1. Do I have to be a student to sign up for Work and Travel USA program?

Yes, you must be a B.A., M.A. or Ph.D. student, attending a full-time course of study.

2. Can post-graduate students participate in the program?

Unfortunately, post-graduate students are not eligible to participate in the program.

3. Can I participate in the program, if I graduate from B.A./engineering studies in February/March?

You can sign up for the program, provided that you start another degree (another field of study/M.A. studies) in the following summer semester. Students who graduate in March and do not continue their studies, will not be able to apply for a J-1 visa. The visa interviews start in March and last until June.
The applicants are obliged to bring a student ID card (valid until 31 October) and a grade report to the interview (in electronic version or a copy of a grade book).

4. Can I participate in the program if I study abroad?

No, if you are not from Poland and you study abroad (in any country oher than Poland) we can’t accept your application.

5. Can I defend my thesis before going to the U.S.?

You may defend your thesis before going to the U.S., however your dissertation defense must take place after your visa interview. You must be a student during the interview (the applicants must bring a valid student ID card and a grade report). The interview dates are selected by the embassy and they usually start in March and last until June. The students should inform TBW about their thesis defense, in order to select an appropriate date for the interview.

6. How to manage Work and Travel program and the exam session at the university?

Most participants travel to the U.S. in the first half of June (some of them leave at the end of May) because it is the most popular work start period for many WAT offers. If you want to participate in Work and Travel program but the start date overlaps with your exam session, ask your university about the possibility of arranging individual exam dates. Submit a request in the dean’s office, explaining that you are a Work and Travel program participant and ask for an earlier exam session. Talk to your teachers. Think about it earlier, do not wait until May! It is possible, a lot of students manage to work it out really well.

7. Can foreign students participate sign up for the program in a Polish agency?

Yes but it only refers to the full-time students of Polish universities who have a valid residence card

8. When does the application process start and what is the deadline for applying?

Usually, the application process starts in the second half of October and ends in March. The sooner you apply the better because that gives you the access to new WAT offers and the longer payment periods.

9. What documents are necessary to sign up for W&T USA? Do I need a passport?

You must have a valid student ID card , a passport and a valid Residence Card.

10. Do I have to come to TBW office in Poznań to apply or can I do it online?

You can apply online but you will have to send the original copies of certain documents via post. You don’t have to come all the way to Poznań to apply for the program.

11. What is the earliest start date and the latest end date

The earliest program start date for Polish students is 25 May. You can also start the program later. Most students leave Poland in the first half of June. If you start the program later (e.g. end of June, beginning of July), the choice of WAT offers will be limited. The latest end date is 30 September. Some student finish earlier (between 5 and 15 September).

12. How long can I stay in the U.S.?

Work & Travel allows you to work in the U.S. for up to 4 months, however you must abide by the date requirements (see question no. 9). Following the completion of your program, you have up to 30 days for traveling, however you should return to Poland by 1 October to prepare for a new semester at the university. Your contract may be shorter than 4 months. IMPORTANT: In majority of WAT offers, the minimum work period is 12 weeks.

13. Can I go to the same place with my friends?

Yes, it is possible. It depends on the offer and employer who decides on hiring a group of friends after the interview (we recommend amusement and national parks for groups of friends).

14. When do I have to pay for the program? Is it possible to pay in instalments?

Yes, the program fees are payable by instalments. The registration fee must be paid on the day of application, the 1st instalment is payable within 30 days of signing the WAT Program Agreement and the 2nd instalment is payable after receiving a job offer form. The visa fee is paid in March at the earliest.
As far as the ticket is concerned, it depends on when you decide to book it (usually between February and May).

15. What is a “J-1 sponsor”?

J-1 sponsors are American organizations who are authorized by the U.S. government (the Department of State) to run Work and Travel USA and issue DS-2019 forms which are the basis for applying for a J-1 visa. The sponsor provides the participants with support in emergencies and monitors the progress.

16. What are the forms of the interview?

There are online interviews (Zoom, Airmeet) and they are scheduled in advance and TBW informs the participants about the exact date and time of the interview). -The participants select a WAT offer earlier and then attend the interview.

17. Is housing provided?

Most employers provide housing and the housing costs are deducted from paycheck. The cost of housing depends on the location and standard and varies between USD 30-150 per week. Usually, the housing is similar to student dormitories, with 2-4 students per room and basic amenities. In some cases, the housing is not provided and the participants have to find housing options on their own or the employers assist them with housing options in the area.

18. Do the fees include insurance or do I have to pay for insurance myself?

The fees include full insurance that covers medical costs and accidents. The insurance is obligatory and you cannot opt out of it.

19. Does TBW assist with visa application?

Yes, we assist participants with J-1 visa application. The participants are obliged to attend the visa interview at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw or Consulate General in Cracow.

20. What is the risk of a visa refusal?

We cannot guarantee that all participants’ visas will be approved because the Embassy and Consulate are independent institutions. During our interview with the participants, we are doing our best to determine if there are any grounds for a visa refusal.
J-1 visa candidate must: be a student, speak English, have a clean record of previous travels to the U.S. (they did not overstay their previous visas or break the rules of WAT program and they do not have any immediate relatives that stay in the U.S. illegally).

21. Can TBW assist me with a flight ticket?

We work with a professional ticket agency that can check ticket prices for our participants. Remember that you can also buy the ticket on your own.

22. Is it possible that my job offer form is invalid after I arrive in the U.S.?

According to the program rules, the participant cannot travel to the U.S. without an approved job offer form. If an employer cancels your contract, the sponsor is obliged to find a new location for you before you leave to the U.S. In emergencies, the sponsor is obliged to help the participant whose job offer form was cancelled, regardless of whether it happened at the fault of the participant or not.

23. Do I need to bring cash with me on the program?

You must bring cash with you to the United States. It may take up to 2 weeks before you get your first paycheck. Sometimes, the participants have to pay housing deposit upon arrival. Moreover, the immigration officer at the airport may ask if you have enough money for your first days in the U.S.
The recommended amount is USD 800.

24. Will I be able cover the cost of the program?

It depends on the WAT offer you choose. However, even the minimum hourly wage allows the participants to save enough money to cover the program fees, provided the work period lasts at least 12 weeks.

25. Will my electronic devices work in the U.S.?

The devices that are adjusted to the American voltage can be used in the U.S., however the plugs and sockets are different than in Poland. It is not a big problem. You just need a converter that adapt the plugs to the American sockets.

26. Can I bring electronic equipment (a laptop, camera) from the U.S. to Poland?

Everyone can purchase electronic equipment abroad and bring it to their home country without having to pay customs duties, as long as the number of devices is not too big and does not raise suspicion that the equipment will be sold (e.g. you can bring two laptops – one for you and one for your mother).

27. Does TBW assist the students with tax return?

We don’t provide a service of tax refund, but we can provide you with information about a few companies specialized in returning taxes.

28. Do I need a driving license or a criminal record certificate to participate in W&T USA?

These documents are not required to participate in the program. The positions that involve driving vehicles are not allowed, so none of the employers requires driving license. Criminal record certificate is not required by the employers, however if you have ever been arrested or convicted for any offense or crime, you are required to bring the certificate to the visa interview. Participants who have clean criminal record do not have to obtain the certificate.

29. Who will help me if I experience problems?

J-1 sponsors oversee the program and provide the participants with support once they arrive in the U.S. The students receive contact information 24/7 emergency support line before their departure. If you experience any problems related to work, health or insurance, you can contact your sponsor and they will be happy to assist you. The sponsor will also contact you once a month to make sure you are having
a wonderful W&T experience.

30. What happens when my employer violates the provisions of the contract?

First of all, you need to talk to your employer. If it does not change anything, report the issue to your sponsor. They will verify the case and help you solve the problem.

If you like us to add more questions to our FAQ, please email us at: biuro@thebestway.pl
We will be happy to update the list with new questions and answers to keep you informed.