At Greenheart, we strive to strengthen the quality and consistency of our program administration. The information on this page will provide you with up-to-date program regulations and rules that govern Greenheart’s Summer Work Travel (SWT) program. Please contact us directly with any questions as we are happy to assist in any way we can.
Department of State Regulations
Department of State links:
- Welcome Letter and Brochure: The Department of State also provides a letter Welcome Letter and Brochure for Summer Work Travel participants.
- Guidance Directives:
- Summer Work Travel Program: Purpose and Placements – February 20, 2013
- Summer Work Travel: Program Exclusions – May 17, 2012
- Summer Work Travel Program: A Cultural Experience – December 13, 2011
Seasonal and Temporary Employment
Seasonal: Employment is of a seasonal nature when the required service is tied to a certain time of year by an event or pattern and requires labor levels above and beyond existing worker levels.
J-1 SWT host organizations should generally not hire for all three (summer, winter and spring) seasons, as the intention is that placements are only with businesses that have a seasonal need, so as not to displace Americans. J-1 SWT host organizations are not to rely on program participants to fill year-round positions, as these positions should be filled by the American workforce.
Temporary: Employment is of a temporary nature when a host organization’s need for the duties to be performed is a one-time occurrence, a peak-load need, or an intermittent need.
Temporary positions requested by host organizations are considered on a case-by-case basis. The host organization must be able to demonstrate why a temporary position cannot be filled by the American workforce.
*All SWT placements are subject to Greenheart Exchange approval. Jobs not listed herein may still be found inappropriate for the SWT program. Greenheart Exchange reserves the right to prohibit any placement.
In addition to jobs prohibited by the Department of State, Greenheart Exchange prohibits participants from working:
- In positions in kiosks
- In positions with moving companies
- In positions with staffing agencies
- With third-party organizations. The participant must be hired, paid, and directly supervised by the same company.
- With lifeguard companies that have not first completed a Greenheart Exchange questionnaire
- In positions that involve door-to-door or traveling sales
- In positions where manual labor is the primary focus, requires a high-level of skill, presents safety concerns, and the facilitation of cultural exchange is lacking
- In positions with tent companies
- In laundry-only positions, or other positions with extensive periods of time in rotation.
- In positions that require sustained physical contact with other people (e.g. applying henna tattoos)
Prohibited Placements by Location:
Greenheart Exchange no longer allows self-placed placements in:
- The state of North Dakota
- Panhandle Florida (Destin, Panama City Beach)
No positions for any program option are allowed in the areas of:
- Williston, Dickinson, Watford City New Town, North Dakota
- Baltimore, Maryland
- Harrisburg-Hershey, Pennsylvania
Though exceptions have been made in the past, self-placed and full program option placements in Detroit, Michigan are generally prohibited
Conditional Placements by Location:
Placements for full program options in the Gulf Cost Areas of Louisiana, Alabama, and the Florida panhandle from Gulf Shores, Alabama to Mexico Beach, Florida, including Panama City and Destin, will be considered on a case-by-case basis. To be considered by Greenheart Exchange, host organizations in these areas must provide excellent housing and extensive cultural activities for the SWT participants.
The Department of State prohibits J-1 Summer Work Travel participants from working:
- In positions with host organizations that fill non-seasonal or non-temporary job openings with participants with staggered vacation schedules;
- In positions that could bring notoriety or disrepute to the Exchange Visitor Program;
- In sales positions that require participants to purchase inventory that they must sell in order to support themselves;
- In domestic help positions in private homes (e.g., child care, elder care, gardener, chauffeur);
- As Pedi cab or rolling chair drivers or operators;
- As operators or drivers of vehicles or vessels for which drivers’ licenses are required regardless of whether they carry passengers or not;
- In positions related to clinical care that involves patient contact;
- In any position in the adult entertainment industry (including, but not limited to jobs with escort services, adult book/video stores, and strip clubs);
- In positions requiring any shift where hours will fall predominantly between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.;
- In positions declared hazardous to youth by the Secretary of Labor at Subpart E of 29 CFR part 570;
- In positions that require sustained physical contact with other people and/or adherence to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Universal Blood and Body Fluid Precautions guidelines (e.g., body piercing, tattooing, massage, manicure);
- In positions that are substantially commission-based and thus do not guarantee that participants will be paid minimum wage in accordance with federal and state standards;
- In positions involved in gaming and gambling that include direct participation in wagering and/or betting;
- In positions in chemical pest control, warehousing, catalog/online order distribution centers;
- In positions with traveling fairs or itinerant concessionaires;
- In jobs that do not allow participants to work alongside U.S. citizens and interact regularly with U.S. citizens and to experience U.S. culture during the workday portion of their Summer Work Travel programs;
- In positions that require licensing;
- In positions for which there is another specific J category (e.g., camp counselor, intern, trainee); or
- After November 1, 2012, in positions in the North American Industry Classification System’s (NAICS) Goods-Producing Industries occupational categories industry sectors 11, 21, 23, 31–33 numbers (set forth at http://www.bls.gov/iag/tgs/iag_index_naics.htm)
Host Organization Check-Ins
Host organizations are required to notify Greenheart Exchange when their participants arrive, do not arrive, leave before their DS-2019 end date, there are any changes in the job conditions and about any emergency situations. Host organizations may report this information to Greenheart Exchange through their online account.
- Log in to your Greenheart Exchange Online (GEO) account at https://geo.greenheart.org/general/applogin.aspx .
- Be sure the current season is selected in the upper right side.
- On your Home page, left side under Participants, click Hired. This will show all participants associated with your company for this season.
- Above the search options box, click the link Click here to report participant arrivals or report an issue with a participant.
- You can increase the page size up to 50, if needed.
- For each participant who has arrived to you, enter the date and then click Save All Changes Above.
- This is also where you can notify Greenheart Exchange if a participant has not arrived or report any issue or change to their job.
- If you have any questions, please contact your Greenheart Exchange contact, indicated in the upper right corner of your account.
- Participants must contact Greenheart Exchange immediately upon their arrival to the U.S.
- The arrival check-in must be done no later than 3 days after the arrival date.
- Participants are required to validate their programs upon arrival to Greenheart Exchange approved host organization, and no later than 7 days after the program start date.
- Participants must also check-in with Greenheart Exchange every 30 days or by the deadlines listed in their Greenheart Online accounts.
- Failure to complete any of these communications may result in a negative SEVIS status, requiring the participant to return home immediately.
Department of State Confirmation Calls
The Department of State will sometimes contact host organizations to confirm names of participants hosted and the job details. We ask that you follow these steps should you receive a call from the Department of State:
- Identify the caller. Only release information to the Department of State. (Participant information is private, so do not release their personal information to research or interest groups without their consent.)
- Ask the caller to send you an email describing the information they are requesting. This email should come from a state.gov email address (not Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc).
- Reply to the State Department email. Usually they are verifying the number of participants hired and their names and job information. Please follow up with them, as host organizations who did not respond to these calls in the past received participant visa denials. In other words, if they do not hear back from you they think you did not really offer the jobs!
- Let your Greenheart Exchange Contact know if you have any questions regarding this job placements confirmation. If you don’t know who your Greenheart Exchange contact is, call us at our toll-free U.S. number: 1-866-684-9675 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Housing Policies and Guidelines
The Department of State places an emphasis on the safety, security, and quality of housing for J-1 Summer Work Travel participants. The following policies are provided to ensure participants are provided with appropriate housing.
- Housing must follow, at minimum, all local, state, and federal housing, building, and fire safety codes.
- Every participant must have his/her own bed. A bed is defined as a mattress on a bed frame or box spring. Air mattresses or mattresses directly on the floor are not acceptable.
- Participants must have a designated bedroom. Sleeping in a common space such as the living room is not acceptable.
- Employment must not be contingent on the participant living in host organization-provided housing.
- There must be affordable and safe transportation to and from work.
- Participants must submit their housing information to Greenheart Exchange no later than 30 days before their DS-2019 start date.
The following guidelines are provided to help avoid some common issues.
- Provide a lease or rental agreement that clearly define rules and regulations.
- Inform participants about how security deposits are managed.
- Conduct an initial housing inspection with the participant, documenting issues with participants when they arrive.
- Basic amenities, such as grocery store or the bank should be easily accessible from participant housing.
- Housing providers should offer short-term leases for 3 to 4 months.
- Monthly rent should be no more than 33% of a participant’s monthly gross income.
*The above is subject to change based on regulatory updates from the Department of State and changes to internal Greenheart Exchange policies.
If you have any question concerning the information provided, please contact your host organization contact toll-free at 1-866-684-9675.