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Need to know / USA

What visa do I need to work in America for a year?

Everything you need to know about JENZA Work USA 12 months.

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**Once you’ve finished university and started working, working in America becomes pretty much impossible. You’d need to either get sponsored by a US company – which is hard for you and expensive for them. Or get married. (Keen to mention here that this is not official immigration advice, and you should only ever marry for love. Or for the party. Potentially even for the grown-up crockery).

However, if you’re an Aussie or Kiwi passport holder and a full-time student, then there’s a window where you can head over and work in the USA for a year. Without a job lined up. And without a company to sponsor you. Here’s everything you need to know.

What’s the visa?

The closest thing to an American working holiday visa, this unique visa is a type of J-1 visa. Unlike the 3-4 month J-1 visa required for summer camp USA or Work USA 4 months, this visa allows you to work for up to 12 months and stay for 14 – giving you an extra 60 days to travel.

Who can apply?

This visa and its conditions are exclusive to Australian and New Zealand passport holders. As well as having the Willy Wonka of passports, you must also be aged 18-35 and fall into one of the below student/grad criteria.

  • You must be a full-time tertiary-level student who is currently studying in a nationally accredited institution of higher education. You must be studying on campus (unfortunately distance or remote learning is not allowed), and you must have completed one year of study before entering the USA.

  • OR if you have already finished your degree, you have a 12-month window to take advantage of this visa. You must have your application approved and have entered the USA within 12 months of completing your degree requirements (final coursework/exam). Again, it must have been a full-time and campus-based tertiary-level course.

What work can I do?

This visa is pretty much the unicorn of the working holiday world and the envy of most other nationalities. You can do casual or career work, anywhere in the States and in most industries (restricted professions include medicine, farming, childcare, domestic help, working in a casino, driving with passengers, starting your own business, being self-employed or remote working).

You don’t need to have to have a job lined up before you go, and once you’ve arrived and found work, you can work for the same employer for the full year. So as a graduate, it’s the chance to get ahead in your field and take advantage of the professional and training opportunities the USA has to offer.

Or, if you wanted to use this visa more like a traditional working holiday visa where you fund your adventures and time there with casual work, that’s also allowed. You’ll have access to our Job Hub where you can search for seasonal and hospitality jobs, such as working in ski resorts, country clubs, hotels, bars and retail outlets.

How much can I earn?

This depends on the work you end up doing, but the earning potential is uncapped on this visa. Professional salaries are higher in the States, but so are the accommodation and living costs at the moment, especially in major cities like New York. So if you’re going over without a job, be prepared to rattle through your savings on rent and bills. Getting short-term work lined up in the service or hospitality industry through your network or the Job Hub will help take the pressure off when you arrive.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hannah Jeffery

JENZA Staff | London, UK

Our Global Brand Manager has worked in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Her best job was working on a Great Barrier Reef dive boat, and her worst was de-leafing tomatoes. She now lives in London where she tirelessly lobbies for a tomato free office and continues to not give a f* about Oxford commas.

"Once this window of opportunity closes, it’s not possible to get this one-time visa. It’s what’s known in the business as a one and done."

What jobs have previous customers done?

Sometimes, life is like a box of chocolates, and you never know what job in America you’re going to get. Other times, you get a job at Bubba Gump in Times Square. From casual roles while you find your feet, scoring a job at an architecture firm to working on photoshoots for fashion editorial commercials. Our previous customers have shown it really is the land of possibilities when it comes to what work you do.

When do I need to apply?

If you’ve already graduated, you must have your visa application approved and have entered the USA within 12 months of your final exam or coursework. Application times vary between two weeks and three months, so we advise applying as early as possible after graduating so as to not miss the eligibility window.

Do I need a sponsor to work in America?

No, you don’t need to find a US company to sponsor you on this visa. As part of the Work USA 12-month cost, we provide the sponsorship via our US partner, IENA. They provide all the necessary checks and paperwork to sponsor you to work in any role (excluding the professions above) for 12 months.

How do I apply for the visa?

Our team will check your eligibility, screen you for the J-1 visa, and start the process to sponsor you. Once we have all your sponsorship paperwork, we’ll provide all the info you need to apply for your J-1 visa, book your embassy appointment and attend your interview. We also include 13 months US medical insurance. Once you’re in the USA, IENA your sponsor, is on hand with 24/7 in-country support.

To start the application process or find out more, visit JENZA Work USA 12 months.
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Hannah_Profile_JENZA.png

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hannah Jeffery

JENZA Staff | London, UK

Our Global Brand Manager has worked in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Her best job was working on a Great Barrier Reef dive boat, and her worst was de-leafing tomatoes. She now lives in London where she tirelessly lobbies for a tomato free office and continues to not give a f* about Oxford commas.

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