Summer Work and Travel Program: Frequently Asked Questions
Who can apply for the program?
Students enrolled full-time at an accredited university. A three-year university is acceptable as long as it is accredited. SWT is a program for university students; therefore, only people who are students enrolled full-time at the time of application may participate.
Are students enrolled in a (2 year) master's program eligible to participate in SWT?
Yes, if they are full-time students and pursuing a degree from an accredited educational institution.
What about Thai students studying in China?
All foreign students studying in China may apply at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing or at a U.S. Consulate there.
How does a student qualify for the SWT program?
In addition to good academic standing and English ability, SWT applicants must convince the visa officer that they will not remain in the United States at the end of their SWT program. Consular officers may ask about a student’s family or financial situation as part of the visa interview. Students must also demonstrate sufficient English and job related skills.
What should local recruiters do if they have any questions for schedule their visa appointments?
What should applicants bring to the visa interview?
Students should bring all required documents for their visa category. If a student was ever arrested, he/she should bring a copy of the police and court record, no matter how the case was resolved.
What if a student was arrested, but charges were dismissed, or the student was found not guilty, or it was all a big misunderstanding? How should the student answer the question on the application about arrests?
The application asks, “Have you ever been arrested?” Answer it correctly, and bring your police and court record, no matter how the case was resolved.
What if a student has family members in the U.S. but doesn't keep in contact with them?
The application asks, “Do you have any family members in the U.S.?” Answer it correctly, regardless of whether you stay in touch with them.
How do we pick up the passports for students who obtain a visa?
What do the program start and end dates on my ds-2019 mean?
The program start and end dates indicate when a student may begin work and when she must stop working. A student may begin working at any point on or after the program start date, but must end her work by the end date of the program.
If a student works beyond the program date, she may not be able to participate in the program in future years.
Can I switch jobs once I am in the United States?
Please check with your sponsoring agency before making any changes in your employment. If you change employment without the permission of your sponsoring agency, your status in the program may be terminated.
If your program is terminated, you must leave the United States immediately.
What if I have a complaint about the sponsoring agency or my employer in the United States?
You may register complaints with the Department of State at email@example.com and/or 1-866-283-9090; fax (202) 203-5087
However, your U.S. sponsoring organization has primary responsibility for your program. If you have a complaint about your employer, you should first contact your sponsor for assistance.
Contact information for your sponsor can be found in Box #2 of your Form DS-2019.
How long can SWT program participants work and travel in the United States?
SWT program regulations limit participation in the program to four months. Program participants should not enter the United States earlier than 30 days before the program start date on the DS-2019 form.
They should return to Thailand and be in the universities before their classes resume.
But isn’t there a grace period that allows J-1 visa holders to travel in the United States up to 30 days beyond the end date on the DS-2019 form?
The end date on the DS-2019 form is the last day a person can WORK in the United States. To ensure that the SWT program does not interfere with university classes and that students do not work past the authorized date, we ask all SWT students to be back before their universities start the new semester.
We take this very seriously and students who remain in the U.S. beyond 30 days after the program end date may have a difficult time obtaining another visa in the future, even if they do not exceed their authorized stay.