So you’ve accepted an offer to work at a camp. Super great! Oh wait … more paperwork. Okay, it’ll be alright. Stay calm. We’ve got you covered …


Step 1 – Decide on an agency

Ah yes, the ominous agency. They are really great though. And quite friendly.

SO. Here’s the deal. You’ll need to apply for a J1 visa through one of the agencies (or one of the following Designated Sponsor Organizations). Depending on what country you are from will have an impact on which agency you apply through.  If an agency has a local office, that can be a big bonus/incentive for you.

It is really up to the individual to decide which agency they choose to use, as some agencies do not have offices in certain countries which adds international couriering of paperwork that can be avoided.

If you want to go sans agency, apply as a DIRECT PLACEMENT and that they register as soon as possible to move things along. The agencies get backed up with paperwork come late February right up until camp starts!


Step 2 – The paperwork to submit

The agency you choose will be your best friend. For real. They require paperwork so that they can act as your J1 sponsor. Again, if you go the DIRECT PLACEMENT route, then it will differ of course. For the standard agency route, they all will require from each candidate:

  • A placement letter from Camp Zion (whatever camp you’re applying to) – signed (can be digital signature) and on official letterhead
  • The various agency forms that they provide
  • An updated Medical Check from a doctor (camp can waive this for some agencies. InterExchange is the only one who doesn’t waive this)
  • An updated Police background Check (camp can waive this for some agencies. InterExchange is the only one who doesn’t waive this)
  • Passport photos
  • Visa paperwork – The link and step by step process will be provided to you by the agency you pick. Note: Each agency is slightly different. FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS OF YOUR CHOSEN AGENCY. Everyone becomes an expert once they apply and are likely to provide you with inaccurate information. FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS OF YOUR CHOSEN AGENCY.
  • For the J1 visa the following need to be completed
  • DS – 156
  • DS – 157 (only male participants)
  • DS – 158
  • You need to submit the first 5 points initially in order to be accepted by an agency. Once this is done and your DS-2019 form is sent for processing, then you can submit the above mentioned forms from the Embassy’s website to your agency. Please note Canadian staff does not need an embassy appointment. They only need to bring all the above-mentioned paperwork with them to the border crossing (usually the airport) on their way to an American camp.


Step 3 – Confirm your placement with your chosen agency

When you have submitted all your paperwork to an agency and your application in approved – please see each agency’s section on the specifics of how to navigate their website

  • Provide and confirm the dates of placement with Camp Zion
  • Once this is done, the agency will begin processing your DS-2019 form, which is essence the Visa itself. The printed piece in a passport is a representation of the visa.