Program Overview&Benefits | Application Process | FAQ's


Federal Minimum Wage

Workers will receive the federal minimum wage set by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Federal Minimum Wage is $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. Employers of “tipped employees” must pay a cash wage of at least $2.13/hr if they claim a tip credit against their minimum wage obligation. If an employee’s tips combined with the employer’s cash wage of at least $2.13/hr do not equal the minimum hourly wage, the employer must make up the difference. Any international workers employed will be paid the equivalent of their American counterparts.

Forbidden Jobs on J-1 Work and Travel Program

Participants may not be employed as domestic employees in U.S. households or in positions that require them to invest their own money to provide themselves with inventory for the purpose of door- to-door sales. Students on the Work and Travel USA program are prohibited from certain types of jobs, including child care, medical/patient care, domestic work (such as a housekeeper in a family’s home), camp counselors, flight attendants, and any job that jeopardizes the student’s well-being and/or safety.

SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System)

SEVIS has been set up by the U.S government in an effort to keep track of all the exchange visitors on J-1 visas and international students on F or M visas. Therefore, all of the participants on J-1 Work and Travel Program MUST check-in with SEVIS within 10 days of your arrival for program validation and if there is any change of your U.S address during the program, you need to update SEVIS about the changes within 10 days of the change to maintain a good visa status. If you forget this important rule required by the U.S government, you are going to be in danger of losing your visa status.

Optional Travel Period

You are authorized to travel in the United States for a period of 30 days after the end date on your DS-2019 form. If you travel out of the United States during this period, you will not be able to re-enter United States. Any participants who remain after this travel period without proper legal authorization are subject to deportation and violation of immigration laws that may jeopardize your plan to enter U.S. in the future.

The United States is a dynamic and diverse country. Work and Travel USA gives you the opportunity to explore the country for up to a month after you complete your work commitment. (And since you’ll have some time to earn money, the program makes it easier for you to finance your travel plans.) If you plan to take advantage of the opportunity to travel the U.S., Exchange International recomments that you:

-Plan ahead. Have an idea of where you’d like to go and how long you’d like to spend there. Travel in the U.S. can be expensive, so make sure you have enough money to cover your costs.

-Consider traveling with other international students. During your employment, you will likely meet other students on the Exchange International Work and Travel USA program. Traveling with friends can be safer, more enjoyable and more affordable.

-Ask Americans for advice. Talk to your employer and other Americans you meet about interesting travel destinations.

-Stay safe. Use  common sense when you travel. If you have an emergency, contact Exchange International for assistance.

Q. What kind of jobs are available?

A. Our participants fill a variety of entry-level positions, including retail, wait staff, counter staff, maintenance staff, housekeeping, and amusement park positions.

Q. Am I eligible for the program?

A. To participate in Exchange International Work and Travel USA, you must be a full-time college or university student between the ages of 18 and 28, proficient in English (both written and spoken), able to work for at least 3 months, enthusiastic, motivated, and mature.

Q. How much does it cost?

A. Program fees vary from country to country. The Exchange International will be able to provide you with details about the costs after contact with us. You will also need to pay the cost of your transportation to and from the U.S., housing, and personal expenses

Q. How much will I earn?

A. Employers in our program are required to pay you the same wage that they would pay employees from the U.S. Currently, the federal minimum wage in the U.S. is $7.25 per hour, but your pay rate may be higher, depending on where you work and the type of job you perform.

Q. How do I apply?

A. Contact us to start the application process. A representative from Exchange International will contact you with more information and a full application form.

Q. Can I get more than one job?

A. Yes, you are allowed to work at more than one job on the Work and Travel USA Program. Please remember that your primary commitment is to your first employer.

Q. What am I allowed to do during my time off?

A. You are allowed to do what you like with your free time, provided you obey U.S. laws and Work and Travel USA Program rules. There may also be additional rules for your employee housing that you must follow.

Q. What if I have not received my Social Security card?

A. If six weeks have passed and you have not received your card, call the Social Security Administration at your local area. Have your Social Security receipt ready. If you have additional questions, contact us. The Social Security number is yours alone. Do not allow others to use your number. Record your number in a safe place in case your card is lost or stolen. Protect both your card and your number to prevent misuse.

Q. What should I do if I lose my passport or other documents?

A. If you lose your passport or visa, contact your embassy or consulate as soon as possible so that they can assist you in obtaining new documents.

If you lose your DS-2019 form, please contact us.

If you lose your I-94 Admission/Departure Card, you will need to contact the Bureau of Immigration of Citizenship Services to apply for a replacement card.

If you lose your Social Security card, you do not need to replace it as long as you know your Social Security number or have a photocopy of the card. If you would like a replacement card, contact the Social Security Administration.

Q. What is SEVIS?

A. SEVIS is an abbreviation for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, a database maintained by the U.S. Government to keep track of the addresses of students and exchange visitors. You MUST register in SEVIS within 10 days of your arrival in the United States. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security requires registration. If you do not register in SEVIS you may be subject to arrest or deportation.

Q. If I change my address, do I need to register my new address in SEVIS?

A. Yes. Every time you change your address you should register your new work address and your physical housing address online or over the phone. No P.O. Box addresses should be entered.

Q. What if I want to stay and work longer?

A. You are only allowed to work during the dates that are listed on of your DS-2019 form. Under no circumstances can the dates or your J-1 Visa be extended. You are allowed to stay in the U.S. and travel for 30 days after the dates listed on of your DS-2019, but you are not allowed to work during this time.

Q. What if I would like to work longer than my commitment date, but there is not a position with my current employer?

A. Please call contact with us. We will try to match you with another employer who is looking for staff. Please note that, in most cases, employers will only hire students who are able to work for at least three weeks.

Q. How should I handle things if I am not meeting my employer’s expectations?

A. First, talk with your employer. Often, problems are a result of miscommunication. If you are unable to resolve the problem, please call Exchange International for assistance. We will be happy to help you in any way we can.

Q. What if I’m injured on the job?

A. All job-related injuries are covered by Worker’s Compensation. Your employer should refer to their Worker’s Compensation insurance policy.

Q. How do I book my flight home? How do I change my flight?

A. In general, you should contact your airline directly for flight changes and availability. In some cases you might have special instructions on how to book or change your ticket that were provided Exchange International.

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