The Professional Career Training programme is an officially sponsored US Exchange programme and as such is only available as a total package which includes purchasing your programme and SEVIS fee, insurance and flights through USIT. This ensures that USIT and your US Sponsor are fully aware of your entry and departure dates to and from the USA, and that you fulfill the insurance requirements for the duration of your stay in the USA, as per US Government programme Regulations.
Applicants can enter the USA up to 30 days before their training start date and can stay up to 30 days from the final date of the training programme. The Programme Fee should therefore be calculated based on the total duration of stay in the USA and not just the duration of the Traineeship. For example, if an applicant's trainee dates are from 01 June 2016 to 30 September 2017 (14 months) but the applicant is entering the US on May 28th and intends to travel for two weeks upon completion of the programme, departing the US on October 14th, then they must purchase the fees for the 15 month duration.
The PCT USA Programme Fee covers the cost of the administration and support services of operating the programme. It covers the cost of CIEE services, pre-departure information, insurance, research and information on employment opportunities and general admin and staffing of the programme, both here in Ireland and in the US. Applicants can enter the USA up to 30 days before their DS2019 start date and may stay up to 30 days following their DS2019 end date. This visa can be extended, but your total training in the US cannot go over 18 months!
As of the 1 September 2004 the US Government introduced SEVIS, the Student Exchange Visitor Information System, for all applicants whose DS-2019 (Work Authorization document) is printed on and after that date. USIT will arrange the transfer of these funds to the US and will supply you with the proper documentation for proof of payment, the SEVIS receipt (I-797 or I-901). You will have to furnish proof of payment to the US Embassy/Consulate in order for them to issue your visa. This fee goes directly to the US Government in order to maintain the SEVP and SEVIS systems which are used to track all International students while they are in the US.
The US Government requirements state that all participants must be comprehensively insured for the entire duration of their stay in the US. The inclusive policy for PCT USA is specially tailored to meet the needs of those traveling abroad over an extended period and involved in a combination of work and leisure activities. There is also a special cover for PCT participants which provides for loss of earnings due to prolonged hospitalisation. Details of the insurance cover are available from your local USIT Branch. Upon applying to the programme, each applicant is emailed an Insurance Certificate, which comprehensively details your full policy cover.
The Programme regulations oblige all participants traveling on an internship to be in possession of a return ticket that covers the duration of his/her stay in the US. Your flight arrangements must be booked through USIT. You MUST allow approximately 6 to 8 weeks from the time we receive a complete and thorough application for the complete processing of all paperwork. We would always ask that participants make flexible flight arrangements when purchasing your flights with USIT and allow as much time as possible between the time you submit the initial programme application and the date you expect to depart for the US. You must book your flights before we can release your DS-2019 to you, and a USIT representative will contact you when your DS-2019 has been received at USIT. You must have your DS-2019 in order to attend your Interview at the US Embassy. Failure to book your flights could lead to delays in obtaining your visa. It will take at least two business days from the day you book your flights to the day you will receive your documents in the post. While USIT and CIEE will endeavor to meet all deadlines and flight dates we cannot be held responsible for money lost due to the purchase of restricted tickets; please keep this in mind when reserving flights.
US Embassy/Consulate Interview Fee
The US State Department charges a Visa Application fee of every visa applicant. The current fee is $160 (subject to change) and must be paid by bank draft to the US Embassy in that exact amount and currency. The current fee for the US Consulate, Belfast is $160 USD and will be paid over the phone when the appointment is booked by Northern Irish applicants. Please not these fees are subject to change at any time.
Legally, participants are required to be in possession of at least US$1000 when entering the US on the programme. However, you should give some thought to the types of costs you are likely to incur during your first few weeks in the US. You should bring enough money to support yourself for at least a month and a half, since you are often not paid for two weeks, and a deposit is usually required to move into housing or to install a telephone. You'll also have to consider the cost of short-term accommodation until you secure a place to stay for the duration of your internship.
If you will be earning less than US$1000 a month on your traineeship you will be required to furnish an original bank statement dated within the last 30 days or a guarantor letter with your application form to USIT. You will also be required to furnish these documents to the US Embassy/Consulate during your interview.
Host Company Vetting Fee
According to US State Department regulations effective 19 July 2007, all Host Companies will have to be vetted, unless they have previously hosted an Intern or Trainee through CIEE in the last 3 years, have a minimum annual turnover of US$3 million or have at least 25 full-time employees. In cases where a company does not meet at least one of these requirements, CIEE representatives will be required to travel to that company in person in order to verify that it is a suitable location for training on this programme. If this is the case, then you will need to be charged an additional €300 for your programme. Please note this also adds an additional 2 weeks to the normal processing time.