The ‘J1 Visa – Work & Travel Exchange Visa’ is an agreement between Australia/NZ citizens and USA. It allows recent graduates to both travel and work at the same time.

  • Valid for 12 months + travel (1 month before start date + 1 month afterwards)
  • Do not need to have return flight booked (technically a 13 month program)
  • Restricted jobs (cannot work in peoples homes or with children or obviously any illegal)
  • Must be a full time student in the last 12 months
  • Need to have sponsor – Either a job offer before applying or use a company to act as your sponsor and get a job after entering


At the American History Museum in Washington DC

There are two options for sponsorship a) A job offer from a company in the US before applying the visa OR b) a government approved company to act as your sponsor. With option b you can choose your job once you have entered US or most of the companies they can also assist with getting a job.

There are quite a few companies to choose from and one of those is International Cultural Exchange Organisation.


January in Central Park, New York City

ICEO are a group that can act as your US sponsor for this exchange visa and will be responsible for your immigration.The minimum package with GrowUSA is to get sponsorship with ICEO they can also assist with getting a job for an extra fee.

To get their sponsorship you will be dealing with GrowUSA who works on behalf of ICEO to help applicants directly with the process in Australia. They will be your point of contact for applying for the sponsorship and assist you with receiving your visa.

Once your visa is received ICEO will be your point of contact.

[My experience of applying with ICEO in 2014]

Part 1 – Apply for sponsorship with ICEO

Lookout at Monument Valley, Arizona/Utah
  1. Sent email of interest to GROWUSA [04.May.2014]
  2. Receive email with application and forms [05.May.2014]
  3. Complete forms and send back [26.Oct.2014]
  4. Interview with ‘Rachel Hitch’ from GROWUSA [29.Oct.2014]
  5. Interview with ICEO [10.Dec.2014]
  6. Pay fee to GROWUSA $1349AUD plus SEVIS fee USD 35 = AUD $1392 [10.Dec.2014]
  7. Receive SEVIS ID via email & Wait for DS-2019 (Australia Express post $15) [19.Dec.2014]

Part 2 – Apply for J-1: Work Travel Exchange

World War 2 Memorial, Washington DC
  1. Book Consulate appointment & pay CGI Federal AUD$176 [09.Dec.2014]
  2. Receive DS-2019 & change Consulate appt [24.Dec.2014]
  3. Go to consulate appointment [29.Dec.14 @ 11:15am, Sydney (originally @ 8:30am)]
  4. Visa received [31.Dec.2014]

Part 3 – After you have you received your visa

Neon Run in Phoenix, Arizona
  1. Book flight to US [10.Jan.2015]
  2. Schedule ICEO post arrival Information Session (within 10 days of arrival) [ 05.Jan.2015]
  3. Receive insurance from ICEO from start date for 12 months [02.Feb.2015]
  4. ICEO will enrol you in SEVIS [03.Feb.2015]

Part 4 – Post arrival in USA

My first payslip in Tempe, Arizona
  1. ICEO post arrival Information session (with Choua Vue) – 5 minute conversation [13.Jan.2015]
  2. Complete 10-day arrival report (ICEO emails) [14.Jan.2015]
  3. 60 day report – Every 60 days they will email you a remainder to complete your 60 day report by 12pm the next day. It’s really easy, most of it is basic information and once it’s been completed the first time the only boxs that need to be changed are ‘are there any concerns?’ and ‘what cultural activities have you participated in?’

Part 5 – Getting a job once you are in the USA

My job as an Enrolment Advisor in Phoenix, Arizona
  1. Start looking for a job [02.Feb.2015]
  2. Send ICEO the following documents/information from each proposed employer [06.Feb.2015]
  3. Once the document are sent, ICEO will conduct a vetting process of the employer and a verification of the offered job [24.Feb.2015]
  4. If all good, your job will be approved and you can started working in the United States! [27.Feb.2015 – 02.Mar.2015]
  5. Notify ICEO after 1 week of your start date if you don’t have a potential job
  6. 60 days to find a job then get a few other options

Required Documents:

  • Fully completed and signed ICEO Employment Confirmation Letter Form
  • Fully completed and signed ICEO Employment Host Company Profile Form (form attached)
  • Proof of Host Company’s Worker’s Compensation Insurance Policy
  • Copy of the Host Company’s Business License
  • Host Company’s Federal Tax Identification

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