The Worldwide Farmers Exchange (WFE) Viticulture & Enology Wine Making Program is generally oriented around the crush season and differs from the General Agriculture Program. Placements are approved by the host, with the process from acceptance of an applicant to arrival taking two weeks to two months and possibly longer. Apply to become a host now!
To apply to be a host, a signed Viticulture and Enology hosting application must be submitted by mail, although a preliminary electronic copy will help expedite the process. As a Viticulture and Enology host, you must be prepared to provide assistance in locating housing for participants, although rent and utility costs are the participants’ responsibility. When submitting a hosting application, it is also helpful to include any training plans or placement offers that are available.
2. Select Applicants
Hosts may select applicants independently or request to review applications from WFE’s pool. Once placement offers are made by the host, WFE must be notified of the names and contact details of the applicants. This will expedite the visa application process.
3. Training/Internship Placement Plan (DS-7002)
When an applicant has been selected, WFE and the host cooperate to prepare a Training/Internship Placement Plan (DS-7002). The DS-7002 must be signed by the host and the applicant. The DS-7002 is required by the U.S. Government and is an agreement between the host, the applicant, and WFE to carry out the training plan outlined in the form. Under U.S. Government regulations, WFE cannot prepare visa documents until the host and the applicant have signed and returned the DS-7002.
4. Visa Application Process
Once the DS-7002 has been signed, WFE prepares a Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status (DS-2019). The DS-2019 is sent via international express mail directly to the applicant or through an in-country partner, together with other documents the applicant needs to apply for a visa. The applicant must fill out the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-160), and arrange for an interview with a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Interview appointments are set by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate and the decision to grant or deny a visa is at the sole discretion of the consular officer. If a visa is denied, the applicant may choose to apply again. In the case that the applicant is unable to obtain a visa, hosts may opt to select another applicant. Visas are issued for a limited period, but are only necessary to enter the U.S. (see Grace Period).
Provided a visa is granted, participants must contact WFE and the host to coordinate their arrival. Viticulture & Enology Programs are agreed upon in the DS-7002 and may last up to 12 months. After arrival, the dates on the DS-2019 indicate the dates the participant may legally remain in the U.S.
WFE charges no fee to its Viticulture & Enology hosts. Hosts place participants on payroll and participants are responsible for payment of their program fees to WFE. While participants are subject to income tax deductions, they are exempt from Social Security and Medicare deductions, as set forth in IRS Publication 15 (circular E, page 41). WFE charges the applicant’s program fee after a visa is obtained to cover visa application document processing, provide medical insurance while in the U.S., and assist with U.S. tax returns.