Embassy Statement Regarding J-1 SWT Issues

U.S. Embassy Dublin

Office of Public Affairs

May 20, 2016

With the changes to the J-1 Summer Work Travel (SWT) program taking effect in 2016, the U.S. government has worked actively with applicants, the Irish government, and independent U.S. and Irish implementing institutions to ensure Irish students continue to benefit from the J-1 program.  For the 2016 season, two independent program sponsors that sponsor the majority of Irish participants, announced a global pre-placement requirement.  This policy has required all prospective J-1 participants worldwide, including those from Ireland, to provide evidence of a pre-arranged job in the United States as part of their J-1 applications.  Since February, thousands of Irish applicants have secured jobs across the United States for the 2016 season and received their J-1 visas, removing the uncertainty associated with securing accommodation and employment on the ground.

Earlier this week U.S. Embassy Dublin became aware of issues involving the processing of applications for dozens of Irish students who applied for the J-1 Summer Work and Travel (SWT) program with Travel Bug Ltd and their independent U.S. program sponsor, American Work Adventures.  We are engaging with a number of independent U.S. sponsors to ensure that affected Irish students who are eligible and qualified to participate in the J-1 program this year have every opportunity to do so.

To accommodate students who have encountered last-minute processing issues with  program sponsors, all Irish J-1 SWT applicants who apply for visas between May 23 and June 17, and whose visas are approved, will be permitted to collect their passports from the U.S. Embassy in Ballsbridge within two working days after their scheduled interviews.  Passport/visa collection will be at 2:00 p.m. and must be in person.  In a small number of visa applications, additional administrative processing may be required.  If that situation applies to any J-1 SWT applicant, U.S. Embassy Dublin will contact him/her immediately.

Since its launch in 1966 the J-1 Summer Work Travel program has welcomed 150,000 of Ireland’s best and brightest young people to the United States.  We remain committed to the continued success of the J-1 program.