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Sponsoring Agencies in the USA

The Need For Sponsoring Agencies

UK PassportBefore you can start planning any paid work in the US, you need to be aware of America's awkward visa situation. The reality is that you really need to get a sponsoring agency, like BUNAC and Intrax, to do it for you.

To work for most of the employers listed in this book, you will need to have the appropriate work visa. The most common is the J-1 visa. There are two different types of the J-1 visa. The US Government's ‘Work and Travel Program’ allows you to work temporarily in the US in what it calls guest service positions. The ‘Camp Counsellor’ visa allows you to work at a summer camp as a camp counsellor (obviously!). We've let you know what you need for these visas in our more detailed visa section on page 26. There’s also the H-category visa for temporary work but this requires you to have a formal and specific offer of work from an American employer, and the F-category visa for students.


After the tragic events of September 11th 2001 in New York, US authorities are scrutinising all types of visas that allow foreigners into the USA. As a result of this, visa eligibility criteria is subject to change, so check the United States Visa Website or speak to a sponsoring agency like the ones listed below to get the latest visa updates.

BUNAC's 'Work America' programme will guide you through the whole work and travel process. You get a J-1 visa, allowing you to work legally in the US, booked on a BUNAC return flight and given a job directory. You also get met in the USA, your first night's accommodation, arrival orientation, a travel guide and an interest free loan to help you pay for your flight (if you need it). You must be at least 18 and be a degree or post-grad student. And, of course, you have to pay for it, costs include a fee to join BUNAC then there is the registration fee, travel package price, compulsory insurance cost and a visa application fee.

The Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) offers up to four months’ summer work in the US with 30 days to travel afterwards, and will do all the legwork for you - they'll help you to get a visa, and to get seasonal work anywhere in the US. Get more info from…

Alliances Abroad - With their 'Work and Travel USA' programme you'll be placed in a pre-screened position and generally supported throughout your stay - helped with finding your feet, getting housing etc. They also offer Work Abroad, Teach Abroad and Volunteer Abroad programmes.

Other Sponsoring Agencies for J-1 ‘Work & Travel’ Visa

  • American Work Experience
  • Apex USA
  • Cultural Homestay International
  • Interexchange
  • Work Experience USA

Sponsoring Agencies for J-1 ‘Camp Counsellor’ Visa

  • Camp America
  • Camp Counsellors USA
  • Cultural Homestay International
  • International Camp Counsellor Program - YMCA
  • Interexchange

These agencies may also be able to help you obtain a J-1 if you want to work as support staff in a camp.


If you’ve only got a tourist visa, you’ll probably be thrown out of the country if you’re caught doing any kind of paid work.