WORK & ACCOMMODATION IN THE USA
How does IEP help me find a job/accommodation?
IEP works with a number of resorts across America. We are able to organize interviews with your preferred resorts. Once in the US our American partners will be able to provide you with job contacts as well as guidance and support to make sure you have a successful working holiday.
Most of the resorts have employee housing available – dependent on availability and the role you have accepted.
You will also be added to our closed Facebook Group where you can meet and ask your fellow travellers questions.
What have other people done for work?
Our participants have done a wide variety of roles at the resorts, these include:
- Lift operator
- Rental/Repair technician
- Retail Assistant
- Ticket agent
- House keeping
- Guest Services
- Reservations Agent
- Front Desk at hotel
- Ski Shop Assistant
- Ski & Snowboard instructor
- Employee Services Supervisor
- Hotel Bell Person
If you are unsure whether your desired employment position would be allowed under the visa regulations just give us a call at 0800 700 705 or contact us here and we can double check for you!
Can I arrange a job before I leave?
Yes – being on the Work USA Winter Jobs program the idea is to organize you a job at a ski resort before actually arriving into the USA!
Will I make a lot of money?
That depends on you. The amount of money you make depends on how much you will be working and how you spend your money. The minimum wage ranges depending what State you are working and living in.
Where will I live?
Our resorts are based in California, Wyoming & Colorado!
Do I have to work?
Yes you do. It is expected that you do hold employment during the visa. The underlying idea of the visa is to find a balance between working and travelling to gain a full cultural understanding of the US, and therefore the is no initial time period set that you must secure a position. The US Visa Sponsor will follow up for further information from you regarding employment while you are in the US. If you simply want to travel in the USA, and not work you should enter on a Visitor Visa.
Do I have to remain at the same job/employer?
No. You can work with multiple employers on this visa, so at the end of the winter season you can go somewhere else if you wish!
Do I have to be a current student or recent graduate to go?
To be eligible for these programs you must be a full time student or recent graduate.
Fulltime student: If you are currently enrolled and have completed 12 months of full-time studies prior to departure. You must enter the US shortly after your last exam.
Recent Graduate: If you are travelling as a recent graduate the criteria states that you must enter the US 12 months from the date you attended your graduation ceremony or the date that is on your certificate. You must have arrived in the USA before the 12 months is up.
Can I apply if I'm at university?
If this is your last year at university then it is a perfect time to plan a working adventure overseas! However, if you are planning on returning to study you must be willing to work the entire 5 month ski season in America. This may mean you’ll miss part of Semester 1 and will need to wait until Semester 2 to return to study. Please keep in mind this is a once in a lifetime visa opportunity.
Do I have to be a current student or recent graduate to go?
The employers that we work with are aware of the hard work and enthusiasm that New Zealanders bring to the resorts. Attitude is everything and personality is worth just as much as direct experience in these roles. In saying that, it is valuable to have a CV that demonstrates that you have transferable skills from past employment that will help at the resort. There is no need to have actually worked at a ski resort before though.
If you have not had any jobs before then you will probably find it difficult to be hired. We recommend that you find employment in NZ (part-time if studying is fine) to improve your skill set and help show off your employability!
Do I need to be able to ski or snowboard to work at a resort?
No! In fact this could be a great opportunity for you to learn during your time off. Some jobs will require you have to have a certain ski ability such as the roles of Lift Operators or Instructors but the majority don’t require any ski/boarding skills.
Can I interview with your employers if I don't have a visa yet?
As long as you are eligible for a J-1 visa and are either in the process of getting your visa or plan to apply right after your interview then that is fine. The employers do like to know you already have the visa sorted though and because of the time involved in applying for the visa we recommend you apply as soon as you can.
What if I postponed my graduation?
Unfortunately you cannot postpone your graduation and still be eligible for the program. In the past the visa sponsor has made exceptions, but this is on a case-by-case scenario. Please contact us if you’ve postponed your graduation and we will be able to let you know whether you are eligible for the program.
What are the age limits for participants?
The minimum age limit is 18 years and there is no upper age limit.
Do I have to take the IEP's Insurance?
Yes. It is a program requirement that you take insurance through IEP. The cost of the insurance ranges from $1332-$2067 depending on the type of coverage (Basic/Comprehensive) and excess ($0 to $250). If you would like more information on our policy please contact us.
What is proof of funds?
Proof of funds is a required amount of money you will need in your bank account when you enter the US. This is basically your savings. If you have a pre-approved job you will need to take a minimum of USD$1000 otherwise USD$2000 is required.
What is a DS2019 form?
The DS2019 is a US government form that will allow you to apply for the J-1 Visa at the US Consulate. IEP will provide you with the form after you have met the qualifications for the program.
What is SEVIS?
What is SEVIS?
Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVIS) is a program within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement which monitors students and exchange visitors in the United States with F, M, or J visas status.
Do I need to attend a US consulate interview?
Yes. It is a program requirement that you attend a US Consulate Interview, as this is the only way you can get your visa processed.
Can I extend my visa?
No. You can only work for the duration that is stated on you J1 Visa.
WORK USA WINTER JOBS
What resorts are interviewing for Work USA Winter Jobs?
So far we have the following resorts
- Mammoth Mountain (California)
- Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (Wyoming)
- Aspen/Snowmass (Colorado)
Can I choose the employer and position I want to interview for?
Before the interviews you will be asked to choose your top employers. We will do our best to schedule you in for interviews with your top two employers and you are guaranteed at least two interviews. When scheduling participants in for interviews we do it in the order that people applied, so there is definitely an advantage to getting in early! Apply early to ensure you have the best chance of getting your preferred times and employers.
You may specify positions you are interested in at the interview however you are applying for employment at the resort rather than for a particular position. If you are flexible and open to accepting an offer for the job the employer feels you are best suited for then you will improve your employability a hundred fold!
What happens if I'm not offered a job?
This situation is rare fortunately! If you have already applied for your visa and do not receive a job offer you will receive a partial refund. If you have not applied for your visa and are not offered a job you will receive a full refund. In the event that you are not offered a job with your first
Are a CV and references required?
You will be required to provide an up to date CV however it is not necessary to provide references unless they are requested. Your CV will need to be organised before the interview so that the employers can review your application.
What should I expect from the interview?
American employment interviews are similar to interviews you may have had in NZ. You should be prepared to answer questions about yourself, your skills, experience and also your strengths and weaknesses. The interviews are formal and you should act professionally throughout. While ski resorts may be more casual workplaces than your average office you will still need to make an effort to dress nicely and show your best manners!
How long will I be working at my resort and how many hours will I work?
This is negotiated between you and the employer however the usual minimum term is 5 months, or the duration of the ski season. These positions are seasonal so, to some degree, your hours depend on the snow. The majority of our positions are full time (30-40 hours) seasonal roles. Your hours will be made clear to you when you are offered a job so it won’t be a surprise. You will probably find that if the snow isn’t falling then work will be slow and you can expect to work less hours. On the flipside, during busy times and on holidays there may be the opportunity for overtime! We recommend having some back up savings for emergencies and to put aside some wages from the super busy weeks to tide you over if you have some slow weeks.
Are there any special uniform/grooming requirements on the job?
Once you accept your job you’ll be informed of any special uniform requirements by your employer. In general it is a good idea to make sure you can bring black shoes, pants and a white shirt for indoor positions as a base for the uniform. For outdoor positions you would usually be provided with the outer layers you need to survive in the snow but it is a very good idea to bring plenty of warm layers to wear underneath.
Each resort is a little bit different but they all expect tidy and wholesome grooming. You may need to cut off dreads or dye your hair a normal colour if you have a more alternative style. Piercings may or may not be suitable for their policies depending on how visible they are. At the interview they will let you know if there are any special requirements that you need to know about.
How will I get to work?
This depends on your resort and accommodation situation. Common ways of getting to work are catching public transport or walking/catching a staff shuttle from staff accommodation. You should not need to buy a car while you are over there as many of the resort staff will be temporarily living in the area like you and there is infrastructure in place for staff without personal transport.
Where will I live?
Many of the resorts we work with offer accommodation for staff. This type of accommodation is usually close to the workplace with shared apartments or houses. The price for this is generally cheaper than renting privately and it will be deducted from your wages automatically. The price of the accommodation depends on the location and other factors like whether or not you share your bedroom.
Another popular option is to band together with other staff, or IEP members to rent a house for the season. Your employer will give you information about where to start in finding local properties. There is also no reason why you can’t find a room in an already established flat with other staff or even locals!
Will I get any benefits around the resort?
All of our employers offer benefits to their employees above and beyond your wage. The benefits differ from employer to employer but all offer a free or discounted season ski pass. It is also common to get discounts on lessons, gear and rentals and food around the resort. Some even offer free snacks or hot drinks while you are on your shift! Social events and staff parties are part of the resort experience and you will probably find your mountain has agreements with other nearby mountains so that you can ski there for free as well!
If I go on the program, what do I get?
With Work USA Winter Jobs you will interview and receive a job offer with one of our American employers.
PLUS All the benefits of Work USA Winter Jobs program
Not only do you get a job sorted before you go but you also get all of the benefits of being on our fully supported Work USA Winter Jobs Program This means you get expert advice on visas, insurance and planning prior to departure, and you have access to our members lounge the whole time you are in the USA.
Before you leave we provide:
- Visa assistance for your J-1 visa (12 months)
- Work USA handbook full of valuable advice
- Pre-Departure session explaining important info
- General advice including budgeting
- Great flight deals through STA
- 15% off snow and ski gear at Snowcentre
When you arrive you receive:
- Free or subsidised ski pass
- Discounted ski rentals
- Subsidised housing (depends on employer) plus food & drink
- Great resort staff events to kick start your American social life
- 24 hour, 7 day support if something goes wrong
What happens after the winter season ends?
With IEP you get support for the full 12 months of your visa so there is no reason to finish your OE just yet!
There may be opportunities for summer work at your resort if you prove yourself to be a fantastic worker and express your interest in staying on. It is common in America for the ski mountains to turn into summer activity playgrounds once the snow melts so if there are opportunities available it can be a fun job for outdoorsy types.
Can I go with a friend/partner?
Yes. Travelling with a friend/partner is not a problem. All you need to do is tell us your travel plans and we will book it accordingly.
If I want to go on a working holiday to Canada after, can I get that visa from the US?
Many of our participants will head to Canada after working in the US. On our Work Canada program we can assist you with obtaining the visa for Canada while in the US and offer the support you need to have a successful working holiday in Canada. To learn more about our fully supported Work Canada program please visit here.
Should I be worried about travelling alone?
No. Many participants travel alone. We have a closed Work USA Facebook group where you can meet your fellow travellers before you leave the country.
Can I meet other participants before I leave for the US?
Yes. We have a closed Facebook group where you can meet your fellow participants.
Can I drive in the US?
Yes you can, if you have the appropriate licence and have checked the regulations in the state you will be residing.
Do I have to book with STA Travel?
You now must arrange for payment of your insurance and then you will be given your DS2019 and your visa sponsor welcome pack, which will be couriered to you. This is the ideal time to purchase your flights. We have an in-house STA Agent, Katrina, who we highly recommend you speak with. Katrina has the ability to book a 18 month flexible ticket. This ticket gives you the flexibility to change your return dates over a 18 month period. She is the only agent in New Zealand that can offer these types of ticket and they are exclusive the IEP passengers.
Can I book a one way ticket to the US?
No. When travelling to the US you must have an onward ticket out of North America.
How do I apply?
To apply all you need to do is fill out an online application and pay the program fee. Once that is complete we will be in touch to start on the rest of the visa paper work.
When should I apply?
As soon as you are able! We assign interviews based on when people sign up to our program, which means first applicants get first choice over who they interview with. So the earlier you apply the more likely that you’ll get your preferred employer interviews!
How long does the application process take?
It can take anywhere from 6-10 weeks to process all of the documentation. You can apply early to avoid any stress. Just let us know when you want to travel and we will book everything accordingly.
Is there someone I can speak to about the program?
Absolutely! You can give us a call from a landline at 0800 443 769 or from a mobile at 09 366 6255. You can email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us on Facebook. Usually once a month we host free information sessions, which is a great way to learn more about the program.