Traveling to the U.S. to expand your career is a big, bold move. Learn more about what you can expect on your journey.
What is the J-1 Cultural Exchange Visa Program?
The J-1 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 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.
Do you want to know if you qualify to be an intern or trainee? CLICK HERE to see what is required.
Who is the sponsor organization?
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?
The host employer will extend an offer for a cultural exchange paid practical training program. This will be the site of training and the J-1 cultural exchange participant will be paid by the host employer. 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 program fees, and what do they include?
We know that you need information on the details of the program fees and what is included and not included in those fees. Please CLICK HERE for a breakdown of what is and is not included, our refund policy and more.
Employment & Compensation
Will I be Paid?
Yes, the training is PAID and you will be treated just like an American employee. You can expect to earn the following amounts:
Front Office: Between US $10.00 to US $16.10 per hour
Food and Beverage: Average US $12.00 per hour (includes gratuity)
Culinary: Between US $10.00 to US $16.10 per hour
Supervisors can expect to earn more.
What is the difference between an Intern and a Trainee?
J-1 Interns are either currently enrolled in or have graduated from their hospitality degree programs within the past year.
J-1 Trainees have graduated from university more than a year ago and have at least one year of hospitality experience, OR have 5 years of hospitality experience, before enrolling in the J-1 program. Trainees should have a more advanced training plan with more advanced learning objectives including an advanced final training phase.
What Positions are Available?
Food and Beverage Division
This position offers you the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the field of hospitality food service. In Food and Beverage, you will be exposed to the daily operations of the foodservice industry, while performing practical training assignments. Practical training may include the following: Food Server, Host/Hostess, Food Service/Beverage Service, Banquet/Catering Set-up and Service, and Food Retail Sales.
Front Office Department
This position offers you the opportunity to understand the daily operational procedures of a hotel or resort from the front office. Practical training assignments may include Front Desk, Reservations, Concierge, At Your Service, PBX and Night Audit.
This position offers you the opportunity to learn and practice the daily essential functions of a supervisor in the housekeeping department. Practical training assignments may include quality control, inspections, scheduling of staff, organizational skills, inventory, laundry supervision and business relationship between housekeeping and the other departments of the hotel/resort.
This position offers you the opportunity to gain valuable, “hands-on” experience while being exposed to the daily culinary operations of a hotel. Practical training assignments may include Food Preparation, Sauces, Meats, Line Cooking, Pastry, Breads, Dessert, Hot and Cold Service, Inventory and Kitchen Sanitation.
We have MANY PAID J-1 internship/traineeship positions all over the USA!
Click Here for a sample of our current openings.
Is the Training Full Time?
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.
What Hotel Brands can I train at?
We have several luxury brand hotels/ resorts in the USA, interested in providing you a PAID hands-on work and training platform, as a foundation for your career in hospitality. Hotels such as Hyatt Regency, Hilton, Sheraton, Marriott, Westin, The Four Seasons, Intercontinental, W Hotel, Renaissance, PLUS many more!
Can I work a second job?
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
Does the hotel provide Accommodation?
You are responsible for your own accommodation for the duration of the training program. Most hotels will provide at least two weeks accommodation at the hotel upon arrival and then you MUST find your own suitable accommodation. Utilize the time before you arrive to research accommodation options online. Your new host company can also assist you in finding suitable accommodation near the hotel.
Can I choose the location of my Program?
Although we encourage you to provide us with any location preferences you may have, please remember that you may be limiting your placement options if you hold out for a certain location. 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 weekends, vacation time or during your 30 day grace period. We do offer options for a Specific Location request at an additional fee. Please ensure to request your Specific Location on the online HPUSA application.
Can I travel when in the USA?
As a J-1 exchange visitor, you are permitted to remain in the country up to 30 days past the end date of your Form DS-2019. This time is for tourism and getting your affairs in order. You do not have work authorization during this time.
Can my spouse or child come with me?
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
Can I visit my home country during the Program?
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.
Do I have to pay for my Flight to the USA?
Yes, you are responsible for organizing and paying for your travel to the USA.
Forms & Legal Information
Will I pay taxes?
Like everyone else who works in the U.S., you too have to pay your taxes BUT you don’t have to pay all of them.
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
Taxes You Should Not Pay
Social Security Tax
Taxes You Should Pay
Federal Income Tax
State Income Tax
City Income Tax
What documents do I need to provide?
In order to move forward and start marketing your application to our hotels 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). All Culinary applicants must provide a photo, wearing chef uniform.
- 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 expires 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?
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?
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.
Do I need Health Insurance?
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.
How do I apply for a Social Security Card?
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?
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.
Thank you for help with my J1 cultural Exchange Visa
Allow me to thank you once again for having given the opportunity to complete my J1 Exchange Training at your reputed organization. I also have to say, if it would not have been for Hospitality Placement USA, who assisted me right from the beginning until now in my VISA Process, I would not have been able to successfully secure my J1 Cultural Exchange Visa, which I did with no hassles at all.
I give you and HPUSA a five star rating.
I just want to thank you for this great opportunity. I’m in my first week of training now and I love it! People here at the Westin are really friendly and nice, and I’m learning a lot. I give you and HPUSA a five star rating. The managers are so welcoming, and he is helping me to learn more and keep up in the environment of international hospitality which is really superb.
A journey of self-discovery and personal growth
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.
You made my dreams come true!
Thanks a lot for your support and guidance. You made my dream come true, ma’am. I have experienced first snow in Vernon, NJ, USA for the first time in my life. Thanks to HPUSA for guiding me all the way to my culinary journey in United States of America!! My training is going well. It’s very useful for me to make my career stronger and better. I am learning and experiencing many new things which I had not come across so far. Thank you HPUSA for providing me such a wonderful opportunity.
I wouldn’t be successful if not because of your team’s effort.
Dear Ms. Emma,
Good news, I passed on my Embassy Interview and this wouldn’t be successful if not because of your team’s effort. Thank you so much and God bless
I'm very thankful for supporting me all the way.
I would like to say thank you for giving me this opportunity, and helping me on my papers to get here. I’m glad that I met you, Miss Emma. I’m very thankful to you for being there for me and supporting me all the way I appreciate all what you’ve done. I’m finally here in America a dream come true. Take care always and God bless
I love my job and my hotel!
Thank you again for everything! I love my job and my hotel. This is a very good opportunity for me to learn, improve my skills, and improve myself. I appreciate this opportunity.
Thank you for such a rewarding experience.
Thank you to HPUSA and your team for making my USA Internship experience so rewarding. I had so much fun and learnt a great deal at the Marriott San Diego. I’m looking forward to continuing my career growth back home.
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.