By Radmila, Karavan Travel, Work and Travel Partner

In their fifth post and video, Serbian partner, Karavan Travel, describes participants departing for their adventure on the Work and Travel Program in the United States with CCI Greenheart

Most of our participants have never travelled to United States, let alone by a plane before. The Summer Work program represents quite a life changing adventure for most of them. To make the most of this unique opportunity, our participants, on average, spend a maximum of 4 months working then travel through the United States afterwards. The U.S. Department of States program dates for our participants fall within this timeframe: May 21st – October 1st. Meaning the earliest day they can start is working is May 21st.

By the time participants set out to travel, they have been informed upfront about the travel documents needed, so they can adequately prepare in a timely manner.

It is vital that participants pack their passports, DS-2019 forms, job offers, plane tickets and health insurance information.

We always encourage them to make hard copies of every document, and keep them separately from the originals. Pack wisely – it is always advisable to pack less. The plane ticket explains in detail the baggage allowance, procedures, check in time etc. for every airline.

The flight itinerary – plane tickets and contact with the employer – most of our participants buy their plane tickets before the visa interview. Some after they obtain a J-1 visa. Regardless of the scenario, all of our participants are given Travel Directions upon obtaining a job offer in the United States and instructed to contact their employer to brief about travel plans.

Upon arrival to the United States, participants should get their DS-2019 & their passport stamped at the airport. Only after this should they proceed to collect their luggage and continue their trip to their employer. Majority of participants, travel by bus to their site of employment after they arrive to one of the major United States airports. Others, for example participants who work in Alaska, travel by plane. This is the time when the Travel directions (that CCI Greenheart carefully includes in every job offer) play an important role – they make this trip so much more convenient!

SEVIS – The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System – procedures and schedules. Upon arrival and settling in the housing, as soon as possible and with respect to deadlines, participants must register in SEVIS to validate their programs. We stress the importance of SEVIS check-ins and deadlines on various occasions. After participants become Active in SEVIS, they can apply for SSN.

I-94 – Arrival/Departure Record. Foreign visitors to the U.S. arriving via air or sea no longer need to complete paper Customs and Border Protection Form I-94. Those who need to prove their legal-visitor status – can access their CBP arrival/departure record information online. In order to apply for Social Security Number, participants are instructed to access this form online via and print it for their record. They usually do this when they arrive to their employer’s city, before they apply for SSN.

With job offers located all across the country, our participants have vast possibilities ahead of them. Every state has a lot to offer, in terms of sightseeing, cultural exchange opportunities, landmarks or people. Beautiful diversity of landscapes from East Coast to Alaska leaves nobody indifferent. And with a whole summer ahead, the sky is the limit!