Exploring the U.S.
Travel After The Program
One of the great things about CIEE Work & Travel USA is the option to explore this amazing country on your own. Go anywhere you like – the only limits are your imagination, your budget, and the date by which you need to return home. Remember that if you want to take a short trip while still at your job, you will need to ask your employer for time off.
The program allows you to travel for up to 30 days. You will need to plan your travel dates before coming to the United States to make sure you have insurance coverage. You may not change these dates after you arrive. You must also be back in time for the start of the school year.
Traveling Before Your Job Ends
You may also have the opportunity to travel while still at your job. You are expected to work for the entire length of your employment agreement. However, when you have approved time off from work, you should take advantage of it to travel and learn more about American culture.
Taking a few days off is the perfect way to see and experience some of what you’ll find in the monthly Culture Guides we send you, or the Top 10 Things to Do. Be sure to talk with your manager in advance about the possibility of taking time off.
Traveling Outside the United States
You can take a trip outside the United States during the program, but CIEE must approve it. There are important rules that you must follow.
You may only travel outside the United States during the work dates in Box 3 of your DS-2019 and for no longer than 30 consecutive days.
You must be authorized to enter the United States on more than one occasion. The number of times you are allowed to enter the United States is indicated on your J-1 Visa under the section “entries.” You can have multiple entries if the letter “M” appears in this section; if it does not, you are only allowed to enter the United States the specific number of times indicated (usually one or two).
Notify CIEE by phone or email two weeks before any trip outside the United States to ensure you get your DS-2019 signed and returned.
If you travel outside the United States, you must have your original DS-2019 signed for travel by CIEE and receive a Good Standing Letter. Send your DS-2019 and a note that explains your travel plans in an envelope to CIEE. Include a prepaid return envelope (from CIEE to your U.S. mailing address), and we will return it to you. Make sure to use a mail service that provides a tracking reference number for your package, like USPS or FedEx. Do not send money in the mail. For detailed instructions on how to obtain proper travel validation from CIEE, please call 1-888-268-6245 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do not travel without your signed DS-2019 form. Doing so will cause delays of 30 to 90 days before you may re-enter the country, while the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) processes your paperwork.
If you have multiple trips outside of the United States planned, please contact CIEE before sending in your DS-2019 form. Depending on your travel dates, you may not need to have your documents signed.
Travel to Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas) is covered by CIEE insurance. Travel anywhere else outside the United States is not covered by CIEE insurance.
Your J-1 Visa must be valid and the dates on your DS-2019 must be current when re-entering the United States. You will not be allowed back into the United States with an expired DS-2019, even for connecting flights. It is your responsibility to make sure that you meet the re-entry requirements.
Depending on your home country, you may be required to have a visa for the country you are traveling to. Be sure to check with your embassy before you travel anywhere outside the United States.
Travel Tips & Resources
Your safety is very important to us. When you travel during your CIEE Work & Travel USA program, keep these tips in mind to make sure you travel smart.
- Travel with friends whenever possible.
- Plan ahead. Research hotels, hostels, and transportation if you are traveling for more than one day.
- Always tell friends and coworkers where you are going and when you will be back.
- Make sure you have contact information for friends and employers, and give them your phone number as well.
- Take your CIEE Work & Travel USA ID card with you, along with your important documents.
- Protect your personal property by keeping it in a safe place; if there are safes where you are staying, lock up your valuables and important documents.
- Never hitchhike! It is illegal in many states.
CIEE Work & Travel USA will email you some useful travel guides, including the regional Top 10 Things to Do and our monthly Culture Guide USA. Also, there are many useful websites with information about many American destinations. Many of them also offer guidebooks. Here are a few:
Individual cities and states also have helpful tourism websites.