HPUSA Business Program FAQs2020-09-11T08:38:02+00:00

Traveling to the U.S. to expand your career is a big, bold move. Learn more about what you can expect on your journey.

Basic Information

What is the J1 Cultural Exchange Visa Program?2019-12-17T03:27:36+00:00

The J1 Cultural Exchange Visa Program is a non-immigrant cultural exchange visa, issued by the U.S. Department of State, which allows foreign nationals to enter the U.S. to participate in an internship or training program with an American company for up to 18 months (12 months for hospitality programs).

International participants gain practical experience to help reinforce their academic studies and enhance their career through a structured training program and improve their knowledge of American business culture

Who is Hospitality Placements USA?2020-09-11T19:58:29+00:00

Hospitality Placements USA also known as HPUSA offers a professional service as a liaison between the J1 cultural exchange participant, the sponsor organization and the host employer. HPUSA acts as a vendor to our J1 participants by facilitating the J1 Visa process and supporting our participants to complete the program successfully. HPUSA is not an employer. Click here to learn more about HPUSA.

Who is the sponsor organization?2020-09-11T19:55:52+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).

What are the fees?2019-12-17T03:00:47+00:00

For more details on the program fees: CLICK HERE

What is the difference between an Intern and a Trainee?2019-12-17T03:01:00+00:00

The main difference between interns and trainees has to do with the education and experience required of each.

Interns must be current students or recent graduates of a post-secondary academic institution outside the U.S. that grants degrees or certificates. If you’ve completed your studies, you must start the internship program within one year of graduating. Interns are permitted to intern in the U.S. for up to 12 months, and your field of training must be related to your field of study.

Trainees must have earned a degree or professional certificate from an overseas post-secondary academic institution and have at least one year of related professional experience acquired outside the U.S. Alternatively, if you do not have a degree or certificate, you must have at least five years of related professional experience acquired outside the U.S. As a trainee you are permitted to train in the U.S. for up to 18 months, unless you are participating in a Hospitality/Tourism program, which cannot exceed 12 months. Your field of training must be related to your professional experience.

I am starting university next month. Can I apply as an intern?2019-12-17T03:01:40+00:00

Not yet. You must be a full-time student currently enrolled in and pursuing studies at a university outside the U.S. You will be eligible to begin an internship once you have completed at least one year of your degree program.

I’ve spent time in the U.S. in the past. Am I eligible for this program?2019-12-17T03:02:00+00:00

Past experience in the United States does not automatically disqualify you from program participation. However, as this is a cultural exchange program, applicants with significant recent experience working or studying in the U.S. would be ineligible for this program.

I am already in the U.S. Can I apply?2019-12-17T03:02:35+00:00

No. Applicants must return to their home country to apply to the Intern/Trainee program. If you require a change of status from another visa to the J-1 Visa, HPUSA will not be able to assist you.

I have already done an Intern/Trainee program. Can I do the program again?2019-12-19T03:00:51+00:00

Yes. To qualify for a new J-1 Intern Visa, you must show that you are learning new or more advanced skills. Click Here to learn more about how to qualify for a 2nd J-1 program.

frequently asked questions

Ask My

Employment & Compensation

Can HPUSA help me secure an internship placement?2019-12-19T17:50:40+00:00

No, our business, finance, admin and marketing program requires that you find an internship before you apply.

How can I find an Internship?2020-09-25T16:17:03+00:00
What types of internships/training are acceptable?2019-12-17T03:09:19+00:00
  • Accounting
  • Accounting and Business/Management
  • Accounting and Computer Science
  • Accounting and Finance
  • Actuarial Science
  • Advertising
  • Auditing
  • Banking and Financial Support Services
  • Business Administration and Management, General
  • Business and Personal/Financial Services Marketing Operations
  • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services, Other
  • Business/Commerce
  • Construction Management
  • Credit Management
  • E-Commerce/Electronic Commerce
  • Engineering/Industrial Management
  • Fashion Merchandising (no fashion design)
  • Finance
  • Finance and Financial Management Services
  • Financial Planning and Services
  • Human Resources Management and Services
  • Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration
  • Insurance
  • International Business/Trade/Commerce
  • International Finance
  • International Marketing
  • Investments and Securities
  • Logistics and Materials Management
  • Marketing
  • Marketing Research
  • Marketing/Marketing Management
  • Merchandising and Buying Operations
  • Non-Profit/Public/Organizational Management
  • Operations Management and Supervision
  • Public Finance
  • Public Relations
  • Public Relations/Image Management
  • Purchasing
  • Retailing and Retail Operations
  • Sales
  • Small Business Administration/Management
What types of training are prohibited?2019-12-17T03:11:15+00:00
  • In positions that require any sort of license or certification
  • Arcades
  • Bridal companies
  • Camps
  • Candy stores, mall kiosks, boardwalk booths, and stands
  • Convenience and grocery stores, mini markets
  • Call center, customer service, or phone operators, including tech and help desk support
  • Farms
  • Fast food or quick service restaurants or bakeries
  • Fitness studios, gyms, pools, dance studios, personal training, or coaching
  • Garages
  • Gardens or parks
  • Gas stations or toll plazas
  • Landscaping companies
  • Pool management companies
  • Real estate agencies
  • Retail stores or locations and boutiques
  • Schools and other instructional facilities
  • Spas, salons, or dog grooming companies
  • Staffing agencies

In addition, we are not able to sponsor programs in which interns or trainees would participate in: animal care, child care, elder care, clinical work that involves any patient care or contact, sports or physical therapy, psychological counseling, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, social work, speech therapy or early childhood education.

Will my internship/trainee program be paid?2019-12-17T03:11:50+00:00

HPUSA requires all interns and trainees to be paid minimum wage. Commission based work is not permitted. J-1 Participants are not permitted to have a second job, so this will be your sole source of income.

Is the Training Full Time?2019-12-17T03:12:24+00:00

Yes, the host company is required to provide 32 hours or greater per week. You can also expect to receive time and a half for any overtime worked.

Can I train in a field outside my academic studies or past work experience?2019-12-17T03:12:45+00:00

No. Program regulations require that interns and trainees have sufficient past education or work experience to successfully complete their training.


Can I work a second job?2019-12-17T03:13:29+00:00

No, you cannot work a second job and cannot transfer to another location unless under extreme situations. All transfers must be approved by the host employer and the sponsor organization in advance.

Housing, Lifestyle and Travel

Can I travel when in the USA?2019-12-19T17:57:58+00:00

As a J-1 exchange visitor, you are permitted to a travel grace period before and after your program, to read more CLICK HERE. This time is for tourism and getting your affairs in order. You do not have work authorization during this time.

Can I visit my home country during the Program?2019-12-19T18:00:23+00:00

We highly recommend you stay in the United States for the duration of your training program. If you do need to travel outside the US during your program, you MUST be granted prior written approval from your host employer and contact your sponsor organization. Failure to do so may jeopardize your J-1 status and training program. To read more about traveling during your program, CLICK HERE


How long can I stay in the U.S.?2019-12-19T17:53:32+00:00

The maximum duration of the J-1 Intern Visa is 12 months. The maximum duration of the J-1 Trainee Visa is 18 months. Hospitality/Tourism training programs are limited to 12 months for both Interns and Trainees, per the program regulations.

Do I have to pay for my Flight to the USA?2019-12-17T03:16:03+00:00

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

Can I bring my dependents (spouse and children) to the U.S.?2019-12-17T03:17:56+00:00

The J-2 visa is intended for non-immigrant spouses or children of a J-1 exchange visitor who accompany or later join their spouse or parent in the United States.

For additional questions and J-2 Visa information CLICK HERE

Forms & Legal Information

Do I need insurance?2019-12-17T03:18:56+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. To read more about insurance coverage, CLICK HERE


Will I pay taxes?2019-12-17T03:20:26+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
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

What documents do I need to provide?2019-12-19T19:22:25+00:00

In order to move forward, we need you to upload the following:

  • HPUSA video introduction (must be a YouTube link) – Instructions provided below on the online portal (ensure your video is not set to private).
  • Professional smiling photo (headshot only) in JPEG format as an attachment (no large files). 
  • Complete Address – typed in the downloadable word document and upload in WORD (.doc) format ONLY. Please Note: This address MUST be 100% accurate for us to courier your DS Kit! If the address is incorrect – the reissue of documents fee goes to you.
  • Copy of your passport (must be valid 3 months after your program end date) If your passport will expire during the period of your J1 program, you need to renew it immediately. In the meantime, you will submit a copy of your existing passport.
  • Degree OR Graduation Certificate (if Degree not available – MUST show the degree and major earned and date of graduation. OR the Graduation Certificate / Letter issued from your university on MUST be on school letterhead confirming the degree earned, course of study and EXACT graduation date.
  • Transcript of Records (Copy or clear screenshot of grades if transcripts not available) *Please send as one PDF document, no large files
    Work Certificate(s) – Certificates must be signed and on company letterhead with company contact details stating your name, position and dates you worked.
  • Trainees: – MUST have work certificates to prove 12 months paid hotel related work experience outside USA
  • (2) Reference Letters or Training Certificates – Must be on company letterhead, can be from school, previous employer or training/ seminars attended.
  • Copy of any previous DS-2019 AND US Visa (if you have previously worked or visited the USA).

All documents should be in English or officially translated in English along with the original document.

What is the DS-2019 form?2019-12-17T03:25:11+00:00

The DS-2019 Form is the document that allows you to apply for the J-1 Visa as an Intern or Trainee 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.

How long does the Process take?2019-12-17T03:26:03+00:00

Interns and Trainees are expected to arrive in the USA within 6 to 8 weeks from the time of receiving Letter of Offer and Training Plan provided by the host employer.

How do I apply for a Social Security Card?2019-12-17T03:26:27+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.

Will I be guaranteed a J-1 Cultural Exchange Visa?2019-12-17T03:27:04+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 home country following the training in America and it is your responsibility to take all necessary documents with you to your visa interview. 

Group of interns


A journey of self-discovery and personal growth filled with unforgettable memories is what foreign exchange all about. I am so truly thankful for this experience; it has changed me forever. Living in a different country has opened my eyes. I learned to accept, and to be respected. I learned to be responsible, and to be careful. I learned to be friendly, and to be polite. Most of all, I learned how to live and realized that adventure was the best way to learn. An Exchange is an experience, never to be forgotten.

Kristal Joy Unico


“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


I am very thankful to HPUSA for making one of my dreams a reality. I have matured so much and learned how to be independent. I have visited a lot of great artworks and structures that I can show to my family and friends in my home country. For me, my internship is my stepping stone to make myself become productive and be more ready of what will I become in the future. I have gained a lot of experience and learned so much that I will apply in my future career plans. I am just very thankful for everything. Thank you so much for all of the support! HPUSA is the best ❤️❤️❤️

Vannelaine R.


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, 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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