One Irish student has said that she was sent home after being “interrogated” by US custom officials ahead of her J1 as a result of errors on behalf of the company she used.
The experience has left her “sobbing her eyes out” after she was prohibited from going to the USA.
TikTok user @sarahjanemk5, real name Sarah Jane, posted about her experience using J1 travel company USIT.
Read more: Americans ‘feeling attacked’ as US TikToker asks loads of Irish people to do their best American accent
Sarah Jane said that she got “stuck up in US Clearance going through the airport”.
“I got pulled, interrogated by US Customs in a room on my own, fingerprints taken, recorded, pictures, sworn under oath and then refused entry to America for my J1 and sent home,” she said in the video.
Her original flights had to be delayed until June 18th, and changed five times in between for what she said was down to having to wait for paperwork from USIT.
@sarahjanemk5 @usittravel #j1
♬ original sound – Sarah Jane Keddy
“I was supposed to be gone the first of June. I left my job just before that on leave so I could be gone so I haven’t been able to work. I’ve lost out on three weeks’ wages. I’ve paid €900 in rent in Boston. I’ve paid over €1,400 in flights because of the changes and I paid USIT €850 to do this service that they haven’t been able to do,” Sarah Jane said.
By the time the paperwork had arrived, she said that her SEVIS ID was “invalid” as USIT “never updated the date on it” when her flights had to be pushed forward.
“You pay USIT to deal with all of this documentation to provide this service and they don’t do it for you,” she said.
Sarah Jane said that USIT had offered to give some of the money back, but that she wouldn’t accept it. “It’s a really serious matter now,” she said in the video.
“I’m at such a loss now, probably four grand in losses because of them when you add everything up and my friend Anna is stuck in Boston on her own now because we were doing this together and she didn’t get delayed,” Sarah Jane continued.
A spokesperson from USIT told the Irish Mirror : “USIT was devastated to learn of the situation that one customer recently experienced at US Immigration at Dublin airport.
“A few weeks ago, the customer’s DS-2019 work papers were misplaced in the national postal system and had to be re-issued and re-shipped from the USA. The re-issued document got caught up in the FEDEX delays which led to her start date on her replacement DS-2019 work papers lapsing over the 30-day limit.
“This was a genuine error that should have been picked up by both USIT and the US Embassy and as a result, USIT has refunded the participant in full, covering her flight change fee as well as making the necessary amendments needed to ensure she can fly this week.
“It’s important to note that no party has intentionally misled her during this process. It has been a challenging year for the entire travel sector with many factors creating delays.
“However, the entire USIT team are fully committed to helping young Irish students have a rewarding and memorable summer experience hence our upset when they failed to deliver on this isolated occasion.”
The Irish Mirror has contacted Sarah Jane for further comment on this matter.
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