FAQ’S FOR WORK AND TRAVEL USA2021-05-11T20:18:05+00:00

Traveling to the U.S. to experience living and working in a new culture is a big, bold move. Learn more about what you can expect on your journey.

Basic Information

What is the J-1 Work and Travel Program?2020-08-13T19:15:35+00:00

The Work and Travel program provides foreign post-secondary students the opportunity to work and travel in the United States during their university summer vacations.

How long does the J-1 Work and Travel Program last?2020-08-13T19:16:15+00:00

The Work and Travel program lasts up to a maximum of four (4) months. Participants may not work at any other time except during the period indicated on their DS-2019 form. Extensions are not permitted beyond the 4-month maximum program duration.

When can I participate in a Work and Travel program?2020-08-13T19:17:04+00:00

Foreign nationals who are full-time college or university students in their home countries may participate in the Work and Travel program only during their university’s official vacation.

Who is the sponsor organization?2020-08-13T19:18:00+00:00

HPUSA partners with State Department-designated sponsors who are authorized to issue the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status (Form DS-2019).

Who is the host employer?2020-08-13T19:18:49+00:00

The host employer will extend an offer for a paid temporary work position. They will be responsible for paying the Work and Travel participant. HPUSA does not make any employment decisions as to how the participant will work, what their responsibilities will be, or whether the employment will be terminated, and has no authority to exercise any discretion.

What are the J-1 Work and Travel program fees?2020-08-13T19:19:36+00:00

We know that you need information on the details of the program fees and what is included and not included in those fees. Please EMAIL US for a breakdown of what is and is not included, our refund policy and more.

frequently asked questions

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Employment & Compensation

How much will I be paid?2020-08-17T18:18:06+00:00

HPUSA ensures that Work and Travel students receive appropriate pay.  You can expect to earn between US $10.00 to $17.00 per hour for non tipped positions and more for tipped positions.

Are there any parameters on the kind of employment a student may hold?2020-08-13T19:22:38+00:00

Yes. The following is a list of examples of prohibited types of jobs: Participants may not be employed as: domestic employees in U.S. households (child care, chauffeurs, gardeners, etc.), in positions that require them to invest their own monies to provide themselves with inventory for the purpose of door-to-door sales, in any employment involving any type of patient care or physical handling or manipulation of clients, driving, factory jobs, jobs that completely isolate students from American co-workers, jobs that are on the “prohibited list”, jobs that are not seasonal in nature or that don’t provide a sufficient enough “cultural component”, etc.

Can I work beyond the program end date if I enter the USA after the start date printed on my DS-2019 form?2020-08-13T19:24:13+00:00

No. Your sponsor may make a minor adjustment to the start and/or end dates on your DS-2019 Form to indicate your actual date of arrival (for example, moving both the start and end dates two days earlier or one day later) only if those dates correspond to the official vacation dates of your university in your country, and only if the total adjusted time is not more than four (4) months total. Certain countries require students to return to their home country and school by a specified date. Over staying that date can jeopardize a student’s immigration status and/or chance to return to the US as a tourist, on another visa or to repeat as a J-1 intern or student.

Can I get a second job while on the J-1 Work and Travel program?2020-08-13T19:24:58+00:00

Yes, however, you must FIRST get approval from your sponsor organization and your second job must not interfere with your primary job.

Can I transfer to any host employer I want to work for whenever I want to?2020-08-13T19:25:49+00:00

No. You can only work for a host employer who your sponsor organization has officially vetted and allowed you to work for. You may not transfer to a new host employer or begin working for a new employer without your sponsor’s permission (this is a Department of State regulation).

Housing, Lifestyle, and Travel

Am I responsible for my own accommodation?2020-08-13T19:27:12+00:00

Most Work and Travel employers offer on site housing for students. Make sure you’ve read your job offer agreement closely to understand whether your host employer has arranged housing for you. Housing is usually in an apartment, motel or dormitory style with shared living and common areas with your own bed.  If your employer doesn’t arrange housing, you’ll be responsible for finding housing that is inexpensive, comfortable, safe, and close to your workplace. Utilize the time before you arrive to research accommodation options online. Your new host employer can also assist you in finding suitable accommodation near the hotel.  You can expect to pay between $300 to $500 per month for accommodation.

Can I be placed with my friend/ partner or choose the location of my program?2020-08-17T18:16:00+00:00

Yes, we can place you with a friend/ partner or you can choose the location of your program, based on availability. You MUST inform us of any placement preferences or specific location requests on the online HPUSA registration application.

Please also keep in mind that the high cost of living in popular tourist locations is prohibitive to your wages. You can always visit the tourist spots on your days off or during your 30 day grace period. 

Can I travel when in the USA?2020-08-13T19:32:09+00:00

As a J-1 program participant, you have the option to remain in the country up to 30 days past the end date of your Form DS-2019. This is called the “Grace Period.” The grace period allows participants to travel in the U.S. and/or to prepare for and depart the United States. You do not have work authorization during this time.

Am I responsible for my flight to the USA?2020-08-13T19:33:40+00:00

Yes, you are responsible for organizing and paying for your travel to the USA.

Forms & Legal Information

What is the DS-2019 form?2020-08-13T19:35:25+00:00

The DS-2019 Form is the document that allows you to apply for the J-1 Visa in the USA. The DS-2019 form is also called “Certificate of Eligibility”. It is issued to you by a US Department of State-designated sponsor organization.

Do I need Health Insurance?2020-08-13T19:36:05+00:00

Yes, your sponsor organization will provide basic health insurance for the duration of your program and will pay for the insurance from your program fees. You will receive information on your insurance upon receiving your DS-2019 form from your sponsor organization.

Will I pay taxes?2020-08-14T23:14:48+00:00

Like everyone else who works in the U.S., you too must pay your taxes BUT you don’t have to pay all of them.

Taxes You Should Not Pay:

  • Social Security Tax
  • Medicare
  • Federal Unemployment

Taxes You Should Pay:

  • Federal Income Tax
  • State Income Tax
  • City Income Tax

When you arrive at your training your host company will ask you to complete two important tax documents, the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form and the W-4 Employees Withholding Allowance Certificate.

Be sure to indicate your permanent address in your home country. This will ensure that your host company has the correct address to send your W-2 statement of earnings at the end of the year. When you receive your W2 you may file your taxes by going to this link: Taxback.com

To read more about J-1 Tax Information, CLICK HERE

How do I apply for a social security number?2020-08-13T19:39:05+00:00

If you do not already have a social security number, you will need to apply for one five days after your official program start date. We will provide you with information to apply.

How long does the process take?2020-08-13T19:41:19+00:00

You can expect to arrive in the USA within 6 to 8 weeks from the time of receiving the Letter of Offer by the host employer.

Will I be guaranteed a visa?2020-08-13T19:42:58+00:00

No, there is no guarantee that you will be granted a J-1 Visa at the US Embassy. We ensure that each participant has the necessary documents for their visa interview and assist in appealing any visa denial decisions. The Embassy wants to know you will return to your University studies in your home country following your Work and Travel program in the USA.


“I really enjoyed celebrating 4th of July in NYC and watching the beautiful fireworks. I also had the opportunity to play in a baseball game. It was so much fun! I am learning so many new things and developing my skills in the hospitality industry thanks to the HPUSA Cultural Exchange Visitors program.”

Veronika S.


“I was given the opportunity to visit “Hacienda Patron”, Patron Tequila’s Distillery in Jalisco, Mexico. I was able to learn more about tequila and meet some new friends. Such a wonderful experience!”

Keir James E


Thank you for everything! I appreciate all of your help throughout my HPUSA J1 Cultural Exchange Program! This was an awesome experience in the USA! I had a great host company and learned so much from training at this hotel. Thank you Hospitality Placements for this opportunity, I really appreciate it!

Dave M.


The HPUSA J1 Cultural Exchange program was a great way for me to expand the training I started in my home country. Experiencing American culture and advance training in the Hospitality Industry was truly an experience worth living. I would like to extend my warmest gratitude to HPUSA for making my dream a reality!

Stephen F.


“We took a train to Miami and it was my first time riding a train. It was fun and very convenient. We stopped at Wynwood and took pictures of many colorful murals. The street artists did a great job! Thank you HPUSA for this wonderful opportunity!”

Regene Ann R.


“We came here to build our skills to our chosen field and it has helped us a lot! They help us to develop our skills, knowledge, character and to deal with the different people in the hospitality industry! We have experienced different cultures and got a chance to travel different states. We united as one big family and this is only some of the pictures of our memorable moments that we will treasure forever! Thank you so much HPUSA for giving us this great opportunity!”

Marriott Pennsylvania Interns


“This has been the best experience! I enjoy being part of the Cultural Exchange Visitor Program because I have experienced training internationally, got to learn and appreciate the American culture, to be independent, and to improve and share my knowledge of the hospitality industry?. Thank you HPUSA for assisting with placement with the best host company! It feels amazing that my hard work has been recognized and being rewarded for the efforts that I put in. You are all awesome!”

Kristina A.


“Thank you HPUSA for giving me the opportunity to experience a wonderful Cultural Exchange Visitor Program.”

Benjie P.


“I want thank the HPUSA team for helping me find great placement in the USA and supporting me throughout the Cultural Exchange program. I have enjoyed my tenure with the hotel and am so grateful for the experience. It was really a great opportunity in advancing my career and broadening my knowledge of the hospitality industry.”

Sharlene F

I’m ready to start my journey

We’ll help you navigate the process of applying for your J1 Visa, interviewing with luxury hotels and resorts, and traveling to the U.S. to work. Just click the button below to start your application for our program and get ready to begin an exciting new experience.

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