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)
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.
Bridge USA – J1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program
U.S. Mission Ireland (U.S. Embassy Dublin)