You’ve got your summer job, you’ve got your documents in, and now it’s time to complete the next stage of your journey to America. The J1 Visa appointment. It can be daunting and confusing, but we’re the J1 Visa pros and ready to help you out. From DS-160’s to SEVIS receipts, here’s the survival guide on how to ace your J1 Visa appointment!
You’ve probably heard the term J1 Visa and wondered what a J1 actually is. To keep it real simple, the J1 Visa is a cultural exchange Visa, supporting visitors who are taking part in cultural exchange programs like Summer Camp. Without this, you can’t go and work in America. Once you’ve got your visa, you’ll be ready to set off to the States for the best summer!
When you go to book your appointment, there will be different steps to be completed. Don’t worry, we’ve created a step by step guides that’ll walk you through everything you need to know. These will be on your profile once you have received your DS-2019 form from us so keep an eye out for these and make sure you follow them!
When you first go into the embassy, you will be asked to sit in the waiting room until your number to be called. You will go up to the first window where the staff will check your documents and check your DS-160 application. After this, you will then move onto the next stage of the visa process. The next window will be where they ask questions about you and your job in America. Be clear, honest, and friendly and you’ll be absolutely fine. There might be a lot of waiting, but it’s so worth it in the end!
Make your trip to the American embassy stress-free and get there early. If you aim to get there at least 15 minutes before your appointment, you will be first in line and ready to ace your appointment and get your J1 Visa. Whether you’re going to Dublin, London or Belfast, have your travel plans sorted. If that’s a flight, train or bus, make sure you have it booked in advance to save yourself money and stress. If you’re going to Belfast for your appointment, make sure you book with an airline that allows you to travel back with another piece of ID as the embassy will take your passport. You don’t want to get stuck in Belfast with no way of getting back home.
The J1 Visa appointment can sound very serious and formal, but they aren’t! You don’t need to stress smart for the appointment. Just make sure you aren’t wearing trackies and look presentable for your interview with the embassy.
We recommend taking as limited baggage as you can. Before you enter the embassy, you will be asked to go through airport-style security where they check your bag and ask you to go through a scanner. We’ve had applicants in the past have aerosols, food and even nail clippers taken away from them so make sure to take this into consideration when planning your trip to the embassy.
It’s totally normal to feel nervous about your appointment. With all the paperwork and booking of appointments, it can be seriously overwhelming, but don’t worry. You’re going to ace the appointment and rock out with your approved visa. Get ready for the summer of a lifetime.
You get 30 days of travel after America and the freedom to go where ever you, but you have one problem. How are you going to get around? With 52 States and a lot of miles in between, getting from a to b can present a few challenges. Worry not as there are plenty of travel options that can help get take you from camp to wherever you want to be! Moreover, there are also great travel packages from our amazing partners over at Contiki and TrekAmerica. They can sort out your travelling needs as well as your accommodation. Score!
You might already be familiar with Megabus, particularly if you are a seasoned traveller. With low-cost bus tickets to over 100 cities, it’s worth checking to see if Megabus can get you where you need. Either way, a quick look at the tickets could enlighten you to explore somewhere new for a low-cost price! Some tickets can start as low as $1! In all, the best way to travel around America is sometimes the cheapest and with Megabus, you get just that.
It’s worth checking whether the city you are in has a metro system. Similar to the tube, the metro can get you around the city very quickly which is often the best way to get around America! New York City is well known for its Subway and there are a handful of other cities that also have similar transportation systems. There are also handy apps as well as Google Maps that can guide you on which line to get for when you are navigating yourself around.
With low fares and a selection of direct routes, Greyhound can help you with your travel around America. There are hundreds of direct routes meaning you get exactly where you need to go. A bus ride across America will take a fair few hours but with free Wi-Fi and individual power outlets on every bus, a few Netflix episodes will help pass the time! Be inspired to explore more places and save money while you do it!
At Summer Camp, you’re bound to make friends for life. Some of these friends will even have cars! It’s worth checking to see if they are travelling after camp and whether you can hitch a ride with them. A road trip with friends is one of the best ways to explore America. If you need more info on planning a summer camp road trip, we have a handy blog post to help you out.
We are lucky to be partnered with great travel brands that can help you explore more. In addition, they can help with how to travel America while making more of your budget. TrekAmerica offers more than 50 unique trips. With a pre-planned trip, you’ll be with an experienced tour guide who can show you the best of what America has to offer. Also, with TrekAmerica your travel and accommodation are included, rolling your trip into one convenient package! Find out more about travelling with TrekAmerica here.
Another great brand we have partnered with is Contiki. Each trip is packed full of must-do experiences as well as your transport being covered door to door. An expert Trip Manager guides your trip from start to finish, allowing you to explore the best America has to offer. With the option to include add-ons with your trip, it’s your travel your way. Make the most of America’s National parks or perhaps see the Golden Gate Bridge. With Contiki, there’s so much to explore. Find out more here.
It’s your first 4th of July in America and every American’s favourite day. It’s time to celebrate the land of the free and the home of the brave and boy are you in for a treat. Red, white and blue are everywhere and you feel like you are in a fresh tube of Colgate toothpaste. You never thought you’d feel so patriotic for a country you’re not from but here you are belting out the National Anthem like you didn’t just learn the words two weeks ago.
There is none stop chanting of “USA, USA, USA!”. Everyone is in red, white and blue. There are stars and stripes literately everywhere. You didn’t realise how patriotic everyone is until today. Everyone is running around waving flags and singing Katy Perry. Independence Day isn’t just a film about aliens? What?! You thought that the bonfire firework display at your local park was a show. Think again. This display is something to rival Londons New Years Eve show. Who knew independence meant bottomless chicken wings? Sign us up!
There is food EVERYWHERE. You’ve gotten accustomed to the food at camp by now including the mad portion sizes. However, you were not prepared for today! You never knew it was possible to arrange burgers and hotdogs into an American flag display but here we are. There are snacks on snacks on snacks and you are ready. The food coma is coming and you welcome it in waves.
There is a lake with your name on it and you have the fear, bad. You’ve been hiding out all day trying to avoid getting thrown into the lake but tradition is tradition. The feeling of knowing that it is coming is the worst and you’re contemplating just throwing yourself in.
You might not be American but today you are an honorary citizen. Everyone else’s buzz for the country has got you swept up in the celebrations and your singing Star Bangled Banner with the rest of them. Today, this land is your land and today this land is my land. Go America!
All your campers have got you absolutely fizzing with excitement. There are fun, games and food everywhere. The only holiday you have to compare is Christmas and this is the Christmas of summer. You’re ready to fly the flag and fly the flag HARD. Why can’t every day be the 4th of July?
It’s been a long old day and you are ready for bed. The whole day has been non-stop and although it’s been enjoyable you are worn out. Who knew Independence was so exhausting?! It’s time to kick your feet up, make a cup of tea and go back to business as usual tomorrow. You’re retiring the red, white and blue for Color War. Until next time Independence Day!
There are 52 states in America, spanning 3.8 square miles. Each state has its own individual charm as well as being packed full of a multitude of different Cities, Towns and new experiences. Deciding where you are going to go and what to see after camp can get overwhelming. For example, planning your travel after camp can end up leaving you with option overload.
We have recently partnered up with Contiki to bring you a selection of amazing trips and tours all across America. Take the pressure off and spend your summer enjoying your travels. Make every moment count and experience your dream trip your way. For instance, Contiki allows you to add exciting options into your trip in addition to your included experiences. With an expert Trip Manager leading your way, you’re in safe hands. Here’s why you should travel with Contiki after camp!
When you have selected your amazing trip all you now need to do is pay and go. Yes, it’s that simple! All your travel for the trip, accommodation and experiences are rolled into one great package. Dependent on your trip, you’ll even find some of your meals included too. Exploring America and sourcing your own travel and accommodation can become quite costly. In addition, researching exactly where you want to go and booking onto these experiences can make the pennies stack up pretty quickly. Trying to get all this sorted while at camp can leave you with booking exhaustion. A reason why you should book with Contiki is that this is all sorted for you. What more could you need?
Much like Camp, a trip with Contiki will see you making friends for life. You might find yourself left with nobody wanting to go where you would like to travel after camp. Similarly, there might only be two of you who want to travel to a certain place. With Contiki, you’ll have the safety and the comradery of being part of a group. Furthermore, the age of Contiki travellers ranges from 18 to 35 meaning you’ll be surrounded by people your own age. As well as the average age of Contiki travellers being 26, 55% are solo travellers. So, don’t be worried if you’re heading out on your own!
Prepare for your Bucket List to be looking pretty empty after a Contiki Trip! All of the must-see and do places will be included in your itinerary as well as some unique hidden spots. With tours including hot-spot locations such as Yosemite National Park and Route 66, you’ll have the opportunity to see Americas best locations. Your experience, your way. From LA to Canada, wherever you go after camp is up to you. Contiki is perfect for making the most out of your travel.
If you’re looking to explore more this summer, check out the amazing trips offered by Contiki! Save 10% on all full-price trips* and make the most of your travels!
*Applicable on trips 7 days or more. Discounts apply to the land portion of your trip price only. Combinable with loyalty discount only. Discounts are subject to change. £60 deposit, freedom guarantee, hold tours on option for up to 7 days, balance due to Contiki 45 days before departure.