This page provides guidance to students, local recruiting agencies, and U.S. sponsors for the 2021 Summer Work & Travel (SWT) Program. Due to the popularity of this program, we expect a large number of Thai students to apply again this year. The program is only open to bona fide students, so we regularly consult with the Ministry of Education and the universities to determine who is a bona fide student. We also work with U.S. sponsors, the Government of Thailand, and local recruiting agencies.
Dates and Deadlines
The U.S. Embassy Thailand is pleased to announce that we will be having two timeframes for SWT in 2021, which are from March 7th – July 7th (Spring break) and May 7th – September 7th (Summer break), depending on the academic break that the student’s university has. All students, including fourth year graduating students, must participate in the SWT timeframe that corresponds with their university’s designated breaks. Fourth year students who have finished their degree requirements but not yet graduated can choose to participate in either a spring or summer SWT program, but would need to stay within the program dates.
SWT participants must be back in class before the start of the next semester or graduation. The U.S. Embassy will only accept Certificates for Exchange Visitor Status (DS-2019 forms, which applicants require to obtain a visa) with dates that begin on or after:
- March 7th and end on or before July 7th, 2021 (Spring break) OR
- May 7th and end on or before September 7th, 2021 (Summer Break).
We expect recruiting agencies to make travel arrangements that have their students back in class on time.
We will begin interviewing for the Summer Work and Travel Program in February 2021. All appointments must be scheduled in advance. Agencies should request appointments via http://ustraveldocs.com/th as soon as they:
- have gathered all required documents, including DS-2019 forms;
- have verified students’ English, grades, and jobs; and
- have ensured that their clients’ online visa applications are complete and correct.
Students should come to the interview on time, as scheduled in the appointment system, with their documents ready as presented in the check list document (See “SWT Agency Requirements” below).
Applicant Qualification Requirements
- Applicants must be students enrolled in a full-time course of post-secondary study and actively pursuing a degree from an accredited educational institution. Imposters may be permanently banned from the U.S.
- Applicants must speak English well enough to have a conversation. If your clients do not speak sufficient English, do not schedule them for a visa interview.
- Applicants must come to the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok or U.S. Consulate in Chiang Mai for a personal interview.
- The U.S. Consulate in Chiang Mai serves SWT participants in the following 15 provinces of northern Thailand: Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Kamphaengphet, Lampang, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Nan, Petchabun, Phayao, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Phrae, Sukhothai, Tak, and Uttaradit.
- Students from other countries who study in Thailand may participate in the program.
- Thai students studying abroad should apply for visas at the U.S. Embassy in the country where they study. For example, students in Japan should apply for visas at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan.
Students must return to Thailand before the start of the next semester. Recruiters and/or sponsors who book travel for their participants should make flight reservations that return their students home to Thailand in time for the start of classes.
While U.S. immigration law permits J-1 visa holders up to 30 days to depart the United States after the conclusion of the program, it does not excuse Thai students from their obligation to return to their studies. SWT participants who return late will have a very difficult time qualifying for U.S. visas in the future.
SWT Agency Requirements
SWT recruiting agencies must comply with Thai legal requirements and must have a contractual affiliation with a U.S. sponsor.
Students or the recruiter should schedule an appointment using the online appointment system at http://www.ustraveldocs.com/th.
Students must provide the listed documents in the following order on the day of their appointment:
- A passport valid for at least six months after the date on which the applicant plans to depart the United States and which has at least two empty visa pages.
- Must upload a photo with their DS-160 online application. The photo must be taken within the last six months and glasses must be removed for the photo. Students must also bring one color photo (5×5 cm, against a light background) to their interview.
- Form DS-2019 signed by the applicant with program eligibility dates (found in block 3 of the form) between March 7th – July 7th (Spring break) or May 7th – September 7th (Summer break). We cannot accept DS-2019 forms with errors.
- Student and Exchange Visitor International System (SEVIS) fee receipt. All J-1 visa applicants with initial DS-2019 forms are required to pay the $35.00 SEVIS fee. Applicants are required to pay the SEVIS fee before visa interview. Instructions for paying the SEVIS fee can be found online at https://www.fmjfee.com.
- The applicant’s original academic transcript that was recently issued.
- Each student must check-in with his/her sponsor upon arrival in the U.S. Please use your full name as it appears on your passport in the communication.
- The student must tell the sponsor about any change in job or address. If students change jobs or housing without telling their sponsors, their program may be terminated for the J-1 Summer Work and Travel program and students will have to leave the U.S. immediately.
- The Form DS-2019 for students in Thai universities must indicate a start date no earlier than March 7th and an end date on or before July 7th, 2021 for Spring applicants, and a start date no earlier than May 7th and an end date on or before September 7th, 2021 for Summer applicants. All students can choose to participate in either a spring or summer SWT program, but must stay within the program dates.
- Students are NOT allowed to work outside the dates on the DS-2019 form, even if they are in the U.S.
- If the program start date specified in an applicant’s Form DS-2019 has passed or you believe that a student will be unable to travel in time for that date, the sponsor must have the responsible officer amend the SEVIS record to change the program start date before the students come for his/her interview.
- SWT recruiting agencies will need to schedule appointments online for each of their students using the following website: http://www.ustraveldocs.com/th. All agencies will have access to large blocks of time where many visa interview appointment slots will be available. Once all the documents are ready for your students, agencies should schedule appointments without delay. If you wait until the very end to book slots, you will likely miss out on the earlier appointment dates.
- Although we will verify student enrollment directly with universities, recruiting agencies are still responsible for verifying the student enrollment status of their applicants.
- Make sure your students speak English! Regardless of the job, they must be able to have a conversation with employers, landlords, bus drivers, store clerks, or anyone else they meet in the U.S.
***Please remind your students that the Embassy security procedures require that all visitors receive a security inspection. Each student will be allowed to deposit only one cell phone at the Embassy gate. The U.S. Embassy will not accept the storage of any other battery-operated or electronic devices.
To contact a customer service representative, please visit the GSS Contact Us page for full information or use contact information below:
- Address: 95 Wireless Road,
Bangkok 10330, Thailand
- E-mail Inquiries:
Email inquiries for both nonimmigrant and immigrant visas should be directed to: email@example.com
- Call Center representatives are available:
Monday – Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. (excluding Thai and U.S. holidays)
Local telephone: 02-105 4110; from the U.S. (703)-665-7349
Security Regulations when Visiting the Embassy or Consulate
Forbidden Items and Entry Regulations:
Embassy security procedures require that all visitors receive a security inspection. You will be allowed to check one cell phone at the Embassy gate but the US Embassy and the Embassy guards are not liable for any loss or damage to your cell phone while it is checked. You will NOT be allowed to enter the U.S. Embassy for your appointment carrying any of the following items:
- Any other battery-operated or electronic devices such as computer tablets, digital diaries, pagers, cameras, audio/video cassettes, compact discs, MP3s, floppy disks, laptops, or portable music players.
- Any oversize shoulder bags or purses.
- Any oversize handbags and travel bags, large back-packs, briefcases, or suitcases. Applicants can only carry in clear bags containing papers needed for their appointment
- Any food item (there is a coffee stand with snacks available for purchase).
- Sealed envelopes or packages.
- Cigarettes / cigars / match boxes / lighters.
- Any sharp objects such as scissors, pen knives or nail files.
- Weapons or explosive materials of any kind.
The list provided above is not exhaustive. Other items may be prohibited at the discretion of security staff. Other than the one allowed cell phone, the US Embassy will not accept the storage of any of the above prohibited items. You will have to make alternate arrangements to store these items before you enter the Embassy.
Only visa applicants with confirmed appointments will be granted access on to the Embassy compound. Accompanying persons are required to wait outside the Embassy entrance.
If you fail to follow these security requirements you may face delays or cancellations to your visit.