debris, sand, ice etc.)
    • Never ride your bike on high speed limit roads (50 miles per hour or higher). Find alternate routes on Google Maps

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    Traveler's resources

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    Form DS-2019

    DS 2019 Form