The new Minister of state for the Diaspora and International Development, Joe McHugh TD, reminded those travelling to the J1 this summer to check out the J1 advice guide and to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade during their stay.
Minister McHugh added:
"Doing a J1 has been a rite of passage for generations of Irish students and has been an enormously valuable programme for building understanding and enduring links between Ireland and the US. Around 150,000 have undertaken the programme over the past 50 years and the majority have found it a great experience.
“However it’s also important to be mindful that the US is a very different place from Ireland. To help students going over, earlier this year USI in conjunction with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade launched a J1 advice guide with information on insurance, legal issues, accommodation, and personal safety."
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, had previously launched the TravelWise app which includes travel advice and consular information on 200 countries. Minister McHugh said:
“I encourage all those on a J1 to download the new free TravelWise app which includes up-to-date information on security, local laws, entry requirements and emergency contacts.”
The J1 guide includes advice on finding somewhere to live, legal issues, insurance, ID, social security and personal safety. Students are advised to secure accommodation before travelling to the US, and to read and understand their lease, which may require the payment of up to three months’ rent in advance, before signing it. Students are also reminded that as Irish citizens in the US they are bound by US law and that if they travel on a visa waiver programme it is illegal to work. Those on the J1 programme are reminded that should they wish to change employer, or seek additional work with another employer, they are obliged to seek permission in advance from their sponsoring body - www.ciee.org/wat or https://www.interexchange.org/ .
Those travelling on a J1 are also advised to take out adequate health insurance before leaving Ireland, and to read their insurance policy closely. While the Irish Embassy and Consulates in the USA can offer assistance to those who fall sick or are injured abroad, the Department cannot pay hospital bills or other medical expenses.
J1 guide: https://www.dfa.ie/media/dfa/alldfawebsitemedia/travel/USI--J1guide.pdf
The TravelWise app can be downloaded from the Apple store and from the Android Store.