Be sure to review all the important information before you depart for your journey to the USA!

be prepared for your arrival


The cost of housing will vary depending on your location, time of year and how many people you share an apartment with. In general, you should expect to pay the expenses listed below for a 2 bedroom apartment with 4 people (per person):

  • Deposit: One month’s rent – The deposit goes to cover any damages to the apartment during the rental. In general the deposit should be refunded at the end of the lease as long as it is returned in the same condition as it was rented. Some landlords may withhold a certain amount for a cleaning fee regardless of the condition. Be sure to ask beforehand.
  • Monthly Rent: $600 – $800 per person
  • Utilities: $50 – $60 per person – Utilities include things like water, gas,
    electricity and trash. Some apartments have utilities included in the rent. Be sure to ask beforehand.
  • Cable and Internet: Service will typically cost about $50-100 USD/month.

Please remember these are estimations. If your program is in a popular tourist destination, you can expect to pay more. Be sure to research the cost of living in the city where you will be staying.


You are required to have medical insurance in effect for yourself (J-1), your spouse and any dependents (J-2) for the duration of your program. The cost for medical insurance for the duration of your program is covered in your program fees and provided by your sponsor organization.

  • Minimum Insurance Coverage
    Insurance shall cover:

    (1) medical benefits of at least $100,000 per person per accident or illness;

    (2) repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000; and

    (3) expenses associated with medical evacuation in the amount of $50,000.

  • Additional Terms
    A policy secured to fulfill the insurance requirements shall not have a deductible that exceeds $500 per accident or illness, and must meet other standards specified in the regulations.
  • Maintenance of Insurance
    Willful failure on your part to maintain the required insurance throughout your stay in the United States will result in the termination of your exchange program.

Please make sure you have budgeted a sufficient amount of money to participate in the program. All HPUSA internships and traineeships are paid, however, you will need access to at least $1,500 USD upon arriving in USA, to cover costs before you receive your first pay check. This money will also be needed in the event that your monthly stipend does not cover all of your expenses.

Transportation Round-trip Airfare $1,200
Transportation Airport to Housing $50
Housing Deposit $600
Phone Cell Phone $50
TOTAL $1,900
Housing Rent $600
Housing Utilities $100
Housing Cable/Internet $30
Transprotation Taxis, public transport $50
Food Groceries $120
Food Restaurants $75
Entertainment Movies, parks, concerts etc. $150
Phone Phone plan/phone card $50
Supplies Cleaning, laundry. decorations, kitchen $50
Miscellaneous Unplanned expenses $100
TOTAL   $1,325

be prepared for your arrival

It is very important to make a good impression and follow hospitality industry standards. A neat, well-groomed, business-like appearance will reflect your concern for quality and attention to detail.

All participants are required to follow the dress and grooming standards. Please take pride and great care in your personal appearance. It is important that you project a polished, well-groomed and professional image in your overall appearance.

  • The main objective of the uniform is to consolidate and magnify the participants’ presence throughout the training.
  • Uniforms must be clean and pressed.
  • Participants are responsible for arriving to their property, property meetings, training seminars and cultural activities in a complete, clean and well pressed uniform.
  • If a participant is not in proper attire upon arrival, he or she can be sent home for failure to adhere to policy.
  • Name tags are considered part of the uniform and must be worn while in training and fulfilling all scheduled shifts.
  • Participants are responsible for the cost of name tag replacement.
  • Acceptable Attire: If you are not required to wear a uniform, you are expected to dress professionally, in appropriate attire following the Host Property guidelines.
  • Foot Wear: This will vary depending on your position and the host property regulations. All participants should wear professional shoes that are clean, polished and shined. Sandals are not permitted.
  • Hair must be neat, conservative, clean and in place throughout the day.
  • Hair must be a “natural color” defined as one that could be grown naturally (though not necessarily the natural color).
  • No unnatural colored streaks or sparkles in hair.
  • Hairstyles should not be distracting, obtrusive or cover the eyes.
  • No excessive gels or lotions in hair (hair must not look wet).
  • Distinct weighted lines or shaven styles are not acceptable.
  • Bangs must be above the eyebrow.
  • Braids must be neatly maintained.
  • No beads or trinkets in hair.
  • Acceptable hair accessories are a headband or hair band (not wider than one inch), a small bow clip, clip barrette or ponytail holder – Hair accessories must be a solid color and match the uniform/attire. Gold, silver or pearl barrettes are also acceptable.
  • Buns, twists, bangs, etc. must not be higher than 3” from the top of the head.
  • Long hair must not fall across or into the face.
  • Females: Make-up should be tastefully applied and not excessive, especially eye shadow and lipstick
  • Males are NOT permitted to wear make-up that is noticeable and must adhere to all hotel policies in regards to corporate appearance standards.
  • Tattoos: Tattoos can never be visible and must be covered by your uniform. Please note, we have had participants arrive with tattoos that cannot be covered by the issued uniformed. Because they did not meet standards, they were terminated from the program – if you have a tattoo and you are unsure if it can be covered by the uniform, ask!
  • Rings: A maximum of two simple rings on each hand is allowed. Wedding/engagement rings are considered one ring.
  • One bracelet or wristwatch per wrist.
  • Necklaces: Extreme styles are not acceptable. Only one (1) necklace.
  • Pins/Brooches: No attachments other than name tag or host property assigned pins on any uniform.
  • Earrings: Participants may wear only one pair of earrings, no larger than a quarter. Earrings are not permitted to be worn by male participants.
  • Body and Facial Piercing: Obviously body or facial piercing, with the exception of approved earrings, is not permitted to be worn by men or women.
  • Pay special attention to your daily personal hygiene. Use deodorant, brush your teeth, keep your hair clean, bathe, etc. If you use perfume or cologne, use in moderation.
  • Fingernails: Keep fingernails neatly trimmed and moderate in length. Females may wear polish in conservative shades only. Polish must be maintained, with no chips.

be prepared for your arrival

When you enter the U.S., you will be seen by a U.S. Customs Official. This person is responsible for ensuring that you are authorized to enter the country. Here are the steps you can expect to follow upon arrival:

Present the U.S. Customs Official with your travel documents (Passport, J-1 Visa and DS-2019 Form). The U.S. Customs Official will stamp your passport. ​

The Customs Official may ask you some general questions about your visit, the purpose and duration of your program, and where you will stay during your program. Answer clearly and respectfully, they are routine questions.

The Customs Official will ask you to submit digital finger scans and a digital photograph (part of the US-VISIT program, required for most visa holders).

You will then go through a baggage checkpoint. You may be asked to open your luggage and allow another U.S. Customs Official to examine your belongings. The purpose of this search is to ensure that you have not brought any restricted items with you into the U.S.

Finally, you will present the Customs declaration form that you received on the plane.