When you are a young adult, you are always looking for various adventures that can benefit you physically, mentally and spiritually. A type of adventure many adolescents rely on to gain new life experiences while making a profit out of is the work and travel program in the USA.

Generally, the program is created and regulated by the US Department of State primarily for students as a secure way for them to live and work in the country, travel to the most beautiful places, meet new friends and earn some money. It basically gives students a unique opportunity not only to visit the USA, but to experience life in the country firsthand and become more than a tourist.

However, before you make your way to the land of opportunities for your summer break, it is important that you gather all the necessary paperwork for a legal stay in the country. Here is a list of all documents you need for work and travel in the USA.

Personal documents

To apply for the work and travel program, you will need to submit a few essential personal documents. These include your ID card containing your personal information, a valid passport and a school ID card with a photograph. Besides these documents that establish your identity, you may also need to submit a birth certificate to establish your employment eligibility.

Also, keep in mind that you will need to make use of certified translation services to translate your documents into English especially if you are coming from a non-English speaking country. As soon as you get your translated papers, you can then apply for a visa and look for a job in the USA.

Visa and work permits

Another important piece of document you need for your work and travel USA program is a J-1 visa. This document is the sticker stamped in your passport that allows you to enter the country legally. It is issued by a Consular Officer at a US Embassy or Consulate in your home country.

Alongside the J-1 visa, you also need a DS-2019 form which contains data about the program organizer and program duration and allows you to legally work in the US only through the dates listed in the form.

Remember that your visa isn’t valid without this form so make sure you carry it with your passport at all times during the program duration.

Health insurance

Having health insurance is also essential when you are part of the work and travel program. Whether you get into an accident during your stay or need some kind of medical services, you will need to have health insurance to cover any treatments you might undergo. This typically includes accidental cases and not teeth repairing, vision correction and inherited diseases.

It is important to note that the health insurance is only valid during the continuation of the program. You will receive your own insurance card which you should only use in times of need while informing the insurance company of its potential use to get medical services in advance.

I-94 form

The I-94 form is another important document you need which contains the information about the date of your arrival and departure from the US. Since you aren’t a US citizen, your arrival will be recorded on the border as soon as you enter the country. You will meet with a representative of the Immigration Department who will register you on the border electronically. This will also represent the date of entering the US as well as the status of your J-1 visa.

The duration will also be written on the form which will match the date on your DS-2019 form, plus 30 additional days for the traveling.

If you stay after the specified date in your I-94 form, you risk being deported and forbidden to enter the country in the future.

Final thoughts

If you want to gain new life experiences, meet new friends, travel and earn money along the way, then you should consider applying for the work and travel program in the US. This is such a unique opportunity for students who want to become independent and acquire new skills that will certainly help them in the future.

But in order to reap the most benefits of this adventure, make sure you prepare all necessary documents and submit them on time so you can get a taste of what it is like to be living and working in the USA. 

Leave a Reply