Every year the United States of America gives J-1 visas to Irish students to study and work in the country. For 2018, the US is going to allotting 7,000 J-1 visas. US Embassy in Dublin has advised interested students to apply for the visa earlier this year than wait until later. It is a summer work and travel program.
There have been a lot of speculations about US President Donald Trump canceling the visa among several others including H-1B visa and diversity visa. He has talked about in this 2015 and 2016 campaigns but not really taken any action regarding the J-1 visa. US Embassy in Dublin and Department of State have assured they have worked to keep up the Summer Work and Travel visa and also sponsored it.
J-1 summer work and travel program is available to third tier full-time students. The Irish students are allowed to work the entire summer and then given additional 30 days to travel across the US. Until 2016, Irish students applying for the J-1 visa didn’t need to have a secure job in Ireland. But post 2016, it has been made compulsory. This lets them start working in the US as soon as they enter the country. Most Irish students have to spend weeks or months in hotels or hostels until they find a good accommodation. It obviously drains out their finances.
Exchange visitor program for students
Now the US government has made it compulsory that J-1 visa holders come through an exchange visitor program. They should be sponsored one of the many verified visa sponsors. Most of these Irish students are sponsored by SAYIT, J-1 Ireland, USIT, Smaller Earth, or World Wide Cultural Exchange.v
The US Embassy in Dublin told students to apply earlier because it involves a lot of paperwork, which might take a long time. J-1 visa program is 50 years old now and has seen 16,000 students travel to the US to gain experience and travel.