By Radmila, Karavan Travel, Work and Travel Partner

In their third post and video, Serbian partner, Karavan Travel, describes the process for getting the visa for participants for the Work and Travel Program in the United States with CCI Greenheart

Visa interview can be one of the most stressful pre-departure tasks for participants. Participants need to collect important documents, and attend a pre-scheduled visa appointment. Naturally, we do our best to ease this process for our participants and to bring it to a successful end. To effectively complete the process of obtaining a J-1 visa, we contact the U.S. Consulates and follow their guidelines for the upcoming season.

Documents

DS-2019 form – this document is mandatory for the visa appointment. This form will not be issued to participants before they complete CCI Greenheart’s budget sheet and Virtual Orientation.

  • The budget sheet is a useful step because it brings the participant’s attention to the financial aspect of their future stay in the USA. After the Budget Sheet completion, they have precise breakdown of their future expenses.
  • The Virtual Orientation, on the other side, informs them of more general aspects of the program and contains very useful information.

When information is recorded in the SEVIS (The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System), CCI Greenheart issues the DS-2019 form and ships it to us.

DS-160 confirmation page – All participants need to fill out the online DS-160 form and submit the confirmation page. The DS-160 form contains essential information of each and every U.S. visa applicant, including:

  • Payment proof of the Visa application fee – Also obligatory in order to set up a visa appointment
  • Photo – Photo requirements are given upfront, to make sure the participants are uploading the valid photo to DS-160 form.
  • Proof of participant status – Information about the studies, exams and so on.

Know your rights

The Work and Travel program in the U.S. is a life-changing experience. Participants have the time of their life and cherish these memories forever. They are able to gain both professional and personal experiences. However, should participants encounter any problems, they have rights and they can get help. The U.S. Department of State pamphlet “Know your Rights” (Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Act) clearly addresses human trafficking dangers, signs of abuse and ways of protection. We require all participants to thoroughly read this before the appointment.

After submission of the required documents, visa appointment interviews are scheduled. The appointments are scheduled based on availability. However, when possible, we arrange for participants who travel together to have their visa appointment on the same date. This allows participants to feel more relaxed when they are accompanied by their friends or peers.

The visa interview

The American Consulate or Embassy is the only official authority that can approve issuance of a visa. Among other things, in order to obtain a J-1 visa, participants need to prove they are actively pursuing their degree, passing exams and need to communicate in English at a satisfactory level. The interview is conducted in English to ensure the participant understanding and knowledge.

We provide assistance to all participants during the whole visa process and follow up every application – from appointment to the visa issuance phase. This requires a lot of preparation and hard work – from participants, CCI Greenheart and us at Karavan. Everyone does their part – and it is worth it – when participants get their visas, the Work and Travel adventure is one step closer!

Preparing for departure

Next step in this journey is to prepare our participants for their departure for the United States. Time flies, they say, and this is exactly the case with most of our participants – one minute they are applying for the program, next – it’s already time to think about travel arrangements. Still, before the “suitcase phase” (aka departure for USA), there’s some more preparation to do – it is time for the pre-arrival orientations…to be continued!