Just graduated? Hats off! Put what’s on paper into practice with a year working in your academic field in America – with the flexibility to find your position when you arrive.
On the fence?
Grads only have 12 months from your grad cert to use this visa!
It’s now or never
If this was a Friends episode, it would be ‘The One That Almost Got Away’. Why? Because you only have 12 months from the date on your grad cert to enter the USA on our USIT grad visa. And once that window closes, it’s closed forever. (Waves goodbye to living in a Manhattan apartment with your best friends – even you Ross). The bridge between college and your career, it's the chance to put all your academic achievements into practice – to learn from the best in your industry, globalise your CV, and jumpstart your professional training. Basically, it’s a dead cert for hot footing it up the career ladder when you get home.
Why do it with USIT
Unique to this visa, you must find your position when you arrive. Before you go, our team will review your CV and deep dive into your degree, advising on the graduate positions you can do and companies you should target.
We’ve been bringing our USA game for 65+ years. Together with CIEE, our long-standing US partner, USIT provides the sponsorship to live and work anywhere in the States for up to one year.
Online, on the phones and on a campus near you throughout the year - USIT are the student and grad experts. Our dedicated team will guide you step-by-step through your visa and embassy interview paperwork.
Holly, USIT Grad USA Intern
at Warner Music Group in NYC
"I decided to do the USIT grad visa because I figured I had to become an adult when I finished college, and I may as well do it in one of the coolest cities in the world.”
Need to know
Unsure what direction you want to go in after college? Across the pond is a great start! Our Grad USA team will help take care of the rest.
The Grad USA visa is exclusive to Ireland and allows Irish graduates to work in the USA for up to a year in professional internships related to their field of study.
You can work anywhere in the USA, do paid or unpaid positions, and you’re not limited to one year-long internship. You can do multiple shorter placements with 30 days of travel permitted in-between – giving you the freedom to live on different coasts, travel around the States, and add more varied work experience to your CV. Unique to this visa, you have 60 days to find your internship when you arrive.
Who can apply
You must have an Irish passport, be 18+ and be able to fulfil one of the below student requirements:
If you’re a final year student you can apply for the Grad USA visa program now and travel any time after you’ve received your final exam results and passed your degree.
If you’ve already graduated you must enter the USA within 12 months of the date on your graduation certificate. You must have done a full-time academic course in a recognised Irish university or college including Northern Ireland (running for at least two years) that will ultimately lead to a degree or higher qualification (Level 6 Major Award on Qualifax). If you have completed a Level 6 Major Award, then at least 50% of coursework must be academic. Unfortunately, online, special purpose, springboard or professionally awarded degrees such as ACCA or FE1 are not eligible.
If you’re a Masters student you must enter the USA within 12 months of the date on your graduation certificate.
If you’re a resident in Northern Ireland but hold an Irish passport and have graduated from an Irish university, you may still be eligible for this program. Please contact the team on email@example.com before you book.
When to apply You can apply at any time of the year. However, it takes 12 weeks to process your application, so if you’ve already graduated, make sure you work this into your timescales.
If you haven’t graduated yet and are looking for a summer internship or an internship as part of your course, check out our Internship USA program. If you’re not a student, look at our Trainee USA program.
What you can do
Paid and unpaid internships You can do one or more paid or unpaid internships, with 30 days to travel between positions. The salary for paid internships will be negotiated directly with your host company, and will vary depending on the city and company you intern for. You can typically expect to earn between USD $2,100-6,500 a month.
Finding your internship Your internship must be related to your area of study. Our Grad USA team will look at your academic experience and what direction you want your internship to take. Based on past participants who’ve interned in the USA with the same degree, we can shortlist companies for you to target – giving advice on converting your CV to a resume, how to structure your cover letter and how to prepare for interviews.
If you're looking to settle in New York we also include a one-year membership to the IBO (Irish Business Organization) of New York. The IBO provide evening networking opportunities, monthly Zoom breakfast meetings and member-only events.
On this type of visa, you must find your position when you arrive and you are responsible for securing your own internships. You have 60 days when you land in the USA to find a position and have it approved by your sponsor.
Approving your internship All internships and training plans must be approved by our US sponsor CIEE to ensure they meet the visa and labour requirements. This may include site visits to your prospective employer, which are covered in your program fee.
Where you can do it
Popular industries for Irish graduates to work in America are construction, engineering, tech, politics, law, finance, science, architecture, media, publishing, marketing and fashion – but you can intern in any field as long as it is related to your education. Previous participants have done everything from script editing at Universal Studios to assisting at the Federal Attorneys Office.
There are some roles within certain industries such as agriculture, teaching and medicine that aren’t permitted, but our Grad USA team will be able to guide you around these restrictions and help you find a position within that industry that is likely to be approved by our sponsor. For more on the industries you can intern in, check out our FAQs.
Popular destination for Irish graduates to work in are New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego – but you can live anywhere in the States. You also don’t have to stay in one place. You could have a fairytale winter interning in New York and an all-American summer working in LA, with a classic road trip in-between.
Just remember… The ethos of the Grad USA program is to gain experience in your field of study and bring that experience home to Ireland at the end of your visa. If you wish to pursue a career in the USA, please do not apply for this visa. Participants should not view this program as an avenue to obtaining a full time or long-term position with an employer.
How it works
The Grad USA process can be complex, but the payoff to spend a year growing your professional skills and having the time of your life in the States is worth it. We're pros at career coaching and form filling, so will guide you through it step-by-step.
1. Book your place Check you’re eligible in the tab above, book your place and wait for us to give you a quick call to check your suitability for the program. If the Grad USA program isn’t right for you, we can point you in the direction of other USIT America visas that could work for you.
2. Resume review You can then set up a coaching call via your online account where we’ll go through your education history, CV and advise on internship options and companies you can reach out to when you land.
3. Forms and flights We’ll order your work papers (DS2019 and SEVIS receipt) from CIEE, your sponsor in the USA. CIEE will review your documents and access your application, this may take up to 10 business days.
4. Pre-departure pack Once your application is approved by CIEE, your work papers (DS2019) will be shipped to USIT Dublin. We will forward these to your home address in a pre-departure pack once you have paid in full.
5. US Embassy interview You're off to the US Embassy! This interview and a 5-7 day review of your passport will provide them with the information they need to issue your visa. Once approved you can then book your flights.
6. Online orientation A Department of State requirement, you must complete an online orientation with CIEE before you go. This is to get you fully prepped for life in America.
7. Land in the USA CIEE are in-country and on hand 24/7 to support you during your stay. From the date you land, you’ll have 60 days to find your first internship and have it approved.
Grad USA inclusions
What’s not included
We don’t recommend booking flights until your visa is approved.
To cover against cancellation, we recommend taking out comprehensive travel insurance as soon as you book.
US visa fee Irish passport holders
This is paid directly to the US Embassy and currently costs USD $185.
We don’t like to name drop, but…
Past Grad USA participants have interned for Ralph Lauren, L’Oreal USA, iHeartMedia and Hollywood Life. Returning home with a CV that knocks most out of the ballpark. Do the same with your degree.
Music to our ears
Working at Warner Music in NYC
Excuse us while we have a minor Carrie Bradshaw moment. Holly landed an internship working in HR at Warner Music Group in NYC – where she regularly gets to travel between New York, Nashville and LA. Nice work, Holly. Not at all jealous of anything going on there...
Earn some dough
How to find your position
Looking to find an accountancy position in NYC, Euan used his loaf and reached out to the bakery that employed him on his summer J1. Which led to him getting a paid internship in their accounting team. When finding your position, it pays to get creative. Work on your resume game, utilise your uni career service and personal contacts, and set up profiles on Indeed and LinkedIn.
Where to do your Grad USA visa
Travel Guide / USA
New York guide: Where to do your J1, Grad visa or US internship
New York New York. So awesome, it got named twice. Here’s why you need it on your J1 or Grad USA radar.
Travel Guide / USA
San Francisco guide: Where to do your J1, Grad visa or US internship
Liberal, diverse and innovative: the opportunities are golden in this famous city with the bridge.
Bring your away game
Why do an internship in the USA
The USA has a well-paid internship culture – with most American graduates doing multiple internships before they take on a full-time position. Coffee runs and making copies, this is not! Your internship must be related to your degree and be a position within a company where you can demonstrate clear progression – by growing your skills and gaining exposure to different areas of the business. Your company mentor will be there to guide you, but professional internships are for self-starters who want to make the most out of every opportunity.
Ask the experts
Just graduated and wondering what’s next?
It’s okay to not have your future all mapped out – that’s what your year interning in America is for. Our Grad USA team will help you focus on what it is you want to achieve with your internship and help with everything you need to get there. Book a video call with the team today.