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USIT Grad USA

USA Graduate program

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.

Find out 

if I'm eligible?

Sep '23 grad cert date? Apply by this June to get out to the States on this one-time visa

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It’s now or never

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Why do USIT’s 1-year Grad USA program?

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.

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Why do it with USIT

CV coaching 


Unique to this visa, you must find your position when you arrive. Before you go, our team will deep dive into your degree - advising on the graduate positions you can do and companies you should target.

USA sponsorship

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.

Grad experts

USIT are the student and graduate experts. Our dedicated team will guide you step-by-step through all the visa and embassy interview paperwork.

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Aged 18+

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Graduate-only visa

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1-year US sponsorship

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Intern anywhere in the USA

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CV and placement coaching

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90 days to find a position

€1,999

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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.”

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Need to know

1-year Grad USA | €1,999

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 90 days to find your internship when you arrive.

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 workusa@usit.ie 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

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.

Help 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 90 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.

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.

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 90 days to find your first internship and have it approved.

What’s included

Everything you need to get sponsored and have a game-changing year living in the USA.
  • Sponsorship by CIEE, our US partners, to intern anywhere in the USA for up to 1 year in your academic field
  • Issuing of your Certificate of Eligibility (DS2019) and sponsorship paperwork
  • 1-on-1 support applying for your J1 visa and prepping for your US embassy interview
  • SEVIS – a mandatory US government tracking fee worth USD $220
  • Career coaching, CV and cover letter review from the Grad USA team
  • IBO (Irish Business Organization) of New York membership for virtual and in-person networking opportunities.
  • Pre-departure online orientation from CIEE to make sure you’re US ready
  • Unlimited site visits to assess the suitability of prospective US employers
  • 24/7 support from your sponsor CIEE the whole time you're on US soil

Book now pay later

  • Deposit of €199 due at the time of application
  • Second payment of €450 after 6 weeks
  • Full balance due 12 weeks before departure

What’s not included

Flights

We don’t recommend booking flights until your visa is approved.

Travel insurance

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.

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Gateway to your career

We don’t like to name drop, but…

The bridge between college and your career, past Grad USA participants have interned for Ralph Lauren, L’Oreal USA and Hollywood Life. Returning home with a CV that knocks most out of the ballpark.

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The inside track

What our Grad USA Insider says

Sharing all the intel on working in the USA on a USIT graduate visa, meet our 2023 Grad USA Insider, Gary. In episode 2, he talks about finding a job related to his Masters, what his day-to-day responsibilities were like, and how his time in Boston has given him priceless knowledge and skills to bring back to Ireland. Watch here and follow Gary's journey and the latest episodes @usittravel.

Music to our ears

What internships can you do

Other than some restrictions in industries such as agriculture, teaching and medicine, you can work in most fields - as long as it is connected to your degree. Watch Holly's story - who landed an internship working in HR at Warner Music Group where she gets to work between New York, Nashville and LA.

Earn some dough

How to find your internship

Our team are on hand with coaching and advice, but 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. Take Euan, who when looking for an accountancy position in NYC, used his loaf and reached out to the bakery that employed him on his summer J1.

The USIT blog

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Where to do your Grad USA visa

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Travel Guide / USA

New York guide: Where to do your J1, Grad visa or US internship

USIT Staff

New York New York. So awesome, it got named twice. Here’s why you need it on your J1 or Grad USA radar.

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.

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More ways to make it in America

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We’re going to need a bigger bucket...

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