Program Steps

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Get acquainted with the different program steps you will go through:

1. Apply for the USA Work & Travel Program

If you are interested in the USA Work & Travel Program and you wish to apply or get more information, please contact one of our partners in your home country. SIVUX works side by side with all the partners to provide quality service and support for all participants.

Our partner will:

  • Answer all your additional questions and explain the program into details
  • Assist you with all the necessary documents
  • Collect all the program documents and fees
  • Assist you with the visa application
  • Provide support throughout the program

If SIVUX does not have a partner in your home country, you may contact our Work and Travel Department directly and we will assist you.

2. Documentation

Application packet

To be able to participate in the USA Work & Travel Program you MUST submit a full application packet. This application packet includes:

  • SIVUX’s USA Work & Travel Application
  • Proof of Student Status
  • Proof of English Language Ability
  • Copy of a Passport
  • Letter of Introduction (not required)
  • Resume/CV

When completing the application packet, please type or print neatly in black ink. All sections and supporting documents should be filled out in detail. Incomplete or illegible applications will be returned.

It is your responsibility to provide as much information and details as possible in the application packet. This is your opportunity to indicate your strengths and abilities. Please keep in mind that your application is all the employer has when deciding whether to hire you. The more information you can provide about yourself the better.

J-1 Visa & DS-2019 Form

Upon job placement and confirmation, SIVUX will obtain fir you a DS-2019 form. This form is a "Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status" from the U.S. government. describes the purpose of the program, and lists the exact dates in which you are allowed to work.
At the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country, you will be required to present the DS-2019 form along with your valid passport and many other required documents in order to apply for the J-1 visa. The J-1 visa will be placed in your passport. The J-1 visa is only issued from a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.

The J-1 visa with a valid DS-2019 form are the legal documents that allow you to enter and work in the U.S.

SIVUX requires that you have a job offer secured prior to issuance of the DS-2019 form and before you leave for the U.S. If you are part of the Job Placement option, SIVUX will supply this confirmation. If you find your own job, you must supply a letter from the employer stating your position, dates of employment and full business information (address, telephones, email, etc.).

I-797 (SEVIS fee receipt)

All participants of the USA Work & Travel Program must pay the SEVIS fee in order to apply for a J-1 visa. The fee for J-1 Work & Travel participants is $35 and must be paid prior to your visa appointment at the US Embassy / Consulate. Once the SEVIS fee is paid, the official paper receipt, I-797, is generated. This document must be presented at the embassy with all the other necessary documents in order to get the J-1 visa.

3. Pre-departure Orientation

The success of your USA Work & Travel Program depends on your full knowledge of the parameters of the program. At the orientation, you will receive valuable information regarding employment, governmental paper work, taxation, housing, transportation, travel resources, cultural issues, and much more. You will also be given information regarding applying for your Social Security card in the United States. The program orientation will take place in your home country, prior to your arrival in the United States, unless otherwise indicated. Attendance at the program orientation is mandatory.

4. Entering the U.S.

There are five important documents you MUST have in your possession and present to U.S. immigration officials upon arrival in the U.S.:

  1. Valid passport
  2. Valid J-1 Visa
  3. Original DS-2019 Form
  4. SEVIS fee receipt I-797
  5. I-94 card

The immigration officer will review all five documents and validate copies of the DS-2019 form and I-94 form. The officer will then return all validated copies to you including the DS-2019 form and the I-94 card attached to your passport. It is important that you keep all five documents with you at all times. You should have no problem entering the U.S. as long as you have all proper documentation AND cooperate and communicate respectfully with the U.S. immigration officers at the airport.

I-94 Card

On the airplane on route to the U.S., you will be given an I-94 form to complete (your name must be spelled as on your DS-2019 form). When you go through immigration, the card will be validated and attached to your passport. This card is a record of your arrival and departure into and out of the U.S. It also indicates specifically the last day you are authorized to stay in the U.S. You must depart the U.S. as specified on your I-94 card plus an optional 30-day period for travel purposes only. If you will not do so, you will be subject to arrest and deportation.

5. Employment

Once you enter the U.S. you are required to go to your pre-assigned job. You MUST go to the job that you originally accepted. If you do not report to the original employer you will be reported to the Department of State, your visa will be cancelled and you will be subject to deportation.

Upon cancellation, you will be notified by SIVUX about your status via email. After cancellation, you must return to your home country immediately. SIVUX will notify the partner agency in the home country and will request to also inform the parents of the participant.

I-9 Form & W-4 Form

Once you arrive at your place of employment, you will be required by your employer to complete an I-9 Form - Employment Eligibility Verification form to prove you can work legally in the U.S.

Along with the I-9 form, you will also be asked to complete a W-4 form – Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate. The information on the W-4 ensures that you will be paying an appropriate amount of taxes during your USA Work & Travel Program.

6. SEVIS Validation

You MUST validate your visa to be able to work legally in the U.S. You are responsible for validation of your visa after arrival to the U.S. You are required to report to your sponsoring agency within 30 days after your arrival. Failure to adhere to this policy will result in automatic cancellation of your J-1 visa after 30 days from the start date on your DS-2019 form. If your visa is not validated on time, you may have problems obtaining a Social Security Number.

Once your visa has been properly validated in SEVIS, you can apply for a Social Security number at the nearest Social Security office.

7. Social Security

During your USA Work & Travel Program you MUST secure a Social Security number in order to work legally in the United States. You may apply for a Social Security card at the Social Security office nearest to your place of employment, upon arrival in the United States. You can locate the nearest Social Security office by looking on the Social Security Administration's web site at

In order to apply for your Social Security number you must be validated in the SEVIS system.

It will take approximately 15 business days to receive a Social Security number and 40-60 days for the card. Some employers require one or both to work. This means that it is possible that you will not be working the first 2 weeks if the employer requires a Social Security number.

8. Your Stay

The USA Work & Travel Program allows you to discover the U.S. in a unique and challenging way - by temporarily living and working among Americans on a daily basis. It is important that your expectations are realistic and practical. A sense of adventure should be mixed in with a sense of responsibility and respect. Remember: learning about another culture and meeting new people can be just as rewarding as earning a wage.

9. Returning Back Home

The DS-2019 form covers the period up to 4 months during which you can legally work in the U.S. The end date on your DS-2019 form (box 3) is the last day you can legally work in the U.S. After this date you are authorized to stay in the US for 30 more days for the purpose of domestic travel. During the post-program travel period you are allowed to travel only within the U.S. Once you are done with your USA Work & Travel Program, you MUST return back to your home country. If you overstay your visa without proper authorization you are subject to arrest and deportation. Further more, violation of immigration regulations may jeopardize the possibility of obtaining a U.S. visa in the future.

After you finish with your work commitment and traveling adventures, it is time to return to your home country. Make sure to pay all bills and cancel any services you have been using (such as telephone, electricity, cable etc.) Be responsible and careful to ensure a positive ending to your USA Work & Travel Program.

When you return home, share your new experiences with your family and friends! When you return to the university, tell your classmates about your different adventures and start to plan together the next summer of your dreams!

The W-2 Form and Filing Tax Returns

At the end of the tax year, your employer will mail you the W-2 form. The W-2 details your total wages and the amount of each tax that was withheld. The U.S. tax year begins on January 1 and ends on December 31. You should be receiving your W-2 form in March.

Be sure to leave your address in your home country with your employer before departing the U.S. so they can mail you the W-2 form. If you do not receive your W-2 form by March 1, you should contact your employer directly and request replacements. To file a tax return, you must complete separate forms for federal taxes and state/local taxes and you are required and responsible for filing U.S. tax returns by April 15th.

All forms are available from banks, libraries and post offices in the U.S. If you are in your home country, federal forms are available at U.S. Embassies. You may also download tax forms on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website:


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