Corps Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Application Process and Requirements for non-U.S. residents (International Corps Members)
What position should I apply for?
Non-U.S. Residents should apply to be an International Corps Member. See position description to see if this program is right for you.
What are the required qualifications to be an International Corps Member?
- No Criminal Record
- Conversational English
- Between 18 and 28 years of age
- 4 year college degree in the environmental field and 1 year of work experience in the environmental field*
- 5 years of work experience in the environmental field*
*Please note that EarthCorps is required by the US government to ensure that every applicant meets strict criteria in order to qualify for a US J-1 Trainee visa. You must have a university degree in an environmental field and/or environmental work experience to qualify.
What are J-1 Visa requirements?
To qualify for the J-1 Visa applicants must have experience in their field; either five years of work experience or an academic degree and one year of work experience. Work experience may be paid or unpaid. Learn more about the J-1 program at the State Department Website.
J-VISA International corps members participate in the EarthCorps program as Exchange Visitors through the United States’ State Department. Once accepted into EarthCorps participants must secure a J-1 visa through their local United States Consulate. This process involves an online application, in person interview and a $160 (US Dollar) processing fee.
Some J-1 Visa recipients may be subject to the two-year home-country foreign residency requirement if your travel is funded by either your government or the U.S. government or involves specialized knowledge or skills deemed necessary by your home country. If this requirement applies, you must return to your home country for a cumulative total of two years at the end of your exchange visitor program. You are not prohibited from traveling to the United States but may not benefit from certain employment-based or family-based visas until the foreign residency requirement is satisfied. If you are unable to return to your home country to fulfill the two-year requirement, you must obtain a waiver approved by the Department of Homeland Security prior to changing status in the United States or being issued a visa in certain categories for travel to the United States.
How many people apply to be international corps members?
EarthCorps is very competitive. On average, EarthCorps receives up to 200 applications for 12 international corps member positions.
Does EarthCorps pay for Airfare?
No, unfortunately EarthCorps does not offer financial assistance for airfare. Program participants pay for their travel expenses to Seattle. Once here in Seattle all basic needs (housing, local transit, meals, medical insurance) are covered by EarthCorps.
Most of our participants do quite a bit of fundraising to buy their plane tickets.
Does EarthCorps accept international applicants who are outside of the 18-28 age range?
No, EarthCorps generally does not accept applicants for the international corps member position who fall outside of the EarthCorps age criteria of 18-28. EarthCorps implements a training program designed for young adults from around the world who are looking to develop hands-on skills in the environmental field. It is important that we adhere to our age requirements to foster a peer group model.
International experience in Seattle
Where do international participants live in Seattle?
All international participants stay with a host family while living in Seattle. Host families provide a room, food and a chance to learn about the culture of Seattle. Corps members are expected to prepare their own food and perform their own household chores.
How physically demanding is the restoration work?
EarthCorps restoration projects involve lifting, digging, carrying, using heavy tools and moving large objects. EarthCorps programs focus on hands-on field service to teach participants about environmental restoration, community building and leadership.
Restoration is physically demanding service that takes place outdoors in all weather conditions. Proper physical preparation is necessary to participate fully in the program. Each year new members consistently underestimate the physical and mental requirements. Service regularly involves:
- Long days of repetitively shoveling, digging, and swinging heavy tools,
- Heavy lifting up to 40 lbs. (18 kg) and bending,
- Working, eating, and living in the outdoors in all weather conditions
- Walking on steep or uneven terrain up to 8 mi. (13 km) while carrying 40 lbs. (18 kg) of weight
- Working in extremes of heat or cold
What benefits does EarthCorps provide international participants?
EarthCorps international participants are supported while participating in the program and do not have to pay to join. We support our corps by providing:
- Housing in the form of a host family
- Medical Insurance
- Local Transportation (bus pass)
- Gear for work and camping
- A small monthly stipend for incidental expenses.
Application Process and Requirements for US residents (AmeriCorps Members)
What position should I apply for?
If you are an U.S. resident applying to EarthCorps for the first time, you will most likely apply for the AmeriCorps Corps Member position. If you’ve had extensive restoration experience, or have already participated as an EarthCorps corps member, you may be qualified to apply to be a Crew Leader or Volunteer Specialist.
AmeriCorps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), an independent federal agency whose mission is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering.
AmeriCorps engages more than 75,000 members in intensive service annually to serve through nonprofit, faith-based, and community organizations at 25,000 locations across the country. These members help communities tackle pressing problems while mobilizing millions of volunteers for the organizations they serve. Since 1994, more than 1,000,000 Americans have served their communities and country through AmeriCorps.
What is the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award?
The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award is a post-service benefit received by individuals who complete terms of national service in approved AmeriCorps. After completion of your AmeriCorps service with EarthCorps, you may be eligible to receive up to a $5,815 Award. Some limitations apply that can be found on the AmeriCorps website.
Where do EarthCorps AmeriCorps members live?
EarthCorps does not provide housing for U.S. participants in our corps program, and therefore corps members are responsible for finding their own housing.
Many of our corps members live in shared housing situations and budget carefully. Generally one can find rooms in the city for $500-$600. If you have liabilities other than education debt (which AmeriCorps allows you to defer payment on during your term of service) we encourage you to carefully assess if you can commit to this service opportunity before applying.
How much is the AmeriCorps stipend?
The AmeriCorps member position is a volunteer service position. EarthCorps AmeriCorps members receive a modest stipend to offset housing and living expenses. Seattle’s vibrant economy makes it an expensive city to live in. EarthCorps yearly evaluates the stipend offered to best support our corps members.
What are the requirements to be a US-resident Corps Member
- Ability to work hard in all weather conditions,
- Commitment to cooperation and teamwork with peers from around the world,
- Eligibility for AmeriCorps and ability to complete term of service,
- Ability to lift up to 50 pounds (22.5 kg); Hike up to 8 miles (13 km) while carrying 40 pounds (18kg) of weight for up to 9 hours per day.
- Completed high school diploma/GED,
- Between 18-25 years old,
- Experience in outdoor field work or physical labor,
- Commitment to community service and previous experience in volunteer service,
- Enthusiasm for environmental conservation, science, recreation or other related field,
- Capacity to learn and grow in a service training position.
Does EarthCorps accept AmeriCorps applicants who are outside of the 18-26 age range?
As an AmeriCorps affiliate, EarthCorps implements a year-long training program designed for young adults first entering the work force who are looking to develop hands-on skills in the environmental field.
As a result, we generally do not accept individuals who fall outside the age criteria of 18-26 years old.
General Program questions
Where does EarthCorps do restoration work?
EarthCorps has contracts with owners of public land and other funders to complete restoration projects in urban, suburban, and rural areas throughout western Washington.
What does it mean that EarthCorps is a Service Learning program?
EarthCorps defines Service Learning as: An experiential education strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection.
Corps members learn from the reflections they make of their daily experiences; conversations with other participants; the field activities they perform; the interactions with crew members, leaders of the corps, and professionals from agencies.
Corps members are also expected to participate fully in workshops and retreats that develop a broader context for the work done in the field. EarthCorps staff lead these workshops but rely on the effort and participation of corps members.
This program involves the following activities and their approximate percentages:
- Field based restoration projects (80%)
- Orientations & Retreats (5%)
- Workshops and discussions (10%)
- Crew meetings, All Corps meetings, events (2%)
- Evaluations, reflections and performance reviews (3%)
What do EarthCorps alumni go on to do?
Our alumni go on to pursue a wide range of activities. Many go into environmental education, volunteer management, ecological restoration, field research and sustainable agriculture. Some pursue careers less directly related to the work they do here. Many of our alumni are ecologists, public servants, community organizers, peace corps volunteers, or non-profit program managers.
See what some alumni are up to on the Alumni page.
Does EarthCorps send people to work abroad in other countries?
No, EarthCorps does not send individuals to work abroad. On the contrary, we bring young adults from across the U.S. and around the world to Seattle to learn about and engage in environmental service projects throughout our region.