VšĮ Pasaulio lietuvių praktikos ir studijų užsienyje centras
Work and Travel! Darbo praktikos, studijos JAV ir kitose šalyse

 Work and Travel USA program
Information in English

Foreign (non-Lithuanian) citizens, studying in Lithuania (university or college, for a degree, Full-Time) are welcome to apply to our Center for "Work and Travel USA" (WT) program for Summer 2020.
Note: please read below for Eligibility Criteria.

The U.S. Summer Work Travel (Work and Travel USA) J-1 visa program is one of the major Exchange Visitor Programs carried out pursuant to the U.S. Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961. Its purpose is to enhance understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through educational and cultural exchanges. Participants during several months on program have opportunities to get to know about American culture, traditions, open society principles, see and get to know America “from inside”. Participant‘s status allows to be employed legally in USA for up to 4 months during summer vacation season, in order to defray (mostly or at least partially) expenses which participants incur (program, flights, accommodation, food, transportation, cultural events, travel, etc.). "Work and Travel USA" (WT) program is worth to participate for students, at least once per life. It is the most popular cultural exchange and work experience program for students from many countries of the world.

The U.S. J-1 visa Exchange Visitor programs are strictly regulated by the U.S. Department of State (DoS). DoS designates the appropriate U.S. organizations (which meet the obligatory criteria and comply with DoS regulations) to be program sponsors - granting the right to conduct pogram and be responsible for participants (whom sponsor accepts) for the duration of program. Most sponsors are the private sector non-profit non-governmental organizations. In order sponsor can run the program with appropriate offices, staff and communications, the program fees are applied for participants. Program fee must include the apropriate insurance meeting or exceeding the standards set by DoS. There is also an additional obligatory U.S. Government fee for Student and Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS). It is good that for WT participants U.S. Government apply significantly discounted SEVIS fee of just 35 U.S. dollars (USD).  

Program sponsor provides insurance (included into program fee) for up to 3 - 4 months to WT participants. Sponsor provides a telephone line (usually toll-free) to contact sponsor (during business hours) on actual questions during program. Sponsor also provides a toll-free emergency telephone line (24 hours, 7 days a week) to contact sponsor in emergency case.

Our Center cooperates with several WT program sponsors. Some sponsors however accept applications only from Lithuanian citizens, so for international students the options available are (partialy) less.

Eligibility Criteria for Work and Travel USA summer 2020 program applicants {to apply for J-1 visa at U.S. Embassy in Lithuania}
a) Full-Time students (bachelor or master)
at university or college on NOT-graduating year (students from ALL universities and colleges in Lithuania are eligible, except of European Humanities University / EHU);
b) 18 – 25 years old
- bachelor studies, up to 28 years old - master / consecutive studies;
c) Speaking and understanding English at least on Upper Intermediate level.
d) Additional requirements for students citizens of
non European Union (non-EU) countries:
     d-1) studying in Lithuania
at least for the 2nd year (we may not be able to register 1st year Bachelor students Non-EU country citizens for interview to U.S. Embassy in Lithuania; we should be able to accept applications to WT program and register for interview to U.S. Embassy in Lithuania 1st year Master students, even if it is their 1st year of studies in Lithuania).
    d-2) during interview at U.S. Embassy (in Spring) student must provide a proof of payment upfront for the next Autumn / Fall semester Tuition to their university / college in Lithuania;
     d-3) if student's Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) in Lithuania expires in August - September, student must have during interview at U.S. Embassy (in Spring) also the proof/s of application (started) for the TRP extension for the next academic year.
Students who are citizens of any African or Middle East country and meet the requirements above, will have to apply for a J-1 visa on the regular basis. I.e., after our Center gets the obligatory DS-2019 form from sponsor, we provide directives about the U.S. visa application, but student herself / himself gets the appointment for interview at U.S. Embassy in Vilnius, and brings all her / his documents to Embassy on the appointed interview date. It is a new (released mid-November 2019) directive from the U.S. Embassy in Vilnius for Work and Travel USA 2020 applicants.
    It is recommended that student’s immediate family member/s (Mother, Father) should not live / reside in USA currently and / or should not have spent in USA prolonged period/s (several months, year/s) on tourist visa (except of a reasonable business trip / studies period). 

Two options of WT program:
    WT-Self“ (Self Placement / Self-Arranged / Independent) option – if student gets the employment offer by his / her direct communication with the U.S. employer - host company {Notes: offer must be on the standard form (provided by our Center); offer and host company must meet criteria set by U.S. DoS for WT program; offer must be re-confirmed directly to sponsor - by online (signature) and by phone}, including employers from the large list of U.S. companies available on our Center Clients‘ Sector, but not including U.S. companies which are accepting / recruiting via  "WT-Premium" option.
    „WT-Premium“ (Premium / Job Placement / Full Placement) program option - student gets the employment offer from the U.S. employer via our Center's partner in USA (online system, Skype interview, etc.). Assistance in obtaining employment offer is included into program fee. Please see the list of employers potential to recruit our Center applicants on WT-Premium program option - at our site page: http://lwc-wt.lt/wtusa/jobs/ .

WT 2020 program fees*: 
    WT-Self option program fee: from 35 EUR + 755 USD;
   WT-Premium option program fee: from 135 EUR + 900 USD
    SEVIS fee 35 USD {payable via our Center, altogether with major (USD) part of program fee}.
   U.S. Visa fee 160 USD {payable at the bank office (in Lithuania) to the account of U.S. authorities, in Euros (in cash only), equivalent (re)updated by U.S. authorities every few days}.

Registration at our Center is completed after student:
a) provides a proof of Full-Time student status (student ID, university / college certificate);
b) during interview with our staff  proves sufficient English and suitability for WT program;
c) signs the WT pogram Applicant / Participant Agreement with our Center;
d) pays to Center the first part of program fee
35 EUR
   20 USD discount possible from the program fee for those students who already took part at WT program in USA (via / with any organization / sponsor) from the program fees indicated above.  
   "WT-Self" option program fee depends also on the date when application set (including program fee and SEVIS fee) is complete.
   "WT-Premium" actual program fee applied depends on our partners in USA. 135 EUR are payable in 2 increments: 35 EUR - with initial registration for program at our Center and 100 EUR - if / before registering for "WT-Premium" program option.
   Program fee includes insurance (provided by program sponsor): some sponsors - up to 4 months (fee supplement for additional insurance coverage period up to 1 month extra - from 50 USD); some sponsors - up to 3 months (fee supplement due for additional insurance coverage period, e.g.: 23 USD - for up to 2 weeks, 46 USD - for up to 1 month).

   SEVIS fee and Visa fee are subject to update by the U.S. authorities.
   The annual numbers of WT participants are strictly limited by the U.S. DoS.
   The numbers of WT participants are strictly limted, WT is very popular in many countries, so it is worth to apply as early as posible, in order to secure a place on the program. "WT-Self" major allocations are to be filled over January.

It is reasonable to apply earlier - advantages:
     better opportunities to secure a place on the program;
     to have more time for communication to U.S. employers (for WT-Self option);
     to get U.S. visa earlier,
     to buy flight tickets to USA earlier – most likely less expensive.

During the most popular summer tourism period in USA (May - September, especially July – August and up to U.S. Labor Day – first Monday in September) plenty of seasonal jobs (especially in seasonal resorts) are available in hotels, casino resorts, shops, cafes, ice-cream, confectionary sales, souvenir shops, amusement parks, etc. U.S. employers (at least those who know WT program from previous year/s) are common to hire foreign students for seasonal work and can decide promptly (based on communication with student just by email, Skype, Facebook).

Salary in USA for WT participants must be on an hourly rate and not less than the U.S. Federal or State minimum hourly rate. For overtime (for work hours more than 40 hours per week) some companies are paying at a 1.5 times larger rate (though some companies are paying the same rate for overtime hours also – it depends on U.S. / state law). In tipped positions (e.g., waiter / waitress), hourly pay rate is less (it may be just some 2.5 – 5 USD/hour), but the tips usually exceed the difference over minimal wage rate. 

Participants are responsible for their food, accommodation and daily transportation expenses in U.S. Some employers / host companies arrange accommodation (some – deducting accordingly from paychecks), some employers assist on accommodation (contacts, reference), some participants find accommodation on their own. For some U.S. locations (popular and / or expensive vacation destinations, etc.) sponsor/s require that host companies must arrange accommodation for WT participants (otherwise offer will NOT be approved by sponsor – applicant must promptly get employment offer from another host company and / or from other U.S. location). 

Students who work in cafes, fast food restaurants may get some discounts for meals, at some companies students get one meal per work-shift for free. Salary in most U.S. companies is paid every two weeks. 

WT participant must bring to USA not less than the minimum of money to support him/her until first paycheck received from employer. Sponsor usually request that participants must have at least 800 USD upon arrival to USA at participant‘s disposition.

WT program participant’s status allows student a possibility to work even for 2 host companies at the same period. You can find a second job when you are in USA, while already working for your major employer (pre-approved by program sponsor, usually before getting visa). If you see the note “Hiring” or “Help Wanted” on the company premises, you are welcome to come-in and express your interest for employment. If you want to work in a second job, you must get approval from program sponsor. If in your major job you get many overtime hours, there may be no need to look for a second job. 

If WT participant has some trouble with his/her employer in U.S., s/he must inform program sponsor. If WT participant wants to change his/her major (approved by sponsor, usually before getting J-1 visa / coming to USA) employer, s/he must in advance discuss this opportunity with program sponsor and await for sponsor‘s decision (approval or not).

After finishing employment period, most WT participants travel in the USA some days or week/s: airplane, bus/coach, train, car, buying a weekly coach ticket / pass which allows to choose the route and time of travel (possibility to get out in some stop and continue your travel the next day/s). Some students visit also neighboring countries (Canada, Mexico, Carribean cruise) but for travel abroad it is obligatory to plan in advance: getting program sponsor’s additional signature on DS-2019 form original (students need to courier-mail their DS-2019 to sponsor a few weeks in advance, in order to get back their signed DS-2019 before departure from U.S.); entry visa to that country/ies; to return back to U.S. from abroad within J-1 visa validity dates.

U.S. Embassy in Vilnius, Lithuania has a very positive attitude to "Work and Travel USA" program. Nearly 100 % of WT program applicants Lithuanian citizens were successfuly getting J-1 visa for WT program at U.S. Embassy in Vilnius. For non-European Union citizens, WT program J-1 visa issue rate at U.S. Embassy in Vilnius recent years was a bit lower but quite good.

If eligible and interested, you are welcome to apply - register with our Center (http://lwc-wt.lt/contact/):
Vilnius office - students studying in Vilnius;
Kaunas office - students studying in Kaunas
Kaunas office - students studying in other cities in Lithuania (please email first to wt@lwc-wt.lt , to start and get directives for registration online).