Finishing your degree? You have 12 months to enter the USA!
Everything is bigger in America. Including the grad visas. Exclusively for Aussies and Kiwis, this student and grad USA visa allows you to work for up to 12 months.
Fancy a yarn?
What she said
"You get to actually live in a country, get to know people and work in the field that you want to."
Binh, JENZA roadtester
America wants you
We provide the expert advice, US sponsorship and J-1 visa assistance to work for a year in America – with the option of a pre-arranged seasonal job to help ease into things when you land.
If this JENZA experience was a state, it would be Colorado. Pretty independent. We sort your eligibility screening, sponsorship, visa documentation and 13 months' medical insurance to work in America. Most travellers then choose to independently enter the job market when they arrive – sourcing jobs related to their degree or profession. Equally, if you’d rather have something casual lined up, we’re here for it. Our working holiday employers are mainly in the hospitality industry – so it’s a great way to earn money, meet people and settle into American life.
About the visa
Who and for how long
This is the mothership of the J-1 visa family. Unlike the four-month J1 visa for summer camp and ski seasons, this student and grad USA visa allows you to work for up to 12 months and stay for 14. When you apply, you’ll select a start date that will be printed on your work permit, and you can enter the USA up to 30 days before and after to travel.
You must be an Australia or New Zealand passport holder, be aged 18-35, and either be:
In order to apply for your visa, you need to have a US sponsor. That’s where JENZA and our US partner IENA (our trusted sponsor in America) come in to provide all the necessary checks and paperwork.
The J-1 visa consists of an online application and in-person visa appointment at the US Embassy or Consulate in your home country. The visa cost is currently USD $160, plus an additional $105 reciprocity fee for Australian passport holders. Your visa fee is paid directly to the embassy.
It can take anywhere between two weeks and three months to get your visa approved. We advise applying as soon as possible to ensure you don’t miss the eligibility window.
Make it work
where and what you can do
The ability to move to America without a job lined up is a one-time opportunity. You can also work for the same US employer for the full 12 months, giving you the chance to make your mark – learning from leaders in your field, building your network and putting your resume on the map.
Aside from a few restricted professions (including the medical profession, farming, childcare, domestic help, working in a casino, driving with passengers, starting your own business or being self-employed) you can work in any industry.
If you’re looking to advance your career and find your own job, your package will be negotiated directly with your employer and so your earning potential will be uncapped.
If you're looking to do casual work, the minimum wage differs per state, from USD $7.25 to $15.74 an hour. Working in hospitality can reap lucrative rewards in tips, but be aware that some states are legally allowed to use tip money to make up staff wages.
How it works
the application process
1. Apply online First, check you’re eligible for a J-1 visa in the tab above, pay your deposit, and wait for us to get in touch to arrange your pre-departure screening and initial interview. This is a US sponsorship requirement where we assess your eligibility for the J-1 program, take you through the visa requirements and find out more about why you want to work and travel in the USA
2. Sponsorship application We’ll start the sponsorship process to secure your DS2019 form (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor status) which is needed to apply for your visa. This can take up to eight weeks. We’ll then guide you through the J-1 visa application process.
3. Embassy interview We’ll help you arrange and prepare for your in-person embassy interview. Wait times for appointments vary depending on the embassy or consulate you are visiting. You can check wait times here. Be prepared for them to keep your passport for around two weeks. Once approved, you can collect your passport or have it couriered – depending on what you’ve arranged.
4. Land a job (optional) A pre-arranged job isn’t a condition of this visa, but if you’d rather have something lined up while you find your feet, we’ll set you up on the JENZA Job Hub where you can search, apply and interview via video for pre-vetted casual and seasonal jobs.
5. Living room dance Virtual high fives with the team. We run a pre-departure call to answer all your questions. Plus, loop you up with other travellers in the States via our JENZA Discord group chats.
US sponsorship and visa assistance
Sponsorship A large part of your program cost goes towards providing the sponsorship you need to work in the States. Together with our US partner, we do all the checks and provide all the paperwork you need to work in America. We also include your SEVIS government fee.
Visa Unfortunately, the US government doesn’t allow us to apply for your J-1 visa on your behalf. However, we’re with you every step of the way – with all the guidance, forms and prep you need to apply for your visa and nail your embassy interview.
Pre-arranged working holiday job
If you want the security of a job before you go, once you’ve paid your deposit, you can start applying for jobs on the JENZA Job Hub.
Most jobs are in the hospitality industry, working as servers, chefs, baristas, front of house and instructors in hostels, country clubs and ski resorts. You’ll have access to the Job Hub for the whole time you’re away.
If you're going out there to pursue a specific job or career, you can independently apply for jobs once your sponsorship is approved either before you go or when you arrive.
Expert advice from people who’ve been
The J-1 is a cultural exchange visa, so is designed for international graduates to experience all the opportunities America has to offer. Part of your visa requirement is a pre-departure screening call with us to find out why you want to work in the USA, what type of work you plan to do, and what cultural experiences you’re looking forward to. This allows us to proceed with your sponsorship application.
Our JENZA Support Squad have all worked the world, so can give you firsthand advice on moving abroad. As well as one-on-one calls and a sponsor handbook, we run a pre-departure session to go through all your questions and give advice on how to get set up with work and accommodation when you arrive.
24/7 support from our US sponsor
The joy of JENZA’s Work USA 12 months is that it’s an independent and flexible working holiday program – where you can work and live anywhere in the States. This makes the kind of arrival nights and welcome week you’d usually expect to see with JENZA difficult to do. We also find the majority of our grads go straight into Airbnbs or short-term lets.
However, you’re not left hanging. Your US sponsor is there with 24/7 emergency support while you’re away. Plus, your JENZA Support Squad is back home if you need us.
If you’ve pre-arranged a hospitality job with one of our working holiday employers, this may also contain free or subsidised staff accommodation – please check the job description.
13 months' medical insurance, SIM and more
We include 13 months' medical insurance to cover your 12-month work visa, plus a 30 days grace period to travel. If you're planning to stay for the full 14 months of your J-1 visa, we can extend your medical insurance by a month for USD $90 before you depart.
We also include a SIM card to stay in touch, and our US sponsor will provide guidance on how to sort your Social Security number and US bank account. (If required).
Plus, these JENZA community perks
Free (or close to free) stuff Our favourite F word. Score hundreds of overseas discounts with our virtual JENZA X IYTC card.
Earn extra cash Shot it? Share it. We pay for blogs, vlogs, images and videos. DM us on Insta and send us a pitch.
Ask an alumni Hear from people who've been. We try to have an alumni on every pre-departure call to answer all your questions.
Find a friend Meet people like you. Connect with travellers arriving at the same time on our JENZA Discord group chats.
Book now pay later
About our pricing Our mission is to make working abroad more accessible. Meaning we do everything we can pay our team, support our partners and make a profit – without screwing over the people who matter. Read about how our pricing works and the people involved in making your JENZA happen.
We also walk the walk, donating 5% of profits to our overseas scholarship fund.
What’s not included
We don’t recommend booking flights until your visa is approved.
Travel insurance (Work USA 12m)
We include 13 months' medical insurance. If you are staying for the full 14 months of your visa, we can extend this for USD $90. You must also take out comprehensive travel insurance to cover against other parts of your trip. For example, flight delays, cancellation and curtailment, personal belongings, legal costs, adventure sports, and more.
Support funds (Work USA 12m)
You may be asked to show proof of support funds. These are USD $1,000 with a pre-arranged job and $2,000 without.
US visa fee
This is paid directly to the US Embassy and currently costs USD $160 (+ an additional $105 for Australia passport holders.)
The job lot
Work in 50 states
Work as a researcher in Alaska, a model in New York or a techie in San Fran. This grad USA visa gives you the freedom to follow your career dreams, learn from the best, and experience every opportunity America has to offer.
What the squad say
Travel you can trust
Our Extra Mile Promise
Every JENZA experience has been shaped by our Youth Advisory Panel, roadtested by our travellers, and backed by 60+ years of work abroad expertise. But if we still don’t rock your world, we’ll refund the part of your JENZA program you’re not happy with. T&Cs apply