Host and Hire Seasonal Staff

Our Work and Travel program connects enthusiastic international university students and U.S. businesses through a commitment to cultural understanding and …
  • Overview

    Bring the world to your workplace

    Work with enthusiastic international university students to help fill your seasonal hiring needs. Designated by the U.S. Department of State, Greenheart Exchange’s Work and Travel program allows for participants from over 30 countries to work and travel throughout the U.S. for up to four months. We connect host organizations (U.S. seasonal businesses) with participants (international university students) to diversify your workplace and fulfill a commitment to cultural understanding and public diplomacy. 

    Program at a glance
    • Host organization requirements: Must have seasonal hiring needs & an interest in cultural exchange
    • Job requirements: Full-time positions (minimum of 32 hours per week)
    • Program length: Up to 4 months followed by a 30-day travel period (varies by country)
    • Cultural opportunities: Host organizationfacilitates cultural experiences for participants
    • Language skills: Participants are screened for English proficiency


    Types of seasonal businesses
    • Restaurants
    • Amusement Parks
    • Waterparks
    • Retail Stores
    • Hotels
    • Campgrounds
  • Hiring Options

    In-person hiring events for the 2021 Summer Work Travel season, including international Job Fairs and Greenheart World’s Fairs in Chicago have been cancelled, due to the coronavirus pandemic and the inherent risks of travelling and gathering in groups. We look forward to hosting you at one of our events in 2022.  

    In the meantime, Greenheart Exchange is organizing virtual hiring events for the Summer 2021 hiring season, which will be offered in addition to our normal hiring options.  

    Contact your Greenheart representative for more details or email us at 

    Job Fair Travel internationally
    Meet participants face-to-face interviews
    Hire 25 of more participants
    Experience the participants’ culture
    Volunteer with Participants, alumni and staff in the local community
    Greenheart World's Fair (Virtual Hiring)Travel to Chicago
    Conduct virtual Skype interviews with Greenheart support
    Meet Greenheart Exchange Staff & representatives from other hiring organizations
    Hiring Center OnlineHire from your office at your own pace
    Post your jobs to students from multiple countries
    Use the online hiring center to view applicant profiles
    Interact directly with participants, including scheduling virtual interviews
    Greenheart to HireGreenheart Exchange interviews and hires participants according to your hiring qualifications
    See profiles of your hired participants after hiring is completed
    Best option if you have limited time
  • Job Fairs

    In-person hiring events for the 2021 Summer Work Travel season, including international Job Fairs and Greenheart World’s Fairs in Chicago have been cancelled, due to the coronavirus pandemic and the inherent risks of travelling and gathering in groups. We look forward to hosting you at one of our events in 2022.  

    In the meantime, Greenheart Exchange is organizing virtual hiring events for the Summer 2021 hiring season, which will be offered in addition to our normal hiring options.  

    Contact your Greenheart representative for more details or email us at 

    Participate in an international Job Fair and complete your seasonal hiring through in-person interviews. This hiring option allows you to travel to another country and interview pre-screened Summer Work Travel applicants. By hiring on a Job Fair, you can explore the sights and sounds of another country and complete your hiring in just four days.

    Summer 2022 hiring event dates will be announced in fall 2021

    The employer booking form is due one month prior to the first day of the Job Fair.
  • Virtual Hiring

    In-person hiring events for the 2021 Summer Work Travel season, including international Job Fairs and Greenheart World’s Fairs in Chicago have been cancelled, due to the coronavirus pandemic and the inherent risks of travelling and gathering in groups. We look forward to hosting you at one of our events in 2022.  

    In the meantime, Greenheart Exchange is organizing virtual hiring events for the Summer 2021 hiring season, which will be offered in addition to our normal hiring options.  

    Contact your Greenheart representative for more details or email us at 

    There are two easy ways to hire virtually with Greenheart.

    1. You can arrange Skype interviews with participants from your office, or
    2. You can travel to Greenheart’s headquarters in Chicago for a Greenheart World’s Fair (GWF) where you can complete your seasonal hiring through virtual interviews managed by Greenheart.

    Contact your Greenheart representative today to sign up for virtual interviews or email  

    The employer sign-up deadline is one 1 month prior to the event date.

  • Timelines

  • Participant Availability

    Our participants come from around the world to participate in the Work and Travel program. Find countries that work best for your business by checking out program dates by country below. 

    CountryTypical Start DateTypical End Date
    ThailandMarch 7 – May 7July 7 – September 7
    Czech Republic May-20October-20
    Ukraine May-20August-20
    Dominican Republic May-20September-20

    To view the official start and end dates established by the U.S. Department of State, click here.

  • Regulations

    Department of State links
    Seasonal and Temporary Employment

    Seasonal: Employment is of a seasonal nature when the required service is tied to a certain time of year by an event or pattern and requires labor levels above and beyond existing worker levels. Summer Work Travel host organizations should generally not hire for all three (summer, winter and spring) seasons, as the intention is that placements are only with businesses that have a seasonal need, so as not to displace U.S. workers.

    Summer Work Travel host organizations are not to rely on program participants to fill year-round positions, as these positions should be filled by the U.S. workforce.

    Temporary: Employment is of a temporary nature when a host organization’s need for the duties to be performed is a one-time occurrence, a peak-load need, or an intermittent need.

    Temporary positions requested by host organizations are considered on a case-by-case basis. The host organization must be able to demonstrate why a temporary position cannot be filled by the U.S. workforce.

    Host Organization Check-Ins

    Host organizations are required to notify Greenheart Exchange when their participants arrive, do not arrive, or leave before their DS-2019 end date; when there are changes in the job conditions and about any emergency situations.

    A host organization can report to the Greenheart Exchange by logging in to your Greenheart Exchange Online (GEO) account.

    Department of State Confirmation Calls

    The Department of State sometimes contacts host organizations to confirm names of participants hosted and job details. Greenheart Exchange asks that the host organization follow these steps if you receive a call from the Department of State:

      1. Identify the caller. Only release information to the Department of State. Participant information is private, so this information may not be released without participant’s consent.
      2. Ask the caller to send you an email describing the information they are requesting. This email should come from a email address.
      3. Reply to the Department of State email. Usually they are verifying the number of participants hired and their names and job information. In the past, host organizations who did not respond to Department of State calls experienced participant visa denials.
      4. Let your Greenheart Exchange contact know if you have any questions regarding a job placement confirmation. If you don’t know who your Greenheart Exchange contact is, call our toll-free U.S. number: 1-866-684-9675.
    Prohibited Placements

    *NOTE:  All placements are subject to Greenheart Exchange approval. Some jobs that are not listed here may still be found to be inappropriate for the Summer Work Travel program. As the visa sponser, Greenheart Exchange reserves the right to prohibit any placement.

    In addition to jobs prohibited by the Department of State, Greenheart Exchange prohibits participants from working:

    • In positions in kiosks.
    • In positions with moving companies.
    • In positions with staffing agencies.
    • With third-party organizations. The participant must be hired, paid, and directly supervised by the same company.
    • With lifeguard companies that have not first completed a Greenheart Exchange questionnaire.
    • In positions that involve door-to-door or traveling sales.
    • In positions where manual labor is the primary focus, that require a high-level of skill, that present safety concerns, or that lack cultural exchange.
    • In positions with tent companies.
    • In laundry-only positions, or other positions with extensive periods of time in rotation.
    • In positions that require sustained physical contact with other people (e.g. applying henna tattoos).

    Prohibited Placements by Location:

    Greenheart Exchange no longer allows self-placed placements in:

    • The state of North Dakota
    • The Florida panhandle (e.g.Destin, Panama City Beach)
    • Harrisburg-Hershey, Pennsylvania

    Greenheart Exchange does not allow positions for any program option in the areas of:

    • Williston, Dickinson, and Watford City New Town, North Dakota
    • Hawaii
    • Baltimore, Maryland

    Although exceptions have been made in the past, self-placed and full program option placements in Detroit, Michigan are generally prohibited.

    Conditional Placements by Location:

    Placements for full program options will be considered on a case-by-case basis in the Gulf Coast areas of Louisiana and Alabama, and in the Florida panhandle from Gulf Shores, Alabama to Mexico Beach, Florida, including Panama City and Destin. To be considered by Greenheart Exchange, host organizations in these areas must provide excellent housing and extensive cultural activities for the SWT participants.

    The Department of State prohibits Summer Work Travel participants from working:

    1. In positions with host organizations that fill non-seasonal or non-temporary job openings with participants with staggered vacation schedules.
    2. In positions that could bring notoriety or disrepute to the Exchange Visitor Program.
    3. In sales positions that require participants to purchase inventory that they must sell in order to support themselves.
    4. In domestic help positions in private homes (e.g., child care, elder care, gardener, chauffeur).
    5. As pedicab or rolling chair drivers or operators.
    6. As operators or drivers of vehicles or vessels for which a driver’s license is required regardless of whether they carry passengers or not.
    7. In positions related to clinical care that involves patient contact.
    8. In any position in the adult entertainment industry including, but not limited to jobs with escort services, jobs in adult book/video stores, and jobs in strip clubs).
    9. In positions requiring any shift where hours will fall predominantly between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
    10. In positions declared hazardous to youth by the Secretary of Labor as outlined at Subpart E of 29 CFR part 570.
    11. In positions that require sustained physical contact with other people and/or adherence to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Universal Blood and Body Fluid Precautions guidelines (e.g., body piercing, tattooing, massage, manicure).
    12. In positions that are substantially commission-based and thus do not guarantee that participants will be paid minimum wage in accordance with federal and state standards.
    13. In positions involved in gaming and gambling that include direct participation in wagering and/or betting.
    14. In positions in chemical pest control, in warehousing, and at catalog/online order distribution centers.
    15. In positions with traveling fairs or itinerant concessionaires.
    16. In jobs that do not allow participants to work alongside U.S. citizens to interact regularly with U.S. citizens and to experience U.S. culture during the workday portion of their Summer Work Travel programs.
    17. In positions that require licensing.
    18. In positions for which there is another specific J category (e.g., camp counselor, intern, trainee).
    19. After November 1, 2012, in positions in the North American Industry Classification System’s (NAICS) Goods-Producing Industries occupational categories industry sectors 11, 21, 23, 31–33 numbers (set forth at
    Participant Check-Ins
    • Participants must contact Greenheart Exchange immediately upon their arrival to the U.S.
    • The arrival check-in must be done no later than 3 days after the arrival date.
    • Participants are required to validate their programs upon arrival to their Greenheart Exchange approved host organization, and no later than 7 days after the program start date.
    • Participants must also check-in with Greenheart Exchange every 30 days or by the deadlines listed in their Greenheart Online accounts.
    • Failure to complete any of these communications may result in a negative SEVIS status, requiring the participant to return home immediately.
    Housing Policies


    The Department of State places an emphasis on the safety, security, and quality of housing for Summer Work Travel participants. The following policies are provided to ensure participants are provided with appropriate housing.

    1. Housing must follow, at minimum, all local, state, and federal housing, building, and fire safety codes.
    2. Every participant must have their own bed. A bed is defined as a mattress on a bed frame or box spring. Air mattresses or mattresses directly on the floor are not acceptable.
    3. Participants must have a designated bedroom. Sleeping in a common space such as the living room is not acceptable.
    4. Employment must not be contingent on the participant living in host organization-provided housing.
    5. There must be affordable and safe transportation to and from work.
    6. Participants must submit their housing information to Greenheart Exchange no later than 30 days before their DS-2019 start date.



    The following guidelines are provided to help avoid some common issues.

    1. Provide a lease or rental agreement that clearly defines rules and regulations.
    2. Inform participants about how security deposits are managed.
    3. Conduct an initial housing inspection with the participant, documenting issues with participants when they arrive.
    4. Basic amenities, such as a grocery store and bank should be easily accessible from participant housing.
    5. Housing providers should offer short-term leases for 3 to 4 months.
    6. Monthly rent should be no more than 33% of a participant’s monthly gross income.

    The above is subject to change based on regulatory updates from the Department of State and internal Greenheart Exchange policies.

    If you have any questions concerning the information provided, please contact your host organization contact toll-free at 1-866-684-9675.

  • FAQs

    How much does it cost to hire international participants?

    Nothing! Our Work and Travel Program is a free service to employers.

    When are international participants available?

    We have international participants that can meet all of your seasonal needs. Our summer participants arrive between May and July and can often work until October 1.

    Winter participants typically arrive Mid-November through January, and can work until March or April.

    What countries do your Work and Travel participants come from?

    Our participants come from more than 30 countries. Summer participants come from countries in the  Northern Hemisphere; winter participants come from countries in the Southern Hemisphere.

    Do all Work and Travel participants speak English?

    Yes. The level of English ability ranges from basic to fluent. You will receive an assessment of each participant’s English abilities before hiring them. This assessment will include a test score as well as interviewer’s comments on the participant.

    Can a participant get more than one job?

    The Summer Work Travel visa allows participants to work at more than one job. However, we explain to participants that their primary commitment is to their initial, approved employer. If they are interested in working another job, we ask that they discuss this with you.

    Can my participants quit their Job?

    All Summer Work Travel participants are employees-at-will and can leave their employment at any time. The Department of State regulations state that neither employers nor sponsors can create barriers if participants want to leave. If one of your participants is asking to leave early, please reach out to your Greenheart contact so that we can personally speak to the participant and highly encourage them to stay through the remainder of the program.

    What should I pay my international participants?

    International participants must be paid the same as an American employee doing the same job, while adhering to state minimum wage laws.

    Am I required to provide housing?

    Host organizations working with Greenheart Exchange are now required to arrange or provide affordable housing in close proximity to the work site. For questions about this, please reach out to your Greenheart Exchange contact.

    Are Work and Travel participants exempt from paying taxes?

    No. All participants are required to pay federal, state and local taxes (if applicable). While participants are all university students in their home countries, the IRS does not consider them students while they are in the U.S. For tax purposes, Work and Travel participants are considered non-resident aliens and must file a tax return. Participants are often eligible for a refund at the end of the fiscal year.

    Do I have to provide participants with a W-2 Form?

    Yes. W-2 forms should be mailed to participants in their home countries as early as possible. Ask your participants to give you a self-addressed envelope when they are filling out their W-4. This will help ensure you have their correct international address when it is time to send their W-2.

    Do my international participants have health insurance?

    Yes, all Greenheart Exchange participants have health insurance during their entire program (the dates listed on their DS 2019 form). Please note that if your participants are interested in traveling after they finish working, they will need to purchase additional insurance either from us or from another insurance company.

    What if I need help or have questions during the season?

    Please call our office at 1-866-684-9675. Our office hours are 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday. There is also a 24-hour emergency assistance line for employers and program participants. The emergency number is 1-855-767-5642.

    Host organizations can also always call or email their Greenheart contact.

  • Blog