Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers here to some of the most frequently asked questions about CICD’s Summer Work and Travel Program. If we haven’t answered your question, please contact us directly.

The Summer Work and Travel program provides foreign post-secondary students the opportunity to work and travel in the United States during their university summer vacations.

The Summer Work and Travel program lasts up to a maximum of four (4) months. Participants may not work at any other time except during the period indicated on their DS-2019 form. Extensions are not permitted beyond the 4-month maximum program duration.

No. You can only work for a host company that CICD has officially vetted and allowed you to work for. You may not transfer to a new host company or begin working for a new host company other than your original host company without CICD’s prior permission (this is also a Department of State regulation.)

Foreign nationals who are full-time college or university students in their home countries may participate in the Summer Work and Travel program only during their university’s official summer vacation. It is not possible for students to participate in this program during time periods other than their school’s summer vacations.

Universities, colleges, technical institutes and other accredited post-secondary academic institutions.

Yes. The following is a list of examples of prohibited types of jobs: Participants may not be employed as: domestic employees in U.S. households (child care, chauffeurs, gardeners, etc.), in positions that require them to invest their own monies to provide themselves with inventory for the purpose of door-to-door sales, in any employment involving any type of patient care or physical handling or manipulation of clients, driving, factory jobs, jobs that completely isolate students from American co-workers, jobs that are on the “prohibited list”, jobs that are not seasonal in nature or that don’t provide a sufficient enough “cultural component”, etc.

CICD works with its international network of partner organizations to screen and accept applications and to conduct in-person interviews with our students. These procedures help us determine your qualifications, background, needs and experience for job placement, and confirm that you meet the eligibility criteria below:

  • Student Status
    Eligible program participants must be bona fide post-secondary school students actively pursuing a degree or a full-time course of study at an accredited educational institution (such as a university). Students must be enrolled in an accredited educational institution and registered for a full-time course load during the semester immediately preceding the summer in which they want to do the Work/Travel program.
  • English-Language Proficiency
    Prospective exchange visitors must possess sufficient proficiency in the English language to participate in the Summer Work and Travel program.

CICD will provide the following information to all participants who have secured employment (are pre-placed) before their departure for the United States:

  • Job offer/Employment Verification (The name, location and contact information of the employer)
  • All contractual documents related to acceptance of paid employment in the United States
  • Cultural activity information related to your employer and region
  • Participant Handbook
  • Insurance and Health care information
  • Emergency information
  • Participant Contact Card
  • Welcome Brochure (The purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program, Home-country physical presence requirement, etc.)
  • DS-2019 Form
  • Travel and entry into the United States
  • Housing
  • Fees payable to the sponsor
  • Other costs that the exchange visitor can expect to pay (for example, living expenses) while in the United States
  • Other information which will assist exchange visitors to prepare for their stay in the United States

Orientation for exchange visitors should include, but not be limited to, information on:

  • Life and customs in the United States
  • Local community resources (e.g., public transportation, medical centers, schools, libraries, recreation centers, and banks) to the extent possible
  • Available health care, emergency assistance, and insurance coverage
  • A description of the program in which the exchange visitor is participating
  • Rules that the exchange visitors are required to follow
  • CICD’s Address and 24-hour emergency telephone number
  • Address and telephone number of the Exchange Visitor Program Office, Department of State, and a copy of the Exchange Visitor Program brochure outlining the regulations relevant to exchange visitors.

No. CICD may make a minor adjustment to the start and/or end dates on your DS-2019 Form to indicate your actual date of arrival (for example, moving both the start and end dates two days earlier or one day later) only if those dates correspond to the official vacation dates of your university in your country, and only if the total adjusted time is not more than four (4) months total. Certain countries require students to return to their home country and school by a specified date. Over staying that date can jeopardize offending an student’s immigration status and/or chance to return to the US as a tourist, on another visa or to repeat as a J-1 SWT student. Check with your SPONSOR to make sure whether any required return dates apply to you.

The US Immigration Service (USCIS) provides J-1 program participants the option of a 30-day travel period immediately following the successful completion of the working portion of their SWT programs. This is called the “Grace Period.” The grace period allows participants to travel in the U.S. and/or to prepare for and depart the United States. It is not to be used for any other purpose (including working, as well as departing the U.S. and attempting to reenter again during that grace period).

This grace period is NOT to be included as between the program start and end dates that you find on the DS-2019 Form.

During the grace period, you cannot expect to leave the USA and then return to the USA with your J-1 Summer Work and Travel Visa because that visa expires on the “end date” listed on the DS2019. Because of this, we recommend that participants desiring to travel outside the U.S. during their grace periods (e.g. to Canada, Mexico…) do so only at the end of their grace, and only if such participants have departure flights scheduled from outside the USA directly home (not via the USA for home).

This depends on the host company and the specific individual situation. This is usually allowed, but please understand that your Summer Work and Travel Program contract is with the host company, not with your friend.

Contact us immediately to discuss the situation. Students are only allowed to change jobs with prior approval from CICD. Students who break this rule will experience immediate program termination (new Department of State regulation).

If you lose your job, the first thing to do is call us immediately! CICD handles such situations on a case-by-case basis. Failure to report getting fired from you job, as well as other significant events may cause your program termination.

You cannot travel outside the USA during the 30-day grace period and expect to return to the USA during that time. However, if you do plan to travel internationally, even to somewhere as close as Canada or Mexico, you can only do so while your J-1 visa is valid, and you first need to take the following steps:

  1. Before you plan a trip outside of the United States, get written permission from your employer if you are going to miss any days of work.
  2. Check with the Embassy or Consulate of the country you want to visit, as well as your country to confirm additional visa you may need for travel to or through any countries on your trip. This should include any countries in which you might stop briefly just to change airplanes or refuel.
  3. Contact CICD at least three (3) weeks before your departure date to notify us.
  4. Upon travel approval from CICD, and significantly prior to your departure, you will need to send your DS-2019 Form to CICD to get “travel permission” signed. CICD will send the signed form back to you as quickly as possible. We suggest express mailing the document to us by UPS, FedEx or DHL, both for document safety and speed. You must sent CICD your DS2019 form together with a pre-self-addressed, pre-paid express mail envelope from UPS, FedEx or DHL. Otherwise, we will send your form via normal US Postal service.
  5. Protect at all times and do not loose your DS-2019 during your travels in and outside the USA. Replacing it is costly, and you may be denied entry back into the USA if it’s lost.

Usually. However, you must FIRST get approval from CICD. Poor performance and attitude, inappropriate behavior and activities that affect your primary job as well as what affect a second job might have on your primary job will influence CICD’s decision.

CICD ensures that Summer Work/Travel students receive appropriate pay and the required workman’s comp coverage in their jobs. Host employers are required to fairly compensate participants for their work, and “shall compensate participants with pay and benefits commensurate with those offered to their American counterparts”. CICD is also required to inform program participants about the Federal Minimum Wage requirements. For more information on Federal Minimum Wage requirements, please visit http://www.dol.gov/esa/minwage/q-a.htm for the latest and most accurate information.

Yes. All exchange visitors and their dependents, regardless of their program category, are required to have medical insurance that meets or exceeds US Department of State requirements** during their time in the U.S. on the Program. We require each participant to have insurance in effect that covers sickness or accident during the entire period of time that you participate in our program.

**Minimum coverage shall provide:

  1. Medical benefits of at least $50,000 per accident or illness
  2. Repatriation of remains in the amount of $7,500
  3. Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $10,000
  4. A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness

The insurance policy, plan, or contract that is secured to fulfill the above requirements must meet other standards specified in the Exchange Visitor Program regulations.

Exchange visitors and/or any accompanying spouse or dependents who willfully fail to maintain the insurance coverage set forth in the regulations while participating in exchange visitor programs, or who make material misrepresentations to the sponsor regarding such coverage, are deemed to be in violation of the regulations. Such a violation of program rules shall result in that participant’s immediate program termination. We must also terminate a participant’s participation if they or accompanying spouse and/or dependent fails to remain in compliance with the regulations governing insurance coverage. Program termination will result in your early departure from the U.S.A. and potential immigration consequences.

Please visit our insurance page for more information.

Yes. We will contact you at least monthly to check in and see how you are doing. If you do not respond to our repeated attempts to check in and/or communicate with you, we are required to terminate your program. CICD is required to ensure that your activities are consistent with the cultural and other intents of the program. We greatly care about you, and monitor the progress and welfare of all our participants, additionally updating your current address and telephone numbers.

Furthermore, we provide all participants with 24-hour emergency assistance that connects to a live CICD representative.

The insurance policy, plan, or contract that is secured to fulfill the above requirements must meet other standards specified in the Exchange Visitor Program regulations.

Exchange visitors and/or any accompanying spouse or dependents who willfully fail to maintain the insurance coverage set forth in the regulations while participating in exchange visitor programs, or who make material misrepresentations to the sponsor regarding such coverage, are deemed to be in violation of the regulations. Such a violation of program rules shall result in that participant’s immediate program termination. We must also terminate a participant’s participation if they or accompanying spouse and/or dependent fails to remain in compliance with the regulations governing insurance coverage. Program termination will result in your early departure from the U.S.A. and potential immigration consequences.

Please visit our insurance page for more information.

Further Information about the Exchange Visitor Program:

Purpose:
The purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program is to provide foreign nationals with opportunities to participate in educational and cultural programs in the United States and return home to share their experiences, and to encourage Americans to participate in educational and cultural programs in other countries.

The Exchange Visitor Program General Provisions:
The Exchange Visitor Program currently includes thirteen (13) different exchange program categories, of which the Summer Work/Travel program is one. Designated sponsoring organizations, such as CICD, facilitate the entry of foreign nationals into the United States for the purpose of completing the objectives of one program category. At the conclusion of their program, participants are expected to return to their home countries. Individuals interested in the Exchange Visitor Program should contact sponsors, such as CICD, that administer programs appropriate to the individual’s objectives to obtain information about their programs and about the application process.

For more information about the Exchange Visitor Program, please visit the US Department of State website: http://j1visa.state.gov/programs/summer-work-travel/