Work America

At a glance
Cost 545+
Eligibility Full time uni students
Duration Up to 4 months


We’ve tried to cover everything you need to know about Work America but if we’ve missed anything that you need to know, give us a call on 033 3999 7516 to chat to one of our experienced travel advisors or request a call back to speak to someone at a time that suits you.

Work America

What is Work America?

Work America is a Summer Work and Travel programme exclusive to university students. It allows them to work for up to 4 months in seasonal jobs anywhere in the USA over the summer period.

BUNAC will support you every step of the way: from job hunting and your visa process, to in-country support when you are in the USA. Choose between our Full Placement and Self Placement programmes to arrange your seasonal job for the summer. 

When should I apply?

Now! You can book online or by calling us on 033 3999 7516. We recommend booking early so you can space out payments, apply for as many jobs as possible and allow enough time for your visa application.  

When is the latest I can apply?

Applications for Work America 2014 will be accepted until 1st April 2014. The entire booking process takes around 8 weeks, so we cannot accept applications after this date. Apply as early as possible to allow enough time for your job hunt, payments and visa application. 

What is the difference between Full Placement and Self Placement?

Our Full Placement programme offers you a pre-arranged job and accommodation according to your preferences and experience. BUNAC will arrange everything for you, from your interview to your job placement, and all jobs come with subsidised accommodation.


Our Self Placement programme is for the more independent-minded, who prefer to go it alone. You will arrange your job yourself, with the help of BUNAC’s online Job Zone and other handy tips and resources.

If you are struggling to find a job, you can always upgrade to Full Placement at a later stage and let BUNAC do all the hard work for you!   

Are flights included in the cost?

No. Flights are booked independently, as past Work America members have preferred to fly directly to their place of work.

BUNAC’s preferred travel agent is STA Travel and they will be able to help you book your flights to and from America.

Give them a call on the BUNAC dedicated phone number 0871 468 0666 or get in touch at

You have the freedom to fly to and from whichever destination you choose in America. You must book a return flight to the US as a requirement of your visa. We strongly advise you not to book any non-transferable flight until your J-1 visa has been issued and your passport returned by the US Embassy.


What kind of jobs can I do?

You can do almost any kind of seasonal job anywhere in the States! Popular jobs past BUNACers have worked in US vacation spots, such as Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod, Long Island and Ocean City. These employers need large numbers of summer staff in positions such as: hospitality, retail, theme park attendants and country club staff. 

Where can I work?

Your visa allows you to work anywhere in the States.

Please note that large cities such as New York and Los Angeles are very expensive and past BUNACers have found it very difficult to find work there. Why not head to the surrounding areas and travel to New York on your days off? You also have 30 days to travel after your working time to visit these popular travel destinations. Long Island, New York State, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland are popular options for New York fans. 

Is accommodation included?

For Full Placement members, subsidised accommodation provided with your job. Details of this will be sent to you before your interview.

For Self Placement, some jobs on the Job Zone include accommodation, but this will depend on the individual employer. 

How much will I be paid?

Each job meets state minimum wage requirements. This means you will be paid around $7-$10 an hour, depending on the state you are working in. Your job may have tips on top of that as well, please check the job description. 

Will I be working on my own?

For Full Placement members, all our employers require large numbers of staff for the summer period, so you will be working alongside other BUNACers, as well as other international staff.

For Self Placement members, most employers on the Job Zone also have multiple vacancies, but this will depend on the individual employers. 

Can I work with my friend?

Possibly. It depends on the needs of the employer. Definitely mention in your application that you are applying together, but be clear that you are happy to work in different areas of the company. Apply to employers who are looking to hire large numbers of staff to give yourself the best chance. 

What happens if I can’t find a job?

For Full Placement members, our BUNAC team will find your job for you!

For Self Placement members, you can always upgrade to the Full Placement programme if you are struggling to find work. Otherwise, make sure you are applying for as many jobs as you can, and that you are as flexible as possible with regards to what kind of job you want to do and where in the States you want to work. Please call our BUNAC team on 033 3999 7516 if you are struggling to find work. 


Is accommodation included?

For Full Placement members, subsidised accommodation will be provided for you, along with your job.

For Self Placement members, some jobs on the Job Zone have accommodation included, however this will completely depend on the employer. Please check each job advertisement carefully, and feel free to contact the employer to ask any questions about the job and potential accommodation. 

How do I find accommodation?

Many Job Zone employers offer accommodation with the job and our Dallas office is also on-hand to help you with your accommodation search. Alternatively, you can try:

  • Local newspapers (many are available online)
  • University accommodation
  • Ask your employer for advice
  • Check out these useful websites for finding a place to live: 

If you do not pre-arrange accommodation we’d suggest booking into a hostel or motel for the first few nights when you arrive.

How much will my accommodation cost?

It varies. Participants renting accommodation from an employer can expect to pay somewhere between $50 - $100 per week, whilst those renting their own apartment can expect to pay more.


What is a J-1 Visa?

A J-1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa issued by the United States to visitors participating in programmes that promote cultural exchange. 

You will be working under a J-1 Summer Work and Travel Visa, which allows full-time university students to work in the USA for up to 4 months, during their summer holidays. This visa is designed for a cultural exchange between the USA and the participating countries, so that you can gain valuable work experience in the USA and learn more about the local culture. 

How many J-1 visas can I have in my lifetime?

If you’ve had a J-1 Visa before either through BUNAC or another organisation, you can still apply for Work America  providing you’re still eligible. 

Can I bring my partner?

Only if you partner is also eligible to apply for the J-1 Visa and he or she applies in a separate application.

Can I bring my children?


How long does the whole visa process take?

Please allow around 8 weeks from when you first book the Work America programme to having the visa in your hand. This can vary, depending on how quickly you can submit all your documents to BUNAC, and the availability of the US Embassy.

Will my visa be issued on the day of my interview?

No. The US Embassy will hold onto your passport and this will be courier back to you by BUNAC. You should assume they will have your passport for at least 2 weeks.

How long is my visa valid for?

Your visa is valid for the dates on your DS-2019, plus an additional 30 days to travel. It is not possible to extend this visa.

What is...

The DS-2019?

This is your official certificate of eligibility to apply for a J-1 visa. You need a DS-2019 to apply for a J-1 visa. Once your J-1 visa is granted, this will be stamped inside your passport but you must keep your DS-2019 with your passport at all times. One is not valid without the other.


SEVIS is a state department system which tracks holders of J-1 visas while they are in America. You MUST validate your record upon arrival in America and keep it updated if you change jobs or move in to new accommodation. This can be done easily by logging onto a website and updating your details here. Full details on validating your SEVIS record will be given once you are registered on Work America.

In America

What if I want to come home early?

Call the BUNAC USA office for advice. In America, you can reach them on 1-800 GO BUNAC (1-800-462-8622 toll free)

You must also notify CIEE if you wish to leave your job and/or leave the USA early. As your visa sponsor, they must keep your records with US Department of State fully up-to-date. Failure to notify CIEE in this situation may result in CIEE terminating your visa, and you will have to go home early. 

For how long can I travel after I finish work?

During the validity period of your visa, you can work and travel as much as you wish. Once your visa expires, you have an additional 30 days ‘grace period’ during which you may travel but not work.

Email me when Work America opens

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