Work and Travel in the U.S.

Spend your summer break working and traveling in the U.S.
  • Overview

    Spend your summer in the U.S. with Greenheart Exchange’s Work and Travel program.

    Designated by the U.S. Department of State as a J-1 visa sponsor, our program allows you to work in a variety of seasonal positions throughout the country for up to 4 months.

    Through a heavy emphasis on cultural exchange, our Work and Travel program promotes language exchange, building international friendships, developing cross cultural understanding and so much more!

    We offer participants two program options (pending country):

    • Self Placement option (SP): You, as the participant, are in charge of finding your own job. Once you have found a position, Greenheart Exchange will need to verify it before the application can be accepted.
    • Full Placement option (FP): You, as the participant, are placed with a pre-approved host organization based on your experiences, skills, and availability. This placement can be completed through an in-person interview at an international Job Fair or through a virtual interview with a host organization or Greenheart staff member.


    Placement Industries








    Amusement Parks

    Amusement Parks





    Retail Stores

    Retail Stores





  • Our Program

    Participant requirements: Must be a full-time university student from a participating country.

    Program length: Up to 4 months with a 30-day travel period after; this varies by country.

    Language skills: Must speak English (all participants are screened for English proficiency).

    Jobs: Entry level jobs within seasonal industries (examples: server, lifeguard, food service attendant, housekeeping).

    Hours: minimum of 32 hours per week.

    Cultural opportunities: Greenheart encourages participants to get involved in their host community through volunteering.

  • Housing

    Greenheart Exchange requires housing to be arranged prior to your arrival in the U.S. Though this may seem daunting, we are here to help you every step of the way.

    Get started on your housing search by viewing this video

    Housing Options
      While in the U.S. you are likely to stay in one of the following living arrangements:

      • Dormitory: a large bedroom for a number of people in a school or institution; often having shared bathrooms and common areas.
      • Shared apartments or condominium: A suite of rooms forming one residence, typically in a building containing a number of these.
      • Mobile home or trailer: A house on wheels that is parked in one particular place and used as a permanent living accommodation.
      • Hotel/motel/inn/extended stay: A bedroom with a bathroom in a hotel/motel/inn – may include limited services such as refrigerator, microwave, housekeeping services, breakfast, and WIFI.
      • Home: A building for human habitation usually shared with a group of people.
      • Hostels: A shared or private room with shared bathroom facilities.
    Housing Policies
      • You must have housing secured at least 30 days prior to your DS-2019 start date.
      • Housing should not be located more than 20 miles away from your job placement.
      • You must have reliable transportation to and from work.
      • You must have your own bed.
      • You must have a designated bedroom and bathroom, whether private or shared.
      • Rent should be no more than 33% of your monthly gross income.
      • Housing must follow all local, state, and federal housing, building, and fire safety codes.
  • Pricing

    What is Included in your program fees (all options)?

    • One job offer
    • DS-2019 form
    • Medical insurance
    • Virtual orientation (required)
    • Greenheart Club (optional)
    • 24-hour support of the Greenheart Exchange office

    What is NOT included in your program fees?

    • Housing fees
    • Meals
    • Spending money
    • International airfare
    • Domestic transportation in the U.S.
    • Airport transfers
    • Public transportation to/from work
    • Visa fees
  • Regulations

    Greenheart is committed to making sure that our participants are safe during their time in the U.S. A big part of that is making sure that everyone is following regulations set by the U.S. Department of State. Below you will find helpful tools to learn more about having a safe program.

    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 Americans. 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 American 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 American workforce.

    Participant Requirements
    • 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 the 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.
    Prohibited Placements

    *All SWT placements are subject to Greenheart Exchange approval. Jobs not listed herein may still be found inappropriate for the SWT program. 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, requires a high-level of skill, presents safety concerns, and the facilitation of cultural exchange is lacking.
    • 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
    • Panhandle Florida (Destin, Panama City Beach)

    No positions for any program option are allowed in the areas of:

    • Williston, Dickinson, Watford City New Town, North Dakota
    • Hawaii
    • Baltimore, Maryland
    • Harrisburg-Hershey, Pennsylvania

    Though 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 in the Gulf Cost Areas of Louisiana, Alabama, and the Florida panhandle from Gulf Shores, Alabama to Mexico Beach, Florida, including Panama City and Destin, will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 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 Pedi cab or rolling chair drivers or operators.
    6. As operators or drivers of vehicles or vessels for which drivers’ licenses are 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, adult book/video stores, and 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 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, warehousing, 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 and 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 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 his/her 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 define 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 grocery store or the 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 changes to internal Greenheart Exchange policies.

    If you have any questions, please contact your Greenheart contact toll-free at: 1-866-684-9675.

  • Fun in the U.S.

    The U.S. is a wonderful place to explore during your summer! While work is an important component of the Summer Work Travel program, the primary focus is on cultural exchange.

    We encourage you to get involved in your local community and experience all that the U.S. has to offer.

    Volunteer with Greenheart

    We blend service learning and volunteerism into all of our programs, creating a community of compassionate and conscious global citizens. We provide you with volunteer opportunities and even award active volunteers with up to $1,000 in grant money to be used for a service project in your home country.

    You can also log your volunteer hours and connect with other participants in our online community during and after your program.

    Cultural activities

    Becoming involved in your new host community is one of the best ways to get the most out of your exchange experience. Volunteering and attending cultural events are great ways to meet new people, explore your passions, have fun, and build a meaningful connection to your new home.

    Within our Greenheart Club, you will find cultural flyers that promote attractions, activities, events, and volunteer opportunities in your area.

    Ambassador Scholars

    Ambassador Scholars are our participants with an enhanced opportunity for personal growth and professional development.

    You can be selected to be an Ambassador Scholar based on your community leadership in your home country. As an Ambassador Scholar, participants must volunteer in their U.S. host communities and document their experiences living and working in the U.S. through a blog or video. Ambassador Scholar’s program costs are reimbursed upon successful completion of your program and scholarship requirements.

    Greenheart Global Leaders Conference

    Network and collaborate with your international peers from across Greenheart’s cultural exchange programs at the Greenheart Global Leaders Conference. This is your opportunity to challenge your beliefs and think critically about global issues alongside other Greenheart attendees.

    During the conference you will:

    • Develop leadership skills through site visits and workshops with distinguished governmental, social, and cultural leaders.
    • Experience Washington D.C. through guided tours of monuments and memorials, local entertainment, and a service-learning project.
    • Gain tools to translate your international experience into a mission-driven life and career.
    • Learn how to develop a community-focused service project.

    Learn more about our annual conference here:

  • Events

    Get involved this summer! Find an exchange event happening near you.

    EventDateLocationAdditional details
    Thanksgiving in August08/20/2019Pigeon Forge, TNWebsite
    Among the Wonders of the Dells: Photography, Place, Tourism06/01/2019/-09/08/2019West Bend, WIWebsite
    Farewell Bowling Event8/20/2019Branson, MORegister
    Mt Olympus Free Day8/13/2019Wisconsin Dells, WIWebsite
    Multiple Seasonal Events7/25/2019-8/2019Ocean City, MDWebsite
    Party on the Pier8/21/2019Galveston, TXRegister
    Day Trip Niagara Falls9/3/2019Lake George, NYRegister
    Day Trip Niagara Falls9/17/2019Lake George, NYRegister
    Staten Island Yankees8/22/2019New York, NYRegister
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