Summer Work Travel (SWT) program


The Summer Work Travel (SWT) program provides foreign students with an opportunity to live and work in the United States during their December vacation from university to experience and to be exposed to the people and way of life in the United States.

In previous years, Costa Rican students have travelled each winter – between December and March – to different cities across the United States where they experience our people and culture firsthand.  They, in turn, share their culture and language with their host communities and provide a mutually beneficial cross-cultural exchange experience.

In addition to gaining valuable English language practice, participants have the chance to acquire work experience in a variety of fields.   Upon completion of a work assignment in the United States, students can travel for up to 30 days within the United States before returning home.

Profile of a Successful SWT Applicant

  • Applicants must have a good command of the English language.
  • Pre-placed in a job prior to the visa interview.
  • Only full-time students at post-secondary academic institutions are eligible to participate in SWT.
  • Repeat participants are welcomed.  Previous participation in the program, however, does not guarantee that future applications will be successful.
  • Each applicant needs to be able to show to the interviewing consul that he/she will return to Costa Rica at the conclusion of the program.
  • Students attending vocational/distance learning (online) schools and secondary schools for adults do not qualify for the SWT program.

Know Your Rights

All program participants must read and understand the Wilberforce Act pamphlet (English / Spanish) which explains the rights they have while in the United States. During the visa interview the Consular Officer will verify that applicants know and understand their rights under the Wilberforce Act.

Procedural Guidelines

  • Applicants to the program need to submit a valid DS-2019 form that they can receive from a U.S. based sponsor. A list of the U.S. based sponsors can be located by clicking on Find a Program Sponsor”.
  • It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that their online application (DS-160) is completed accurately. In addition to the online application form, applicants must pay the SEVIS fee online and MRV fee.
  • Applicants for the SWT program should bring the following to their interview appointment:
    • University transcript  (listing courses completed and number of credits)
    • Appointment confirmation
    • DS-160 confirmation with scannable barcode
    • Photograph taken in the last 6 months
    • Valid passport and all previous passports
    • Receipt of MRV fee
    • Approved and signed DS-2019
    • Proof of SEVIS payment
    • And remember NOT to bring any electronics (including cell phones) to the interview!

List of Agencies

There are some education consultancy companies in Costa Rica that partner with U.S. based exchange visitor sponsors, and they can assist applicants in obtaining a DS-2019 from a U.S. based exchange visitor sponsor. The U.S. Embassy assumes no responsibility for the professional ability or reputation of the agencies whose names appear on this list (Pdf- 15 Kb)

For more information about the Summer Work Travel Program, please click here.