The U.S. Department of State J-1 visa program is very successful and CIEE is proud to be one of its leading sponsors. At the root of this success are regulations designed to protect students and ensure that they have a worthwhile cultural exchange experience in the United States.
As with many regulations, the rules set a minimum baseline for compliance. CIEE believes that going above and beyond the minimum adds value for students, employers and communities, and enhances U.S. public diplomacy. For this reason, we maintain higher standards for the health, safety and welfare of our students.
One of the biggest benefits of working with CIEE is that we make regulatory compliance easy, for you and your students. We’ve built compliance into our policies and services so you need not worry about unintentionally breaking a rule. You don’t need to become an expert. You have CIEE for that. Any questions? Don’t hesitate to ask.
Employers must follow certain guidelines. There are rules regarding hours, pay, housing, transportation and communication with CIEE, the program sponsor. Your CIEE account manager will guide you through these when you sign on with CIEE, and make it easy to comply.
Job Approval Guidelines
Each student must have a confirmed, CIEE-approved job. CIEE can only approve jobs that meet our guidelines:
- Jobs must be compatible with the rules, regulations, and intent of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, which focuses on cultural exchange.
- CIEE will not approve a job if there are questions about students’ safety and well-being, or if the job prevents them from having a meaningful cultural exchange experience.
- Students must be able to balance work responsibilities with time spent exploring the local community, learning about the United States and getting to know Americans.
- Students may only work for employers whose staffing needs are seasonal or temporary in nature.
- The job must pay a salary of at least minimum wage.
Certain Jobs are Prohibited
Both CIEE and the U.S. government have high standards for student jobs. We will assess any job you submit, and must approve it before you make an offer.
- Jobs that are filled by a different type of J-1 visa (camp counselors, interns, etc.)
- Jobs obtained through staffing or employment agencies
- Jobs designated by the U.S. Department of Labor as “hazardous to youth”
- Jobs where students are hired independent contractors (using 1099 forms)
- Jobs where students works the majority of their hours between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
- Sales jobs that require students to invest their own money to pre-purchase inventory
- Jobs that are mostly commission-based and thus do not guarantee minimum wage
- Jobs with exposure to dangerous chemicals, such as pesticides
- Jobs that require a professional license
- Jobs that displace U.S. workers
- Jobs with employers who have experienced layoffs within the last 120 days
- Jobs with employers who have workers on strike or lockout
- Domestic help positions in private U.S. households, such as au pair, servant, gardener, or chauffeur
- Modeling or jobs in the adult entertainment industry
- Jobs on casino gaming floors
- Jobs in warehouses, factories/manufacturing, moving companies, or catalog/online distribution centers
- Jobs in the fisheries industry
- Jobs at mall kiosks or carts
- Jobs as operators or drivers of vehicles or vessels for which drivers’ licenses are required
- Operators of pedicabs, rolling chairs, other passenger carrying vehicles for hire, and/or vehicles requiring a commercial driver’s license
- Farm or ranch jobs
- Jobs with traveling carnivals / concessions
- Jobs providing clinical care, medical services or involving patient contact, hands-on therapy, counseling, administering treatment or making diagnoses of medical, psychiatric or psychological patients, or veterinary work involving hands-on care
- Jobs as ship or aircraft crew members or as pilots, except as crew members on ships that travel only within domestic U.S. waters
- Jobs as teachers, teaching assistants, or coaches
- Jobs entailing sustained physical contact with customers, such as, body piercing, tattoo parlor work, or massage)
- Jobs with domestic cleaning companies
CIEE takes our responsibilities as a sponsor very seriously. These include:
- Screening students prior to selection
- Providing orientation for our program and life in America
- Vetting job placements for compliance
- Providing students access to opportunities for cultural exchange
- Monitoring students’ health, safety and welfare
- Checking in monthly with students
Regulations for Students
Students visiting the United States as part of the J-1 visa program must register with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). They need to follow up with monthly check-ins..
While SEVIS compliance is a student’s responsibility, it is in your best interest to make sure it happens. Otherwise, your student could be sent home, and you could lose a valuable member of your team!
Registering With Homeland Security
The Department of Homeland Security created the Student Exchange Visitor Information System, or SEVIS, to provide oversight of certain categories of foreign visitors to the United States. Every person entering under a J-1 visa must register on arrival, check in monthly, and register any change of address or employer. If a student fails to do any of these things, he/she can be sent home.
While SEVIS compliance is up to your student, you should encourage and remind them to comply. CIEE also sends out regular reminders via email.
How to Register with SEVIS
- Call CIEE at 1-888-268-6245 to register
- Provide a U.S. address. If a student has not yet secured permanent housing, the temporary housing address (not a work address) should be used, and updated as soon as he/she moves.
What Students Must Do to Comply with SEVIS
- Inform CIEE of any change of address.
- Inform CIEE of any change of employer, with the new employer’s contact information.
- Fill out and return the mandatory survey that CIEE sends each month.
How You Can Help?
- Make it easier for your students to comply. Lend a hand.
- Download and display the SEVIS poster.
- Allow students to use a company telephone to register.
- Ask if they’ve registered when they arrive, and remind them of the importance of keeping their information updated.
- Notify CIEE of students who do not arrive as scheduled.
- Contact CIEE if a student leaves before his/her scheduled end date.