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Irish-based students and graduates looking to study or work in the United States can avail of the Exchange Visitor (J) non-immigrant visa scheme. There are two major categories: the J1 Student Work and Travel Programme and the J1 Graduate / Intern (Irish Work and Travel) Programmes.


To be eligible for the J1 Student Work and Travel Programme, you must:

  • Be at least 18 and under 28 on the date of application
  • Be enrolled full-time and pursuing studies at an Irish or United Kingdom (Northern Ireland) accredited post-secondary institution
  • Have completed at least one semester (or equivalent) of study

To be eligible for the J1 Graduate / Intern Programmes, you must:

  • Be at least 18
  • Intern in a field related to your studies or academic background (area of study listed on your degree)
  • Hold an Irish passport (J1 intern applicants from Northern Ireland can use a British passport)
  • Be a full-time university student or recent graduate of a university in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland


  • J1 Student Work and Travel Programme: up to 4 months
  • J1 Graduate / Intern Programmes: 12 months (no possibility of renewal)

Application Process

Applications for both programmes involve securing sponsorship and obtaining the visa from the U.S. Embassy in Dublin or U.S. Consulate in Belfast. A list of approved sponsors can be found on the official government BridgeUSA website. You should budget for sponsorship fees (variable) and application/appointment fees payable to the American embassy or consulate. Consult the additional resources listed below for more information about applying for a J1.

Further Information

Bridge USA – J1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program

Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers

Department of Foreign Affairs

Rian J-1

Union of Students in Ireland J1 Visa Guide

U.S. Mission Ireland (U.S. Embassy Dublin)

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Page last updated on 13 September, 2023

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