Work and Travel Paperwork - what, when, why?

Work and Travel Paperwork – what, when, why?

Work and Travel Paperwork – what, when, why? It is not the funniest part of the program, but it is obligatory. Below you will find a description of the core documentation and “extras” in the last paragraph. 


You start your Work and Travel Paperwork with the contract with the Agency. That is the first document you sign to turn into a participant. And this is a contract that sets the relationship between you and the Agency of your choice. The core is:

  • installments,
  • eligibility, 
  • your rights and responsibilities,
  • cancellation policy,
  • penalties, 
  • procedures. 

Please be aware of what do you sign, as some penalties might kick in without you knowing. 

Program application 

That is a document, in the paper or other form, that collects your data, required by the Sponsor. To take part in the Work and Travel Program, you must meet eligibility criteria, and Program Application has to determine if you are a good fit or not. You will attach University documents, and we described them below. 

Based on the Application, you will obtain your Certificate of Eligibility – DS2019 form – check the example here

School documentation 

You have to prepare stuff from the school for two different occasions:

For the program application purposes 

You will have to provide the documents that will confirm that you are a university student and what are the summer break dates. It is crucial to determine if you are eligible to take part in the Work and Travel Program. 

For the embassy 

You will have to present at least two types of documents:

  • valid student card with necessary stamps 
  • grading transcript 

Based on the documents and your interview, the embassy officer will decide if you can or can’t go! 

ECL – Employment Confirmation Letter

You will also be presented with the ECL – Employment Confirmation Letter, the document that summarizes what the employer has to offer to you. Please keep in mind, that Work and Travel is employment at will. The form of this document varies from Sponsor to Sponsor. One thing is certain, you will have to approve it and sign in order to further proceed. 

Visa documents

To apply for the visa, you will have to fill out the online application DS-160. With that application, you will upload your visa photo and schedule your visa appointment. The application is pretty long but make sure to answer all the questions truthfully. 

DS-160, your passport, and University papers are a must when applying for the J-1 visa. 


SSN – Social Security Number – you will apply for the number once in your lifetime. You have to fill the SSN application and attach the DS2019. Based on these, you will have your SSN issued. SSN is crucial for you to start your work and start earning money/getting paychecks. 


Be aware that some offers might require some extra documentation. The list bases on the regulations that are incorporated by your employer or the specifics of the location. The most common are:

  • Documentation to obtain a license to work 
  • Criminal Background Check
  • Credit Score 
  • References 

These are the most common extra pieces of Work and Travel paperwork you might encounter. Keep in mind to translate them to English! Secondly, some of them might be hard to obtain in your country or might require some payments to get them.

Overall, it is very wise to work on the documents as soon as possible, as you avoid unnecessary delays, stress, and occasionally loss of money. 

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