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What is the Summer Work & Travel Exchange Visitor Program?

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

How long does the Summer Work & Travel Program last?

The Summer Work/Travel program is a four-month program. Program dates entered in block 3 of Form DS-2019 define the program duration, a period of time up to but not exceeding four months. Participants may not work at any other time except during the period indicated on Form DS-2019. Extensions are not permitted.

May participants work beyond the program end date if they enter the United States after the start date printed on the DS-2019 form?

If participants enter the United States after the start date stated on their DS-2019 forms, an amended DS-2019 form to correct the program dates may be issued by the sponsor. The adjusted (new) start date is the date of entry indicated by the INS stamp on the DS-2019 form. This amendment is not an extension: the adjusted end date may not exceed four months from the date of entry. Keep in mind that this 4-month period must be concurrent with the student's summer vacation, and may not extend beyond the first day of the following term at the college or university at which the student is enrolled for courses.

What is the 30-Day Grace Period?

The US Immigration Service (USCIS) provides all program participants a 30-day travel status period that follows the successful completion of their program. This is called the “Grace Period.” This period is NOT to be included in the program dates entered on the DS-2019 form. 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 departing and reentering the U.S. during that period).

Program participants who travel beyond the boundaries of the United States during the grace period may not be permitted by the USCIS to reenter as they are no longer in valid status during this time. Participants who have interests in visiting either Canada or Mexico at the end of their stay should be prepared to return directly home from either country. Alternatively, according to the USCIS, they may return to their U.S. exit port in transit, as TROV (transit without visa), for the purpose of return travel to their home country. More information on this procedure may be obtained from the USCIS directly.

When may students participate in a Summer Work/Travel program?

Foreign nationals who are full-time college or university students in their home countries may participate in the Summer Work/Travel program only during their summer vacation. It is inappropriate for students to participate in this program during time periods other than their summer vacations.

How do sponsors screen and select program participants?

Sponsors are required to conduct a personal interview, and they must ensure that the program is suitable to their participants' background, needs and experience. Sponsors must also ensure that participants meet the eligibility criteria defined 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 also be enrolled in an accredited educational institution and registered for a full-time course load for the semester following their participation in a summer work/travel program.

English-Language Proficiency
Prospective exchange visitors must possess sufficient proficiency in the English language to participate in their SWT programs.

Are Summer Work & Travel Program participants required to have medical insurance?

Yes. In fact, all exchange visitors and their dependents, regardless of their program category are required to have medical insurance. Sponsors shall require each exchange visitor to have insurance in effect that covers the exchange visitor for sickness or accident during the entire period of time that an exchange visitor participates in the sponsor's exchange visitor 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 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 and are subject to termination from the program. Sponsors shall terminate an exchange visitor's participation if the exchange visitor or accompanying spouse and/or dependents fail to remain in compliance with the regulations governing insurance coverage.

Are sponsors required to provide orientation materials and sessions to their participants?

Sponsors are required to provide both pre-arrival information and an orientation session to all summer work/travel program participants. The regulations distinguish between participants who enter the United States with prearranged employment and those who enter without pre-placement. The requisite pre-arrival materials for each group are described below. Requirements for the arrival orientation follow.

What information should program participants receive before they leave for the United States (Pre-arrival Information)?

The following information must be provided to participants who have secured employment (are pre-placed) before their departure for the United States:

· The name and location of the employer.
· All contractual obligations related to acceptance of paid employment in the US.

ALL participants are to receive the following information before their departure for the U.S.:
  1. The purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program
  2. Home-country physical presence requirement
  3. Travel and entry into the United States
  4. Housing
  5. Fees payable to the sponsor
  6. Other costs that the exchange visitor will likely incur (e.g., living expenses) while in the United States
  7. Health care and insurance
  8. Other information which will assist exchange visitors to prepare for their stay in the United States


What information is included in the orientation session once participants arrive in the United States (Orientation)?

Program regulations require sponsors to offer appropriate orientation for all exchange visitors. Orientation shall 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.

· Address of the sponsor and the name and telephone number of the
responsible officer.

· 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 the exchange visitors.


Are there any restrictions on the kind of employment a program participant may hold?

Yes. Participants may not be employed as domestic employees in U.S. households or in positions that require them to invest their own money to provide themselves with inventory for the purpose of door-to-door sales.

How are participants remunerated?

Sponsors are to ensure that Summer Work/Travel participants receive the same pay and benefits as U.S. citizens in the same or similar positions, and are to inform program participants about the Federal Minimum Wage requirements: http://www.dol.gov/esa/minwage/q-a.htm.

Are participants monitored?

Sponsors are required to ensure that the activity in which their participants are engaged is consistent with the category and activities listed on the exchange visitor's Form DS-2019. Sponsors are also to monitor the progress and welfare of their participants, as well as maintain their current addresses and telephone numbers.

Sponsors must provide to all participants telephone numbers through which they may have 24-hour immediate contact with their organization. Sponsors also are required to provide appropriate assistance to program participants on an as-needed emergency basis.

Further Information about the Exchange Visitor Program:


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