Work & Travel Program Tips and Resources

What sort of Paperwork do I need to complete?

You are going to hear several terms for different forms etc. during the process. Here is our IENAipedia to those forms:

The J-1 Summer Work and Travel Visa: This J-1 Visa is a government program that allows qualified full time students to share their cultures and ideas with the people of the United States.
The J-1 Summer Work and Travel Visa is for individuals approved to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs. This program is run by the US Department of State. Visit this website for more information.

DS-2019 Form: This form can only be issued by a US Department of State designated visa sponsor. IENA is one of those. It certifies that you are eligible to take part in the cultural exchange program and is a vital part of the application process. In essence, it is evidence that you have a bona-fide job offer in the USA. You will need it for your embassy appointment AND you will need it when you enter into the USA. Guard it as you would guard your passport.

SEVIS Receipt (or SEVIS I-901 Receipt): SEVIS stands for “Student Exchange Visitor Information System”. It is a system by which the US Department of State keeps track of you on the program. You will need this form when you visit the embassy for your interview

What paperwork will the employer require?

Social Security: The US Government requires all employees to apply for a Social Security Number. Your employer will help you do this upon your arrival, however, you MUST validate your arrival via your IENA account BEFORE you can apply. Once done, you will need to visit the local Social Security office.
You must obtain a Social Security Card. If you already have one, then that’s yours for life.
Form I-9: All employees, foreign and domestic, are required to complete this form for each employer. It is a straightforward form and you will need your passport (including J-1 Visa) and your DS-2019. Your employer will help you complete this.
Form I-94: This is your arrival and departure record. It is a good idea to print this when you get settled and keep it with you. You cannot print it until after you have arrived in the USA. It can be printed here
W-4: This form is for tax purposes. Your employer may withhold a small amount of taxes from your salary. You ARE entitled to claim some of this back because you are not a resident of the USA. IENA partner with to make claiming back the taxes as simple as possible

Do I have healthcare in America?

As you may be aware, health care is not free in the USA. You must have medical insurance. We have that covered for you. There are however some terminology and procedures it is handy to know:

Co-payment: This is like your car insurance excess. Its an amount you always have to pay when you have treatment. For non-Emergency Room Visits, the Co-pay is $50. Whenever possible. You should always call the 800 number (free call) on the back of your insurance and discuss your symptoms before visiting a doctor. They can best advise you whether to visit a doctor and if so, where the closest clinic is.
Workers Compensation: Whilst you are at work and carrying out your duties at work, you are covered by this insurance. This means if you have an injury/illness caused by or related to your work, you are covered by this insurance which is held by your employer. Our insurance is for non-work related cases, or injuries/illnesses that occur while on days off and while you are traveling.
Emergency Room: It’s the same thing as the A & E and is for serious injury or illness that requires immediate attention.  There is no co-pay or deductible for this if the injury/illness is deemed life threatening or requires an overnight stay. In all other cases, there will be a $350 Copay, so you should go to a walk-in clinic whenever possible.
Pre-Existing Conditions: If you have a condition that has been treated, or you take regular medication for, in the past 6 months, it will NOT be covered by this insurance.

More details on your insurance policy can be found here

Social Media and your Online Presence

When it comes to social media and American culture, there are a few things you need to be aware of.
Employers have withdrawn job offers to participants before they have even arrived in the USA due to things they have found on social media. Please be aware of how you portray yourself. You are going to America to be professionally employed and your public presence should reflect that. We highly recommend you make all your social media private. Remember, even something someone else tags you in or photos someone else posts of you can have an impact on someone’s impression of you. As a general rule of thumb, think “Would I want my parents or grandparents to see this?”

Each employer will have their own set of rules with regards to social media once you arrive.

Can I leave my employer or switch jobs

IENA recognizes there are several reasons why you may leave your job.

Getting Fired

Break the rules and you may be fired. This is a job just like a job at home.  As with any job you take, there are rules that need to be followed.

If you have been fired, the first thing you must do is call IENA.  (888) 724 4292. Your employer are also instructed to call us.  Our goal is:

  • For you to understand why you have been fired
  • Get your version of events
  • Ensure you are paid up to date
  • To make a plan with you as to where you will go, if we can place you elsewhere or how you will get home

Just because you have been terminated from employment does not mean you are not part of our program. We want to make sure you are safe and taken care of.

You Decide to Leave

We understand there are a few reasons why you may decide to leave. All we ask is that if you have any problems at your place of employment, you follow the following steps:

  1. Please make sure you have given the job a chance – at least 2 weeks
  2. Speak with your supervisor about any problems first and give him or her the chance to resolve
  3. If this has not worked, call IENA who will advocate on your behalf

Remember as with any job, there are good days at work and bad days.  There are people you like working with, and people you don’t like working with.  Just as the employer has made a commitment to you via you job offer, you have made a commitment to the employer in acknowledging and agreeing to the terms of your job offer.

If you do decide to leave early, you MUST call IENA before you leave on (888) 724 4292 ext 4. We will want to help you make a plan to get home or find other employment.

Can I get a Second Job

If you have the opportunity for a second job, please contact the IENA office and we will go through the process and contact your new employer. You MUST do this BEFORE you accept and begin working for your 2nd job employer.

About the USA

The USA is a vast country.  People say that every state is almost like a country with its own culture and compare it to Europe.  Here are some handy tools to help you: