J1 to F1 |The Case of Work and Travel Program | Critical How -Tos for 2019

J1 to F1 |The Case of Work and Travel Program | Critical How-Tos for 2019

In this blogpost, we will be looking at Work and Travel Program by which hundreds of thousands of university students can improve their English as a second language and work in temporary summer jobs as well. We will also be discussing how to stay in the US after Work and Travel Program by changing your status from j1 to f1. As one might know, Work and Travel is one of the Exchange Visitor Programs administered by the US Department of State. Although the primary purpose of the Work and Travel program is to develop and strengthen ties among different cultures, there is no doubt that it also serves as a valuable source to meet the seasonal labor need of the US employers. Of course for those youngsters from all around the world, the program offers a bunch of opportunities such as gaining new life experiences, enhancing their English levels, meeting new people, building networks, and ultimately traveling in the US with the pocket-money they earned after the completion of the program. Furthermore, those foreign university and college students having future plans to study and invest in the US become able to familiarize with the country and get to know about its opportunities and potentials.

Therefore it is not a coincidence that many young people who want to know about the work and travel google for phrases such as how to stay in the US after work and travel,  j1 to f1, or j1 to f1 change of status. 

Work and Travel Program in a Nutshell  

  • More than 40 sponsoring non-profit and for-profit organizations execute Work n Travel Program all over the world. US Department of State selects and authorizes them.
  • Turkey is among the program participants.
  • Applications for the intended year begin in August in the preceding year and cease in March.
  • Participants should sign an employment agreement either with the agents of  Sponsoring organizations or with the US employers they found themselves. Then they should send all required documents including these agreements to the relevant sponsoring organization.
  • At this stage, sponsoring organizations issue DS-2019 forms. DS -2019 form constitutes the essential document of  Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status (J1 Visa) and includes the outline of the program, sponsor information, and the start/end dates. After that, sponsoring organizations convey these forms to eligible participants via their agents. Upon the submission of visa documents by the applicants, the US Embassies issue  J1 Visas according to the duration of the exchange program.
  • Maximum stay period of Work and Travel program is four months and the length changes depending on countries and their holiday seasons.  The program period for the 2019 season is between May 15 and Oct 1st.
  •  Work and Travel Program allows university students to stay in the US for 30 days after the completion of the program (Grace Period). 
  • There are certain eligibility criteria. Some of them are as follows: Applicants should be between 18 and 28 years old. They also should be able to have a basic level of English that would be enough to communicate in an English speaking workplace. Besides, they should have completed at least one semester in their educational institutions successfully. 
  • Holiday resorts, hotels, restaurants, amusement parks, architecture firms, research institutions, graphic arts and media communication, advertising, electronic companies, and law firms are among the workplaces associated with Work and Travel summer jobs.
  • Of course, you should anticipate some expenses such as registration and processing fees, SEVIS and visa fees, travel costs, and pocket- money. 

What Should Summer Work and Travel 2019 Participants Do If They  Want to  Transfer From J1 to F1 Status?

 Work and Travel 2019 participants have begun to arrive in the US. As we summarized above, there would be some participants who may decide to stay in the US after the end of the program to pursue their personal goals. One group is those who aim to follow an educational program – mostly language schools- and to transfer from j1 to f1 full-time student status. If you are one of them, your course of action should be as follows:

  • First of all, you should determine the language school or other educational institution you would like to attend. Then you must contact the school and obtain the acceptance and I-20 form, which is the basic document necessary for F1 status.
  • When the above steps are taken, there are two ways you can follow to change your status from j1 to f1.

The first and more recommended way is leaving the US and applying the US Embassies for a new F1 Visa.

When the process is completed, and you enter in the US, you will have obtained your F-1 status. The most prominent advantage of this option is that it is a faster way compared to the application of change of status in the US. Furthermore, you will have a new visa which will allow you to make multiple entries to the US.

The second way is to apply for a change of status from j1 to f1 while staying in the US

Although not recommended, changing your visa status from j1 to f1 would be possible in the US. For this purpose, the applicant should submit form  i-539 with other supporting documents to the USCIS. 

The most distinguishing advantage of this option is that you can still stay in the US while the examination of the application is under process. However, the most prevalent drawback is the heavy going processing periods, which takes between six and twelve months. In case of such an arduousness, additional updates and relevant interventions to the educational program of which details are specified in the i-20 documents could be indispensable thereof. Finally, let us remind that during the whole review process applicant should remain in the US.

  • In both cases, consulting an immigration lawyer about your travel plans, application processing times, specific conditions of your ongoing visa status, expiry dates and restrictions and procedures would lessen your workload and help you avoid pitfalls. This is because all above procedures to stay in the US after Work and Travel program and to change of status from j1 to f1 are loaded with uncertainties and vaguenesses, and many circumstances are open to interpretation requiring specialized knowledge.


With exceptional knowledge and insight into the immigrant and non-immigrant visa protocols, our experienced immigration attorneys at John Onal & Associates PC are ready to help and respond to all your work and travel and j1 to f1 inquiries.

 You can follow up www.jonallaw.com website, social media accountsYoutube Channel and blogs in Turkish and English to get updated information and news about these topics.

You can also visit our office directly, e-mail us or phone.


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For English posts please click here.



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