Summer Work & Travel

The U.S. Embassy in Pristina encourages all Kosovar students attending university-level studies to consider participation in the Summer Work & Travel program (SWT).  In previous years, over 500 Kosovar students have travelled each summer to different cities across the United States where they experienced our people and culture firsthand.  They, in turn, share their culture and language with their host communities and provide a mutually beneficial cross-cultural exchange experience.

In addition to gaining valuable English-language practice, participants have the chance to acquire work experience in a variety of fields.  Upon completion of a work assignment in the United States, students are afforded thirty days to travel within the United States before returning home.

Profile of a Successful SWT Applicant

  • Applicants must have a good command of the English language, a strong academic record, and be outgoing and flexible.
  • Only full-time students at accredited universities/colleges are eligible to participate in SWT.
  • Repeat participants are welcomed.  Previous participation in the program, however, does not guarantee that future applications will be successful.
  • Each applicant needs to be able to show to the interviewing consul that he/she will return to Kosovo at the conclusion of the program.  First and final-year students may apply, though they may have more difficulty proving sufficient ties to Kosovo. Less than one year of university may not be deemed a sufficiently significant investment in one’s education to establish ties to Kosovo.  Similarly, students who have finished their coursework and merely need to pass their final exams to graduate may also have difficulties persuading the consular officer that they are bona-fide students with sufficient ties to Kosovo.
  • Correspondence students – as well as those attending vocational/distance learning schools and secondary schools for adults – do not qualify for the Summer Work & Travel program.
  • Although there are no formal age restrictions for participants, applicants who are not of normal student age will receive greater scrutiny.

How to Apply for SWT

Students participating in SWT will travel to the U.S. under the auspices of an accredited U.S. – based sponsor.  The U.S. sponsor is directly responsible for finding students appropriate job placements as well as for ensuring the overall success of the program.  In order to make the process more accessible to students, there are many local recruiting agencies that serve as liaisons between the U.S. sponsors and the students. The U.S. Embassy in Pristina does not endorse the use of any particular agency.  We strongly suggest that applicants research how much each agency charges applicants for their services.

Accredited local recruiting agencies:

Applying for Your Visa

Interested students should select a local agency, which will facilitate the application procedures.  Local agencies will schedule appointments for applicants in coordination with the U.S. Embassy in Pristina and assemble a complete application package (see below).  Each applicant must pay the non-refundable visa application fee of USD 160 (or its equivalent in euros) directly to the local agency and also pay a non-refundable SEVIS fee of USD 35 (For more information please visit http://www.fmjfee.com/)

  • Applicants must appear for their interview on the scheduled date at the appointed hour; applicants who submit incomplete packages or miss their appointments will be denied pursuant to 221(g) and must schedule a new interview, which may result in the loss of the opportunity to participate in the SWT program.
  • Students failing to qualify for J-1 visas will receive their passports and supplemental application materials immediately following the interview.
  • Qualifying applicants’ passports will be returned to the local agency 1-3 days after the interview. Applicants should arrange with their agency to pick-up their passports.
  • If an applicant will not be able to arrive in the U.S. in time for the beginning date of the program, as reflected in the DS-2019, the application must be suspended until the beginning date is amended in the SEVIS system.
  • Applicants should NEVER purchase tickets prior to receipt of their passport with visa.  We are unable to expedite the issuance of visas on the basis of pre-purchased tickets.

Application Package Contents:

  • Valid passport
  • Completed DS-160 Application form; The section “Briefly Describe your Duties” must contain SWT position description, wage, major at the University, year of study, date of enrollment and expected graduation date. Also, under “US Contact information” you must include the name of your U.S. employer and the place where you will be working in the U.S. (NOTE: Applicants must present the  bar-coded DS-160 confirmation sheet)
  • DS-2019 form (acceptance to a designated exchange visitor program)
  • SEVIS fee payment receipt
  • Job confirmation from U.S. employer
  • Student book (Index) and/or transcript (original)
  • Certificate of full-time student status issued by the school’s registrar
  • A photo (2 inches x 2 inches)

When You Arrive in the U.S.

  • Upon arrival, all U.S. – based sponsors are required to provide students with a copy of the U.S. Department of State’s SWT brochure and participant letter, and an email address of a dedicated contact in the Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
  • In the rare case that you encounter any difficulties during your stay, the U.S. Department of State has established a toll-free, 24-hour a day phone line to assist you with complaints or issues that have arisen: 1-866-283-9090.
  • If you would like to change your job while in the U.S., you must inform your U.S. sponsor of your desire to do so in order to ensure proper vetting of the proposed employer.
  • Most important, don’t forget to enjoy yourself!  In addition to SWT being an extremely valuable educational and work experience for all students who participate, at the end of the day this program is simply a lot of fun.

If you have any additional questions about SWT please contact us at PristinaVisas@state.gov or visit the U.S. Department of State web site at: http://j1visa.state.gov/