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Help Centre

How can we help you today? If there’s anything you can’t find the answer to, drop us a message using our contact form.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Applying arrow
    • 1. Do I need a vaccine to do Camp America?

      Yes. To take part in the program and to travel to the USA, you need to be fully vaccinated with an accepted COVID-19 vaccine.

      For more information on what is an accepted WHO vaccine please visit:

      https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/proof-of-vaccination.html#covid-vaccines

    • 2. I have a criminal record. Would I still be allowed to apply for the programme?

      All issues are looked at on an individual basis. You must contact the Camp America office at +44 (0)207 581 7373 to discuss the situation prior to you attending an interview. Please note that if the offense was due to drink or drugs the US Embassy may ask you to attend a medical screening with one of their doctors and there is a substantial extra cost with this.

      Offences relating to drugs or violence will render you ineligible for the programme. Please also note that some camps undertake random drug testing during the summer.

    • 3. Can I apply with a friend?

      No, sorry, Camp America does not accept joint applications. This is because the camps need their staff to be flexible and act independently. Each placement of an applicant to camp is made individually based on your skills, experience and interests, as well as the dates you’re able to go. Our placement team do their best to match you as an individual person to the camp that is best suited.

      Applicants, however, are not prevented from attending Recruitment Fairs together - whereby they will meet directly with Camp Directors, who will ultimately decide whether or not they are prepared to hire friends. If there are positions available that suit you both then you may well be placed at the same camp, but this is upon the discretion of that individual Camp Director and not Camp America.

    • 4. Is there an application deadline?

      The application deadline is usually sometime in March/April although this is subject to change. The sooner you apply, the more you increase your chances of being placed.

    • 5. What do I do after I get the completed medical form back from my doctor?

      Please upload the medical form onto your application. If you run into any issues with this, please email a copy of your form to [email protected] and our team can upload it for you.

    • 6. Who can I get a reference from and what is the reference criteria?

      References are a very important part of your Camp America application. They can come from a manager/supervisor at work, lecturer/teacher at college or university, coach from a sports club/team or anyone who has had any professional contact with you. We cannot accept references from anyone in your family or who has only known you on an informal level. They should all have a good knowledge of your character and suitability for the programme and ideally have had professional contact with you for at least six months within the last year.

      You need two complete references to take part in the programme. At the time of completing your online application you will be asked to enter the full, professional contact details (no personal details) of two referees. These details need to include their name, name of organisation, business telephone number and email address as well as their position and relation to you. Once you complete your interview, if successful Camp America will automatically contact these referees via email to request a full reference that will be entered on to your application.

    • 7. Can I contact Camps directly to try and get a placement?

      Camp America’s official policy is to discourage independent attempts to contact camps as we are aware that some camps do not respond well to this method.

      You are free to support your application in any way you feel might be beneficial to your chances of placement, but please be aware that some camps are adverse to direct contact.

    • 8. I am graduating from university after Spring/Summer. Can I still apply for Campower positions?

      As long as you are a student when you apply, you may apply for the CP programme. You must understand that you may need to provide evidence to the US Embassy of your plans after you return home from camp.

    • 9. I did have a criminal record in the past, but it has now been removed. Do I still need to state this?

      Yes, you must. Please remember you are applying for a position in the USA and US law will take precedence over your local laws. The US Embassy wants to know everything from your past whether it will appear on a criminal record check or not.

    • 10. Do camp directors really look at my Social Networking sites?

      Yes they do! Please ensure you do not have anything on these sites that a director may find offensive (including comments, photos and posts you are tagged in) or give them reason to doubt your suitability to work with children. Each season participants lose their placement even before they depart for camp for this reason.

    • 11. Do I get to choose which state I work in?

      It’s not part of the application from to pick the state that you’d like to work in. We have hundreds of camps that are spread all over America and the majority of them are based in East Coast states. On your application form you will be able to tell us what type of camps you’d like to work on. With that information, as well as your skills, experience and interests, we will match you to a camp that we think suits you best.

    • 12. I am having problems uploading a photo onto the DS-160 form, what should I do?

      This is OK as you are still able to submit the application without one. The photo upload will need to fail three times before you can bypass this step. You will then simply need to bring a US Passport sized photo / visa photo (2x2 inches) along to your J-1 visa interview at the US Embassy or Consulate.

    • 13. My camp has also sent me a medical form. Do I need to have my GP complete both?

      It is not unusual for camps to send you a medical form to complete as they send out the same information to you as they send to their American staff. If you ask your doctor to complete both forms, you will be charged for both of them. Have your Camp America medical form completed and send a copy of this to your camp as well as to Camp America.

    • 14. What does ‘Place’ mean when signing my DS-2019 form?

      This is a very common question! You simply need to state the city / town you reside in when signing the form!

    • 15. When will I get my ticket?

      As all airline tickets are now electronic tickets, no physical tickets exist and all you need to do is to print a copy of your flight page from your online site (as this will have your PNR locator number and ticket number) and bring this with you on the day. When you arrive at the airline desk you will just need to present your passport and say what flight you are on.

    • 16. Do I get a refund if I am not placed?

      Unfortunately, the first deposit is non-refundable. However, if you have paid further Camp America fees, we will be able to refund these. We cannot refund any third-party payments you’ve made such as police check fees. The refund is automatically processed back to the account that you have made your payments from.

    • 17. Does applying early really increase my placement chances?

      Yes it does! When we open the recruitment season in August-September we have almost 8,000 positions available. With each passing day that number decreases, so the earlier you apply the better!

    • 18. What skills and experience do I need to have?

      The skills and experience you need to have should be relevant to the activity areas that you want to work on at camp. If you want to apply to teach activities to children, then you will be applying for the Counselor role where there are plenty of activity areas you could be hired in. Depending on your hobbies and interests there’s bound to be a skill area on camp that you could teach, but you need to have the knowledge level and confidence to be able to teach this to children. So, it could be in, sports, drama, music, outdoor adventure, media, performing arts, water sports. Any experience in food preparation, maintenance work or housekeeping would be valuable for a Campower role. Due to visa restrictions, only full-time students can be offered the Campower role.

      If you’re applying for any Counselor roles then it can also be advantageous if you have any examples of childcare experience. Whether this is voluntary or paid positions and with any aged children, the more experience you can demonstrate on your application the better, although it’s definitely not essential, especially if you are a skilled activity specialist or applying for the Campower role.

      To learn more about the individual Counselor and Campower roles available, please see our Camp Jobs page.

    • 19. How old do I have to be to apply?

      It is a visa regulation that participants must be 18 when they fly to the United States, therefore Camp America does not accept applications from people who are not 18 by 15th of June. You can start your application before you turn 18 as long as your birthday is within the full application season and before 15th June.

    • 20. When do I need to be available and for how long?

      To be able to apply for the programme, applicants need to be available to fly to camp between the dates of 1st May and 30th June. This is due to when most camps start and you must be able to arrive in time complete staff training and orientation. You can enter the earliest date you can depart on your application.

      Although all the camps that we work with have varying programmes and dates, we do ask that all applicants are available to be at camp for a minimum of 9 weeks. This is the typical placement length for most camps, but it can be slightly more or less. The longer you’re available the better, but you can expect to be on camp for around 9 weeks from your camp’s start date once hired. By giving us your earliest start date, we will match you to a camp that welcomes their staff on or after that date, so you could still depart later than your earliest available date.

    • 21. What do I get from Camp America?

      Firstly, we will help you get your placement at camp. Having worked with summer camps in the USA since 1969, the camps trust our applicant recommendations and we know which camps you’ll have amazing summers with. We work with more camps and make more placements than any other organisation every summer and, unlike other organisations, we will also serve as the sponsor necessary for you to get your J-1 visa.

      You will also receive payment for your placement at camp (we call it ‘pocket money’). As a first-time applicant you’ll get anywhere between USD $1000-$2150* depending on your country of application, skill level & experience. As a returner, you will be able to negotiate your own salary direct with the camp. You also get Group International Accident and Sickness coverage** that covers you from the time you leave the UK until your return, so this includes your travel time after camp and not just while you’re working. Whilst you’re working on camp all your food and accommodation is covered by the camp. A return flight to New York is also included*** and full J-1 visa sponsorship and visa papers.

      As well as all of that you also get 24-hour support in America, and friendly, professional, enthusiastic support throughout your Camp America application. Camp America is also great work experience for your CV and gives you the opportunity for independent travel as you’re able to stay in the USA for up to 30 days after your camp placement has finished.

      *if you are applying from Israel, please visit www.campamerica.co.il for specific cost information

      **pre-existing conditions excluded

      ***in some countries flight options are not available and applicants must arrange their own transport

    • 22. Why Camp America?

      Camp America is the chance to do something different with your summer, living and working either with children as an activity leader/counselor or ‘behind the scenes’ as support staff, on an American Summer Camp!

      In terms of broadening your horizons, seeing another country in a whole new light, meeting new people, travelling to new places and adding vital experience to your CV, Camp America provides an excellent cultural exchange programme. Nearly 8,000 applicants around the world are placed every year.

      The price of our programme includes:

      • Travel to your camp, including flights from London and other major global cities that we recruit in. (Other gateways come with additional costs.)
      • Return flights from New York to your city of departure.
      • Accommodation and food for your entire stay on camp.
      • Pocket money.
      • Group International Accident & Sickness Coverage for your entire stay in the USA.

      The type of work on camp directly relates to your skills and interests. For example, if you are a keen swimmer who lifeguards, there will be positions at camp to suit you.

  • Placement & Pre-Departure arrow
    • 1. Where can I find my Medical Form?

      If you can’t access it via your Online Account, you can download it here:

      Medical Form

    • 2. My Pocket Money rate is incorrect.

      Your pocket money rate is determined by:

      • Your age (as of June 15th)
      • The position you have been hired for
      • Your skills and experience

      Participants with very high skills and experience may be eligible for increased pocket money and this is usually determined once your application has been accepted onto the programme. Please note that increased pocket money is offered for those participants with high skills and experience ONLY in high demand camp activities and if you are hired to teach that activity. For example, a highly skilled netball player will not be eligible for the increased pocket money as netball is not a high demand skill at a US camp. Also, an experienced chef will not receive increased pocket money if you are hired as a general counsellor.

      If you truly feel your pocket money rate to be incorrect, please write to [email protected].

    • 3. My doctor is away or unable to complete my medical form right away. Will this be a problem?

      As long as we get your medical form well before your assigned departure date do not worry if there is a delay.

    • 4. My camp has sent me US tax forms and immigration forms to complete. What do I do?

      Camps do not always differentiate between their US and international staff and send the same materials to all. Contact your camp and ask them if it is OK for you to complete these tax forms when you arrive to ensure you do it correctly. As for immigration forms you do not need to complete these as you will have a visa.

    • 5. How long will it take before a placement is found?

      Once your application is complete it is then viewable to the camps we work with. There is no set time on how long it takes before a placement is found. This will depend on the skills you offer, your availability date and your supporting documents. Placements can sometimes come quickly and for others they may have to wait months. Please note that not all applicants will be offered a placement.

    • 6. Can I contact Camps directly to try and get a placement?

      Camp America’s official policy is to discourage independent attempts to contact camps as we are aware that some camps do not respond well to this method.

      You are free to support your application in any way you feel might be beneficial to your chances of placement, but please be aware that some camps are adverse to direct contact.

    • 7. Why must I accept my placement?

      It is very important that you are happy with the camp you have been placed at. Please remember that your placement was based on information you provided on your application form. You do have the option to reject a placement, but it really must be for a good reason. If you choose to reject a placement you must understand the following:

      • Camp America cannot guarantee that we will be able to find you a new placement.
      • As a placement was secured for you – you will not be eligible for a refund of your fees if no new placement is found.

      We recommend that you get as much information about the camp and the position you have been hired for. Speak to the camp as well concerning your worries. If after all this,you still wish to reject your placement please email [email protected]. We will notify your camp of your decision and your application will be placed back into general circulation in the hope that a new placement can be found.

    • 8. Do camp directors really look at my Social Networking sites?

      Yes they do! Please ensure you do not have anything on these sites that a director may find offensive (including comments, photos and posts you are tagged in) or give them reason to doubt your suitability to work with children. Each season participants lose their placement even before they depart for camp for this reason.

    • 9. I am having problems uploading a photo onto the DS-160 form, what should I do?

      This is OK as you are still able to submit the application without one. The photo upload will need to fail three times before you can bypass this step. You will then simply need to bring a US Passport sized photo / visa photo (2x2 inches) along to your J-1 visa interview at the US Embassy or Consulate.

    • 10. My camp has also sent me a medical form. Do I need to have my GP complete both?

      It is not unusual for camps to send you a medical form to complete as they send out the same information to you as they send to their American staff. If you ask your doctor to complete both forms, you will be charged for both of them. Have your Camp America medical form completed and send a copy of this to your camp as well as to Camp America.

    • 11. When will I get my ticket?

      As all airline tickets are now electronic tickets, no physical tickets exist and all you need to do is to print a copy of your flight page from your online site (as this will have your PNR locator number and ticket number) and bring this with you on the day. When you arrive at the airline desk you will just need to present your passport and say what flight you are on.

    • 12. Do I get a refund if I am not placed?

      Unfortunately, the first deposit is non-refundable. However, if you have paid further Camp America fees, we will be able to refund these. We cannot refund any third-party payments you’ve made such as police check fees. The refund is automatically processed back to the account that you have made your payments from.

    • 13. My doctor wants to charge me a lot of money to complete the medical form. Must this really be done?

      Yes, all Camp America participants are required to submit a completed medical form from their doctor before departure. We realise this can add an extra expense, and unfortunately, there's not much we can do on our end to change this. We're sorry for the hassle and appreciate your understanding.

  • Flights to USA arrow
    • 1. How can I order my meal on the plane?

      Meal requests must be made directly with the airlines no later than 48 hours before the flight. For specific requests you will need to either check on your airline website or contact them directly once you have your ticket number.

    • 2. How much luggage can I take/can I add a suitcase/can I upgrade my flight?

      For specific requests you will need to either check on your airline website or contact them directly once you have your ticket number. CA flights include one standard checked luggage item which can weigh approx. 23kg. Please make sure to check your airline website for full information.

    • 3. Can I fly out early to travel before camp on a CA flight?

      No, all CA flights are booked to coincide with your camp start date.

    • 4. What if I can't make my flight date/I think camp want me to fly on a different date?

      Contact us urgently - either email [email protected] or phone 020 7581 7334.

      NOTE - your flight and start date are the same date. You do not normally fly out before your start date.

    • 5. When will I get my outbound flight details?

      We will start booking the flights in the New Year. Full details will be added to your CA flights page anytime from then until approx. 4 weeks before your start date. Please login regularly for updates. You should expect to fly on your camp start date (or possibly the day before if there are no suitable flights and you are available). It is likely that you will have an early morning flight so that you have time to travel to camp once you land in the US. You will be landing into the airport requested by your camp, which is most likely the airport closest to them.

    • 6. I have already confirmed my flight why am I being asked to do it again?

      Flights must be confirmed 3 times:

      1. Confirmation of the assigned flight date.
      2. Confirmation of the flight information once it appears on your online account.
      3. Final confirmation 72 hours prior to your assigned flight date.
    • 7. Will I be met upon my arrival in the USA?

      You will be met by a camp representative, or you make need to take further transportation, please check your arrival to the US information. There are always exceptions, and you should always check your Arrival in America instructions. Not all camps are able to make it to the airport to greet you.

    • 8. I cannot make the check-in time - what do I do?

      The check-in time listed on your flight page is the time we would like you to be at the airport. If you are unable to make the check-in time, what time do you expect to arrive? Please remember that airports are very busy places, and it can take a fair bit of time to check in, drop your bags with the airlines and go through security. For international flights it is recommended you arrive at the airport 3 hours prior to departure. If you are unable to make this, please call Camp America at +44 207 581 7373 or email: [email protected]

    • 9. I am flying from Glasgow, Edinburgh or Belfast and must change planes in London. Do I need to collect my bag?

      It will depend on if the flight is on one or two tickets. If the flight is on one ticket and with the same airlines (or partner airlines) you will not need to collect your bags upon arrival in London as you will automatically be transferred. If you are on two separate tickets, then you will need to collect your bags and check in again.

    • 10. Why can I not see my booking on my airline website?

      In many cases you may be booked on flights where Camp America has blocked group seats. In these cases the names of the passengers are not given to the airlines until a few days before your departure date and therefore the airlines will not have your name on their system yet.

    • 11. Can I change my flight?

      Please remember the flight date was set by the camp director and any change puts your placement at a serious risk. It would need to be a very good and unavoidable reason for this request to be made. If you cannot make the flight on your assigned departure date please email: [email protected]. If a flight has already been ticketed, you will be charged a penalty fee for a change to be made.

    • 12. How do I get to camp after my arrival?

      You will be met by your camp or given instructions on how to travel to camp after your arrival.

      In any case, we always advise applicants to check your ‘Travel to Camp’ instructions that can be found on your online account. All these instructions are individual to you and your placement so make sure you’re familiar with them before you fly and also take a printed copy of them with you as they will have important contact details included.

    • 13. When will I get my ticket?

      As all airline tickets are now electronic tickets, no physical tickets exist and all you need to do is to print a copy of your flight page from your online site (as this will have your PNR locator number and ticket number) and bring this with you on the day. When you arrive at the airline desk you will just need to present your passport and say what flight you are on.

    • 14. What are my flight travel options as a returner?

      As a returning participant you have two options concerning your flight to the USA:

      Option 1 – Own Transport
      You can make and pay for all your return travel to the USA and to your camp. Camp America will not charge your camp any agency fees and therefore you should receive the same salary as an American staff member.

      Option 2 – Camp America Flight
      If you prefer letting Camp America book your flights, we are happy to do so. Please note that your camp will then be charged for the cost of this flight and it is most likely that the camp will deduct this amount from the salary they offer you. Please contact Camp America for the exact amount your camp will be charged. Please note that all return flights will depart from New York regardless of where you were flown to.

    • 15. How much luggage can I take?

      Please check the website of the airline you are travelling on for this information. Camp America will not be held responsible for excess luggage charges.

    • 16. Can I choose my own flight date to camp?

      Your flight date is chosen by your camp based on the availability date you listed on your application and when the camp needs for you to arrive.

    • 17. How will I get to camp?

      If you are on the CA flights package this will be arranged for you and full details will be added to your CA flights page nearer to your departure date. Most camps will pick you up at the airport, however some will need you to get buses or other transport to the closest town - if this is you please don’t worry, CA will plan this for you and give you detailed instructions.

      Hopefully you’ll also be travelling with others who are going to your camp. If you have any questions on this once you have your information, please call and talk to us in the office (0207 581 7373) we’ve all done this before and can hopefully help. If you are arranging your own flights, please speak with your Camp Director about your arrival.

  • Return Flights arrow
    • 1. How can I order my meal on the plane?

      Meal requests must be made directly with the airlines no later than 48 hours before the flight. For specific requests you will need to either check on your airline website or contact them directly once you have your ticket number.

    • 2. How much luggage can I take/can I add a suitcase/can I upgrade my flight?

      For specific requests you will need to either check on your airline website or contact them directly once you have your ticket number. CA flights include one standard checked luggage item which can weigh approx. 23kg. Please make sure to check your airline website for full information.

    • 3. Can I choose a DIY/flexible flight for my return?

      If you are returning to London then this option is available for you. Login to your CA account from early April onwards for full information and to purchase this upgraded flight package. If you are flying out of Scotland and would like to take this option, please email us - [email protected] - and we can let you know further information about this. Please note you will need to return to London.

    • 4. When will I be able to select my return flight?

      From early April, through your online CA site. Please login and check the options available for you. They include CA return flights from New York, and you will need to select the date you would like to return before you depart for camp.

    • 5. I have chosen a fixed flight option. When will I receive my return flight information?

      Return flight information will appear on the flight page of your Camp America online account sometime after you arrive in the US.

    • 6. What if I miss my flight home?

      Please don’t! If you miss your flight home, you will need to pay the full cost of a new ticket and then may be required to wait (at your own expense) for the next available flight. Please try to arrive in your departure city the day before your flight.

    • 7. Why can I not see my booking on my airline website?

      In many cases you may be booked on flights where Camp America has blocked group seats. In these cases the names of the passengers are not given to the airlines until a few days before your departure date and therefore the airlines will not have your name on their system yet.

    • 8. What are my flight travel options as a returner?

      As a returning participant you have two options concerning your flight to the USA:

      Option 1 – Own Transport
      You can make and pay for all your return travel to the USA and to your camp. Camp America will not charge your camp any agency fees and therefore you should receive the same salary as an American staff member.

      Option 2 – Camp America Flight
      If you prefer letting Camp America book your flights, we are happy to do so. Please note that your camp will then be charged for the cost of this flight and it is most likely that the camp will deduct this amount from the salary they offer you. Please contact Camp America for the exact amount your camp will be charged. Please note that all return flights will depart from New York regardless of where you were flown to.

    • 9. What are my return flight options?

      For those on London flights you will have two options – Fixed Date and Flexible. If you are flying back to any other airport, only the Fixed Flight Date option is available.

      1. Fixed Flight Option – In this option you will be asked to choose a return flight date. Dates start the day after your camp assignment ends and flights are Monday to Friday only. Flights depart from New York (JFK or Newark airports) only, regardless of where you were flown to when you arrived in the US. Many flights are overnight flights that will arrive the next day, or they may depart New York as early as 8am. This option is FREE if you choose the date BEFORE you fly to the USA. If you choose this option, you must choose a return date as soon as possible. Prior to your flight to the US, you may change your return date choice at no extra fee, however, please note this is dependent on your individual flight booking and your departure airports. Exceptions to the free change would be if we’ve booked your flight round trip which would require a fee to change the date. We advise that you check your booking with us at the time we contact you about your flights. Once you arrive in the US, any change request will incur a penalty fee. If you do not pick your return date after choosing this option before departing for the USA, you will be charged this penalty fee when you pick your date in the USA.
      2. Flexible Flight Option – If you are unsure of when you need to be home by or just would like some flexibility, you may decide on a Flexible return ticket. With a Flexible ticket you do not need to choose a return flight date before you depart for the US. You can choose while you are in the US (flights are subject to availability). You can fly from New York or from many other selected cities throughout the country, but you will only be able to choose a Flexible option if you depart from and return to London. This is also an optional extra and there will be an additional fee for a Flexible ticket. Once Flexible tickets and prices are available to purchase and if you are eligible, you will be given this option on the flight page on your online account.
    • 10. How much luggage can I take?

      Please check the website of the airline you are travelling on for this information. Camp America will not be held responsible for excess luggage charges.

  • Returners arrow
    • 1. Do I need to submit new references and be interviewed again if I’m returning?

      If you’re returning to the same camp that you’ve previously worked at, you do not need to get new references or have another interview. However, if you’re going back to a camp that you’ve previously worked at and have not been there for two years or more, then we do require you to get two new and up-to-date references to support your application.

      If you’re applying to a new camp, then you will need two new references and to complete a face-to-face interview with Camp America. Please note that one of these references must be from your previous camp.

    • 2. What are my flight travel options as a returner?

      As a returning participant you have two options concerning your flight to the USA:

      Option 1 – Own Transport
      You can make and pay for all your return travel to the USA and to your camp. Camp America will not charge your camp any agency fees and therefore you should receive the same salary as an American staff member.

      Option 2 – Camp America Flight
      If you prefer letting Camp America book your flights, we are happy to do so. Please note that your camp will then be charged for the cost of this flight and it is most likely that the camp will deduct this amount from the salary they offer you. Please contact Camp America for the exact amount your camp will be charged. Please note that all return flights will depart from New York regardless of where you were flown to.

    • 3. Does returning cost the same as my first year?

      As a UK returner to the same camp, you pay a lot less then you did in your first summer. The main reason for this is that there’s not as much office and admin work required for your application. Also, by going back to the same camp there’s no placement charges to that camp which means you don’t need to pay as much to Camp America!

      You also have a couple of different options in terms of your travel to camp, which will also impact you being able to negotiate your pocket money directly with the camp. Check out the Returner Costs for more information about this.

      Please note that your fees as a returner are dependent on the country you are applying from. We recommend you explore the information on our current season’s cost page for more information.

    • 4. As a returner, can I apply to a different camp?

      The simple answer is yes you can! If you are thinking of trying out a different experience for next summer, then you’re welcome to apply to a new camp. When you re-activate your profile, you can select an option for your application to be sent to other camps. To do this you will need to update your application and complete the required sections, you will also be required to attend another Camp America interview with one of our Interviewers.

      Please note that as part of your application to a new camp, you will be required to submit two new references to support you. As you have already spent a summer at camp, one of these references must be from your previous camp. Ideally it should be completed by your Camp Director and if you are not able to get in touch with them, please let Camp America know as soon as possible.

  • US Taxes arrow
    • 1. Will my pocket money be subject to US Tax?

      Due to recent changes to the tax laws in the U.S. income tax system, and the elimination of personal exemptions (which was $4,050 per individual in 2017), Camp Counselors and Campowers (who hold J-1 visas) will now have taxes deducted from their pocket money and will be required to file a U.S.

      Federal income tax return and in certain cases, a State income tax return to satisfy their U.S. income tax liability. Please be aware that Camp America cannot legally give advice on US taxes.

    • 2. What is the deadline for submission of US Tax Return?

      April 15, 2024

    • 3. What is a W-4 Tax form?

      When you arrive at camp you will be asked to complete a W-4 US tax form. All workers in the USA, when starting a new job, must complete this form. Camp America is not a licensed US tax advisor and as such cannot help you with the completion of this form. Please speak with your camp if you have difficulties completing it.

    • 4. What is a US Tax Return?

      The US tax system is very different to what you are used to in your home country. Your camp is responsible for deducting tax from your salary and then sending you a W-2 to report on the amount deducted.

      In order to ensure that the camp has deducted the correct amount in taxes, you are required to complete a US tax return no later than April 15 of the following year. After completing this return, if you have paid too much in taxes you will receive a refund from the US government. If you have not paid any taxes at all or the camp deducted too little then you are responsible for this shortfall.

      In order to complete your US tax return you MUST have the following – Your Social Security Number, Your W-2 tax form and your DS2019 visa form.

    • 5. What is a Social Security number and how do I get one?

      A US Social security number is a US tax identification number that all workers must have in the USA, equivalent to the National Insurance number in the UK. Upon your arrival in the USA, your camp will take you to the local Social Security office for you to apply for a number. Once you receive your number it is VERY important to keep the number safe as you will need it to complete your US Tax return once you return home.

      If you have arrived at your camp and the camp has not arranged for you to get a social security number, please contact Camp America right away.

    • 6. How do I Complete my US Tax Return?

      Camp America is not a licensed tax advisor and as such cannot assist with the completion of the US Tax Return.

      Camp America does work with a US tax specialist called Sprintax who can help you do these forms at a Camp America arranged discounted rate. You can also do the forms on your own if you feel confident.

      Camp America will send you a reminder in February after your return home about your US tax obligation including information about Sprintax and how to use their service.

    • 7. How much of my pocket money will be taxed?

      This will depend on the state your camp is located in, but the normal amount is around 10% of the declared salary the camp reports to the US Internal Revenue Service (US tax agency). It is important to please keep this in mind when calculating your spending money after camp.

    • 8. My camp has sent me US tax forms and immigration forms to complete. What do I do?

      Camps do not always differentiate between their US and international staff and send the same materials to all. Contact your camp and ask them if it is OK for you to complete these tax forms when you arrive to ensure you do it correctly. As for immigration forms you do not need to complete these as you will have a visa.

    • 9. Will my pocket money be subject to US Tax?

      Due to recent changes to the tax laws in the U.S. income tax system, and the elimination of personal exemptions (which was $4,050 per individual in 2017), Camp Counselors and Campowers (who hold J-1 visas) will now have taxes deducted from their pocket money and will be required to file a U.S. Federal income tax return and, in certain cases, a State income tax return to satisfy their U.S. income tax liability. Please be aware that Camp America cannot legally give advice on US taxes.

  • Visas arrow
    • 1. What is the process to obtain a J-1 Visa?

      The Visa process officially begins in January for placed participants. Once you accept your placement, your references have been checked and approved, and your police check has been received, your visa process will begin! Important visa papers called DS-2019 forms will be issued by the US State Department in Washington D.C. and printed in America. DS-2019 forms are then sent from our US office to your local Camp America office. This process can take anywhere between 5-10 working days depending on where you are in the world. All DS-2019 forms will be sent to the primary address you supply on your Camp America application.

      If you live in the UK, you will need to book in for a US Embassy J-1 visa appointment at the US Embassy in London or with the US Consulate General in Belfast. To do so, please refer to the instructional PDFs that are on the visa page of your Camp America Direct account. You will receive confirmation of your US Embassy appointment via email directly from the US Embassy containing your confirmation. If you live outside the UK, you will be required to book your own US Embassy appointment directly with the US Embassy but please check with your local Camp America office for further details.

    • 2. My DS-2019 hasn’t got my middle name on it, is this going to be a problem?

      It is important that both passport information and visa information is correct. It is essential when applying for the Camp America programme, you enter your full name (as shown in passport) as this is the information from which your visa papers are printed. If, upon receiving your visa papers, you notice your middle name is missing, you must call Camp America immediately in order for a member of the team to input this data onto the system which will trigger a reprint of the form. It is imperative that you do this as quickly as possible, to avoid delays to the visa process. If you fail to provide this information on your application when applying to the Camp America programme, you may be charged a DS-2019 reprint fee.

    • 3. I have received a new DS-2019 and I have already had my visa appointment, what do I do?

      If you received an updated version of your DS-2019 form after attending your appointment, you will need to take both the original and updated versions upon flying to the US.

    • 4. I have been asked to provide documentary evidence of proof of return, what is classed as sufficient?

      Providing documentary proof of return is extremely important and really can be the deciding factor when being granted a visa or not. We stress that it is definitely better to have too much than too little! Ideally, the Embassies favour a letter from an employer or university. Outside of this, any other documentation can only be viewed as supportive. If you are unable to provide either a letter from an employer or University, other documents we suggest you include are:

      • A detailed personal letter (written by you) stating your plans upon returning to the UK/to your home country.
      • Bank statements
      • Mobile phone contracts (18/24 months)
      • UCAS Letter
      • Graduates are able to use any Student Finance letters to state that you are required to pay your student loan off.
      • Utility bills / Tenancy agreements
    • 5. I have received another DS-2019 form and I don’t know why?

      Often many of you will receive reprints of your DS-2019 Form (also known as the Certificate of Eligibility). Although it may seem as if both forms are identical, you will need to use the most recent form when attending your Visa appointment as something has changed on your system which has triggered this to happen. It could be due to a number of reasons such as a start or end date change. You will need to send your original form back into our CA office with a little note stating that you received a reprint.

    • 6. What items do I need to bring to my visa appointment?

      Please read the cover letter sent to you in your DS-2019 visa pack as this gives specific guidelines as to exactly what you need to bring with you to the U.S. Embassy for your J-1 visa appointment. Additionally, this information is outlined on your Camp America Direct account in the instructional PDFs.

      The following items should be placed in your clear plastic wallet in this order:

      • Your passport at the front.
      • A printout of the U.S. Embassy’s confirmation of your appointment email (this is emailed directly to you from the U.S. Embassy once your appointment has been booked).
      • A printout of the receipt that came with your appointment email. It is a confirmation of your payment.
      • Non-immigrant Visa Application (DS-160) online form – print off the sheet that has your barcode – the link to this form is contained within instructions on your Camp America Direct visa page.
      • Certificate of Eligibility for J-1 visa (DS-2019 form) signed and dated.
      • Notice of Action or SEVIS I-901 Fee (you will be required to print this yourself; please follow directions from either the original instructional guide included in your visa pack or the instructional PDFs on your Camp America Direct visa pages).
      • Letter of support from Camp America – this was included in your visa pack or it is available to print from your Camp America Direct visa page.
      • Documentary evidence/proof of return – as outlined above and in the instructional PDFs on your Camp America Direct visa page.
    • 7. Does my passport need to be valid for 6 months after my return from the USA?

      If you are applying at the US Embassy in London or Consulate General in Belfast then the answer to this question is NO. As long as your passport is valid up to the time you return from the USA then you are OK. If you are applying at an embassy outside of the UK please check with the US Embassy on that country concerning the 6 month passport validity rule.

    • 8. Am I required to attend a face-to-face appointment at the US Embassy?

      UK Applicants – Yes, everyone is required to do a face-to-face interview at the US Embassy in the UK.

      Non-UK Applicants – Please check with the US Embassy in your country if you are required to attend a face-to-face appointment.

    • 9. I haven’t received a DS-160 form, where can I find this?

      A DS-160 form will not be sent to you. The DS-160 form is for you to complete online prior to your US Embassy appointment. Once you have access to your DS2019 form, you will be directed to log onto your Online Account and into the ‘Visa’ tab where documents will be available to guide you through the DS-160 application. The URL is also within this document so it is essential that it is used in order to minimise potential errors.

    • 10. How do I book an appointment at the US Embassy to get my J-1 Visa?

      It is the policy of the US Embassy that you book your own embassy or consulate appointment. Once you have received your visa pack from Camp America, then and ONLY then, can you book your US Embassy appointment. Please refer to the instructional guide that was included in your visa pack, as well as the instructional PDFs on your Camp America Direct site for guidance on how to book these appointments.

    • 11. How long does it take for the visa to be processed?

      This varies depending on the country you are applying in. Most embassies will take 2-3 business days to process your application and another 2-3 business days to return your passport. In the UK the embassy in London can take 7-10 business days to process and return your passport to you. For exact times please contact your local US Embassy.

      Please understand it is the responsibility of the applicant to arrange their visa in time for their assigned Camp America departure flight. Failure to provide enough time for the visa may lead to a cancellation of your application or penalty fees if your flight must be rebooked.

    • 12. I am having problems uploading a photo onto the DS-160 form, what should I do?

      This is OK as you are still able to submit the application without one. The photo upload will need to fail three times before you can bypass this step. You will then simply need to bring a US Passport sized photo / visa photo (2x2 inches) along to your J-1 visa interview at the US Embassy or Consulate.

    • 13. What does ‘Place’ mean when signing my DS-2019 form?

      This is a very common question! You simply need to state the city / town you reside in when signing the form!

  • Police Check & Criminal Issues arrow
    • 1. I have a criminal record. Would I still be allowed to apply for the programme?

      All issues are looked at on an individual basis. You must contact the Camp America office at +44 (0)207 581 7373 to discuss the situation prior to you attending an interview. Please note that if the offense was due to drink or drugs the US Embassy may ask you to attend a medical screening with one of their doctors and there is a substantial extra cost with this.

      Offences relating to drugs or violence will render you ineligible for the programme. Please also note that some camps undertake random drug testing during the summer.

    • 2. I did have a criminal record in the past, but it has now been removed. Do I still need to state this?

      Yes, you must. Please remember you are applying for a position in the USA and US law will take precedence over your local laws. The US Embassy wants to know everything from your past whether it will appear on a criminal record check or not.

Ready for the experience?

Start your application today and prepare for an entire summer working abroad, travelling the USA, and becoming a positive role model for children and young adults. If you still have questions, just use our contact form to get in touch.