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So the 1 Year Graduate Visa is finally open for 2021 (and after the year it’s been we are just glad to see some good news) – but if you have had the USA in your sights then you probably know this already. The Grad Visa has been the first port of call for any grads looking to gain some experience across the Atlantic for a while now, and this year has been no exception with keeping us on the edge of our seat as to whether it’s a goer or not.


As we start to see a potential end in sight for the current travel bans we have put together a list to help you decide if the Grad visa is the American visa for you and your ticket to the big time.

1. You are Graduating This Year (yaay!) or have in the last 12 months

First of all, congrats! It has been one hell of a year to be doing anything let alone accomplishing a final year and a degree.

The main eligibility criteria for the Grad USA visa means you must be able to travel within 12 months of the date on your graduation certificate (there’s a bit of working this bit out, if your degree is in maths you’re sorted) – 12 months from this date is your travel window. Unfortunately this where the ‘Rona scuppers some of us eligibility-wise as travel restrictions will potentially still be in place as this time runs out. But fear not, all is not lost if this is you – there may be some hope in the Internship or PCT programmes. If you are worried get in touch and we can check your options. You will also need to make sure your course is eligible, and you can do this here.

2. You have your sights set on the States

Ah the U S of A – the bright lights, the big cities, the wide open spaces – who hasn’t watched one too many re-runs of The Devil Wears Prada and been like yes, this is where I need to be? America is starting to look pretty darn attractive as a destination again – between their highly successful vaccination programme and the brighter future they seem to be headed towards (trying to keep this strictly non-political but we all get it) – there really has never been a better time to spend a year stateside.

3. You already have a job lined up

A+ for organisation (you might also be your friend group’s Monica though) – well done and what are you waiting for? If you have a job waiting for you and all the rest of your Grad eligibility boxes ticked then all there is left to do is to get your application underway as soon as you can. Even if borders are still closed at the moment these restrictions won’t be in place forever and the best you can do right now is be ready to go as soon as you can.

4. You are independent

Unlike other American J1 visas the 1 Year USA Grad Visa is built for independence – this is a visa designed to help you start to make your own way in the world. Setting out on your own after graduating can be daunting, especially if you have decided to wander a bit further afield, but don’t let this put you off. This is the perfect opportunity for you to get that head start on your career with experience that makes you stand out that little bit more.

5. You have done the research

You have read the articles, stalked LinkedIn, done the homework. You know where you want to work and who you want to work for. You can’t quite see your career path laid out in front of you but you know the first step is Stateside. You know where you want to live, which city you want to see, which neighbourhoods you prefer. You have joined the local Facebook groups and got the low-down on the best places to get coffee. You know where your industry is booming and where the best experience can be had. You are ready.

6. You are ready to get out there

If lockdown and a global pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that there won’t always be another chance. While most of us have spent the year in yoga pants not doing yoga and watching everyone we follow on Instagram learn how to bake sourdough, maybe you have been furiously refreshing that DFA travel advisory site waiting for borders to re-open and watching Grad Visa YouTube stories on repeat . With the 1 Year Grad Visa you also have the extra ticking-clock of the time frame slowly closing the longer you leave it after the ink is dry on your (most likely virtual) graduation certificate. Not everyone this year will be lucky enough to get in under their Grad window either – while there still is no concrete news on when borders will be fully re-opened at the time of this article, if you get the chance, make sure you are ready to take it.

The 1 Year Grad Visa USA is now open for 2021 – apply now to get your application underway and be on the way to your Grad Visa adventure as soon as borders re-open. Booking now means you will also be covered by our Covid-19 Guarantee – you can read more about what that means here.

In the meantime if time has run out for you on your Grad Visa don’t worry – all is not lost. There may be other options for you in the USA on the PCT or the Internship visas, or you may be thinking about Canada or even Oz instead. You can get in touch with us today at or on 01-4362420.


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