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Jenza Work USA 12 months

Working holidays in the USA

Everything is bigger in America. Including the grad visas. Exclusively for Aussies and Kiwis, this grad USA visa allows you to work in the USA for up to 12 months - and stay for 14.

Fancy a yarn? 

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Already graduated? You only have 12 months from finishing your degree to do this one-off visa.

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If you can make it there

Why do a 12-month grad USA visa?

You’ve studied for years, worn the Harry Potter gown, and now a mild panic has set in. What next? This one-time visa exclusively for Aussie and Kiwi students and grads is the chance to live, work and put your job experience on the map with 12 months in the States. You can do casual or career work, in jobs from fashion to finance, and in any of the 50 states – including the one with the pineapple on top. (Aloha Hawaii. And sorry about the pizza thing). But the window to apply is small – you must have your visa approved and enter the USA within 12 months of finishing your degree.

The Jenza difference

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Roadtested experiences

Hear from travellers who’ve been there and worn the ‘I love NYC’ tee. Our roadtesters trial every JENZA experience to ensure it serves our travel community first. 

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Pre-arranged job

We can help hook you up with a seasonal hospitality job before you go – or you can find your own job related to your degree, trade or training.

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Visa sponsorship

We work out the details – providing the US sponsorship, J-1 visa assistance, medical insurance and essentials you need to start working in the USA.

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18-35 years

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Student and grad only

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12-month visa

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Apply your final year

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Pre-arranged seasonal job

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60 days to travel

$2,249

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What they said

"Every day walking outside my door I’m like, this place feels like the movies."

Savannah, JENZA roadtester

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America wants you

Work USA 12 months | $2,249

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.

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:

  • A full-time tertiary level student currently in a nationally accredited institution of higher education studying on campus, who has completed one year of study before entering the USA. OR
  • A recent graduate from full-time tertiary study who has studied on campus, and who has had their application approved and entered the USA within 12 months of completing their degree requirements (final coursework/exam).

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 paid directly to the embassy – see 'What's not included' below for the current fee.

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.

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.

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.

What's included

Everything you need to get sponsored, get your visa and get on the plane – with one-on-one support from people who’ve been.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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

  • Deposit of $200 due at the time of application
  • Final payment due once we request your DS forms (minimum 12 weeks before departure)

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. Find out 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 

Flights

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 Embassy fee

This is paid directly to the US Embassy and currently costs USD $185 (+ an additional $105 for Australia passport holders.)

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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.

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On the Job Hub

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It's off to work we go

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What the squad say  

#Team talk 

Watch me!

Everything you need to know about Work USA 12 months

Once you've finished studying, the window to apply for the J-1 visa that allows you to do this 12-month Work USA program is small. And once that window closes, it’s closed forever. (Huge pane). Work overseas oracle, visa whisperer and keeper of house plants - here's Jessie explaining the J-1 visa rules, when to apply, and what types of jobs in America you can do.

Just say 'yes'

What our Work USA roadtester had to say

"A tip that someone told me is to say 'yes' to everything. You never know where a connection might lead you - whether it’s job, or friends… it really helped open doors.”

Feel good advice from Savannah, our 2023/24 Work USA roadtester - who swapped New Zealand for a life living and working in New York. Press play for more.

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Our roadtester community

"You get to actually live in a country, get to know people and work in the field that you want to."

Binh, 2022/23 JENZA roadtester

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Who you gonna call?

Let’s talk working in America

Get some facetime with our amazing JENZA Support Squad. When they’re not posing for pool pics, they’re making your work aboard adventures happen with their endless enthusiasm and mad traveller skills. These include: parent whispering, visa geekery and the ability to pack a backpack in 30 seconds flat.  

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More ways to work the world  

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Did someone say ‘gap decade?’ 

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Privacy Policy

JENZA Travel (NZ) Ltd trading as “JENZA” and “BUNAC” in Australia and New Zealand is a company registered in New Zealand with company number 8177942 and registered address at 336 Broadway Avenue, Palmerston North, 4414, New Zealand.