For how long can I live and work in the U.S.?
The Summer Work and Travel USA Programme allows you to work in the U.S. for a maximum of 4 months, between May and October. After that, there is 30-day grace period for travel. You need to leave the U.S. 30 days after your DS-2019 form expiration date.
What kind of documents should I have with me at the U.S. airport?
The Immigration Officer will request the following documents from you:
1. A valid passport with a J-1 visa and the envelope with your DS-2019.
2. A completed I-94 card (which you receive to fill out on the plane).
3. Your return ticket and money (about 500 USD), or a credit card.
What should I do if I lose my documents?
First of all, you should make an extra copy of all your documents (passport, visa, driving license etc.) before you depart your home country. After you arrive in the U.S., you should also make a copy of your DS-2019, after the envelope is opened. It’s recommended you keep copies of your documents with you and leave the original documents in a safe place. If you lose your passport or DS-2019, you should contact your programme sponsor and the embassy of your country.
Do I have to pay taxes in the U.S. and can I claim back my taxes to get a tax refund?
All U.S. states require you pay taxes during your employment. You will be paying Federal Tax (about 15%), State Tax (about 5%) and sometimes City Tax – depending on which city you are working in. When you return home, you can claim back your taxes at the beginning of the next year, and get your refund. Global Choices will assist you with the process.
Am I allowed to travel to Canada and Mexico with my J1 visa?
You don’t need a Mexican visa to travel to Mexico, but you must contact your programme sponsor to stamp your DS-2019. If you want to travel to Canada you must apply for a Canadian visa in your home country.
Can I travel outside of the U.S. during the 30-day travel period at the end of the programme?
No! Once you leave the U.S. during the 30-day period, you will not be readmitted on your J-1 visa because it will have expired.
Can I open a bank account in the U.S.?
Yes. To open a bank account you will need your Social Security Number, passport, visa and DS-2019.
What kind of driving license should I have to drive a car in the U.S.?
There are different requirements in different states. Some states will accept a driving license from your home country and some will only accept an international driving license. We recommend having both documents.
Are there any requirements to be eligible to rent a car in the U.S.?
In most of cases you must be at least 25 years old, have a driving license and credit card to cover all the expenses. Sometimes the age limit is reduced to 21, but there might be extra fees involved.
What is a Social Security Number?
A Social Security Number is your identity number in the U.S. You keep the same Social Security Number during your lifetime. The number is required in order to legally start a job, open a bank account or buy car insurance.
Reasons to join the Summer Work and Travel USA Programme
The Summer Work and Travel USA programme is one of the cultural exchange programmes from the U.S. State Department, for foreign students. It allows foreign tertiary students to work legally in the United States in order to experience American culture. The longest work period is four months, all programmes must be pre-arranged, DS-2019’s obtained from State Department designated sponsors (Sponsor), and you must hold a J-1 exchange visitor visa in order to enter the United States.