Paperwork Explained

Another jargon-busting breakout brought to you by Camp Leaders…

J-1 Visa

This represents a permission from the US Government to work legally in the US as a Support Staff or Counselor at a Summer Camp. It runs from the start date of your camp contract, until 30 days after the end date of your contract. This means that you have 30 days in which to travel within the USA before you are required to leave the country.

The visa itself is attached inside your passport. It bears your photo and other information.

You may only work as a Counselor, or as Support Staff at the camp for which you have a contract. You must arrive at your camp on the date designated on your camp contract, or your visa may be cancelled. Camps are required to notify the US Department of State that you have arrived. If you do not, then your presence in the USA becomes illegal.

DS-2019 Form

This form is issued by our US Department of State accredited visa sponsor, Cultural Homestay International (CHI). It certifies you as eligible to take part in the cultural exchange program, and is a vital part of the application process for a J-1 Visa. After your J-1 Visa appointment at the Embassy or Consulate, it will be returned to you with your passport and visa. It forms part of your 'work permit', and must be kept safe with your passport. Your passport and visa are no good without this form - so remember to take it with you! It is headed


SEVIS I-901 Receipt

SEVIS stands for 'Student Exchange Visitor Information System'. It is a system whereby the US Department of State keeps track of all participants on the J-1 Visa program. This form indicates that the SEVIS fee has been paid, and will be required for your J-1 Visa appointment at the US Embassy or Consulate. You should also carry it with you when you enter America.

Customs Form

On the flight, you will be issued with a customs form. ALL travellers to the USA are required to fill this out. The immigration officer you meet upon your arrival will stamp it and return it to you. On leaving the baggage hall, after picking up your luggage, you will surrender this form to a customs officer.