Your Visa & Regulations

After approving your program application we will provide you with a visa application form, DS-2019, and instructions on how to complete it. You can pay for the visa application at your local post office and you pay all final visa fees directly to the US Consulate.

Applying for the Visa

What do I need to apply for a US visa?

All applicants must have the following:

  • Step 1: To complete your online visa application, you need a digital photo. Please read carefully the requirements to upload your photo and the photo specifications.
    If you do not have a digital photo or you fail to upload your photo correctly, you may bring a photo meeting these requirements to your interview. Please see our list of photographers in Australia capable of making US style passport/visa photographs.
  • Step 2: ALL visa applicants are required to fill in the online application form (DS-160).
    Once completed, the information in the DS-160 will be electronically transmitted. The applicant must then print the confirmation page that includes some biographical information and a bar code confirmation number. Applicants must bring the DS-160 Confirmation Page to their interview.
  • Step 3: Pay the non-refundable application fee of US$220. This fee can only be paid at an Australia Post outlet. Please advise the counter assistant that you would like to pay the US non-immigration visa application fee. Bring the original receipt for this payment to your interview. Only the original receipt may be submitted to the Consulate. The fee receipt will be retained by the Consulate, so if you require a personal copy, please request a duplicate copy from Australian Post. The fee receipt is valid for one year from the date of issuance. Applicants must bring the original Australia Post application fee receipt to their interview.
  • Step 4: Payment of insurance fee: Bank Cheque or Money Order payable to the US Consulate General. Please check the US Consulate’s website for current fee.
  • Step 5: Gather the documents you must bring with you on the day of your interview. Use the checklist below to ensure you have met all of the requirements:

Non-immigrant Visa Checklist:

  • DS-160 application confirmation page.
  • Original application fee receipt from Australia Post.
  • A valid Passport (it must have at least 6 months validity after your intended return date to Australia) If you have held previous passports please bring them on the day of the interview.
  • Appointment confirmation page from Visa Point.
  • Supporting Documentation. Please visit the US Consulate website to view the review the supporting documents required.
  • Proof of funds. US$975 on arrival is required.
  • Proof of student/or recent graduate status.
  • Original, complete and signed Form DS-2019.
  • SEVIS 901 payment (this will be pre paid by CIEE, and invoiced to you by us. You will be provided with the SEVIS receipt with your DS-2019 forms).
  • There are also additional requirements if you have ever been arrested or convicted of a crime.
  • A self-addressed Express Post Platinum envelope, Registered Post envelope or courier satchel for the return of your documents. Failure to provide this will cause a delay in the processing of your application.

How do I apply?

All Applicants must appear in person for an interview at the U.S. Consular Office serving your state. Depending on where you live in Australia, the application procedures vary.

  • ACT, NSW, QLD, Norfolk Island
  • VIC, SA, NT and TAS
  • WA

Visa Conditions

  • The work permit is valid for the dates printed on your DS-2019 form.
  • Each applicant must provide proof that s/he has access to sufficient funds while in the US (approximately US $975).
  • You can only undertake employment during the validity of your visa.
  • You can work anywhere in continental US, Alaska, Hawaii, as well as Puerto Rico and Guam.
  • You are allowed to stay in the USA for a total of 30 days as a tourist (with a maximum of 5 days prior to your work start date and, therefore, 25 days after your work visa expires).

Visa Regulations

Department of State regulations state that all participants:

  • must enter the US within 10 days of their nominated start date and register with SEVIS.
  • must secure a job within the first 90 days of arrival.
  • have 90 days to secure a new job if they change employers.
  • must have their job approved by CIEE before beginning employment.


You may be familiar with the term SEVIS. The SEVIS, or Student and Exchange Visitor Information System database was implemented in January 2003 and is the database that your visitor record is kept in. From the time you are issued a Certificate of Eligibility for J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa, Form DS-2019, you are "in" the SEVIS database.

You must follow two requirements of SEVIS once you are in the database. First, you must register the start of your Work & Travel program within 10 days of the start date listed on your DS-2019 Form. You must register your US address and employment details. If you fail to do this, you will be automatically withdrawn from the program. Secondly, you must provide updates to your US address any time that you move about the U.S. It is absolutely mandatory that you follow these regulations. Failure to do so may prevent you from obtaining a visa to come to the US again in the future.

CIEE provides 3 different ways to make it easy for you to fulfil your SEVIS requirements: by toll-free telephone, by email and via the web. You can email CIEE at: with your registration details. Or, you can join the thousands who have found that using the web is the easiest and fastest method to fulfil the SEVIS requirements. CIEE can be reached toll-free at 1-888-COUNCIL. 

*Whatever method you choose, we are committed to keeping you in regulatory compliance with the SEVIS system.