With just 7,000 slots available American embassy in Dublin advises students to apply for the summer work travel visas as soon as possible

The United States Embassy in Dublin is advising qualified students who are interested in applying for the J-1 Summer Work Travel (SWT) or Camp Counselor program in 2018 to be proactive and begin the application process as soon as possible.

160,000 students have availed of the opportunity to spend a summer working in the US since the J-1 program's inception more than 50 years ago. Many Irish people see the J-1 summer as a rite of passage .

The US Embassy in Dublin said the program “plays an extremely important role in advancing people-to-people relations between our two countries.”

Due to the popularity of the program among Irish students, the U.S. Embassy and Department of State have worked with the Summer Work & Travel U.S. sponsor agencies to secure an additional 2,600 J-1 Summer Work Travel slots, which means there will be the same number available as were allocated to Ireland last year.  For 2018, Ireland has approximately 7,000 total J-1 SWT slots allocated.

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The J-1 Summer Work and Travel program provides foreign students with an opportunity to live and work in the United States during their summer vacation from college or university and also to share their culture and ideas with people in the United States through temporary work and travel experiences.

New regulations introduced in 2016 mean that students seeking to travel and work in the US in summer 2018 need to provide evidence of a pre-arranged job in the United States as part of their application.

In a statement released on Tuesday (Nov 14) the U.S. Embassy in Dublin said “This policy has been a great improvement to the J-1 SWT program in Ireland, and ensures that students can start working as soon as they arrive in the United States.

“We recommend that both SWT and Camp Counselor prospects begin to research their options early and select a J-1 Irish Partner Agency which will best suit their needs.”

A list of organizations that recruit most of the J-1 participants from Ireland can be found at USEmbassy.gov.

The added “The State Department, including the U.S. Embassy in Dublin, is fully committed to the success of the J-1 program in Ireland.  We work with Irish government representatives and U.S. and Irish program sponsors and agencies to ensure that Irish students continue to have the opportunity to fully benefit from the J-1 Exchange Program.” 

In December 2016 Irish student received good news after the 12-month J-1 visa agreement was extended for another three years. This came as welcome news after comments made by President Donald Trump had put the US Irish visa agreement in some question.

Despite Trump, Irish win J-1 visa extension for three years https://t.co/2A3Pae5WfB pic.twitter.com/8UszJ8LCOW

— IrishCentral (@IrishCentral) December 6, 2016

Reacting at to the news, then Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said “The J-1 program is an important and valued part of Ireland’s bilateral relations with the United States.”

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Irish students planning a J-1 in America should start their application now, says US Embassy in Dublin.iStock