Work and Travel – Trips outside the US

It is already the middle of August 2020. Many of you are getting ready for the travel piece of the Work and Travel – Trips outside the US. That includes trips outside of the US. So you might wonder if leaving the country for a short period is possible or not.
When can you leave the US – plan ahead 

During Work and Travel – trips outside the US should fit between the program dates. If you pass your end date from the DS2019, the border staff will not let you re-enter the country. In other words, crossing the border needs to happen when your program is still active.

For how long can you go

Honestly, it is up to you, but keep in mind that you have to return before your program end date. Otherwise, you will not be able to re-enter the US on this particular visa.

What requirements you need to meet

There are two most important requirements – being in a “good status” and having your paperwork in order. It is up to your Sponsor to confirm that you are in a “good status” and allow you to cross the US border on the round trip.

Documents

The most important one is your DS2019 with the approval from your Sponsor. The Sponsor will admit that you are in a “good status” and that they allow you to travel outside the country.

It varies from Sponsor to Sponsor, but the most popular procedure is to send by snail mail your DS2019 to the Sponsors’ HQ and wait for the letter. Instructions should be provided even before your departure, as this is quite an important issue.

Summary

Before you go, check if:

  • the comeback will take place before the end of the program
  • you have your DS2019 with the Sponsors’ stamp. 
Have a great trip and an unforgettable summer!

Work and Travel in San Francisco

Work and Travel in San Francisco, one of the most iconic cities in the US, is a desired destination for participants. The city is a mixture of cultures, vibe, and good fun. Every visit is one of a kind as you see places you know very well from the movies but a different perspective.
Cable Cars in SF
Fun facts to check during Work and Travel in San Francisco
  • Home of multiple movies – 48HRS., San Andreas, Bullit, Bond – A view to kill, The Rock and many, many others
  • There are more dogs in San Francisco than children
  • Denim pants/jeans were invented in the Fog City by Levi Strauss 
  • Over three hundred coffee shops are in the city boundaries 
  • SFs’ Chinatown is home to 100K people and is the second-largest Chinatown in the US
  • The craft beer revolution started in 1896 in San Francisco
Stuff to see

There are tones of places to visit in San Francisco:

  • Golden Gate Bridge – probably, the most famous bridge worldwide
  • Japanese Tea Garden – chill out and relax from the city noises 
  • Alcatraz and Treasure Island – featured in many movies and with its legend
  • Cable Cars – another icon of the city – take a ride and some pictures as well
  • Wharf – great food and unrepeated skateboard spots 
  • Giants Stadium / Baseball game – eight times World Series winners! 
80The Golden Gate
Must have food and beverage
  • Mission Burrito in Mission District
  • Irish Coffee in Buena Vista Caffee 
  • Seafood in the Fisherman’s Wharf 
  • Dim Sum in Chinatown
  • Craft Beer – for those over 21 😉 
  • Sourdough bread at the Boudin Sourdough
What to avoid

In San Fran, it is best to keep alert in a couple of districts such as the Tenderloin, the Mission, and sometimes Union Square. The crime rate is similar to other big cities.

Wheater you are spending your program in The Fog City or planning your travel part of the Work and Travel program, it is a definite must-see! Iconic views, iconic places, tones of hidden gems, great food and drinks make this city a true wonder of the West Coast.

Work and Travel – tax return

After you return to your home country, you have to fill out the tax documents, and usually, you will get a tax return. It is not complicated, but again, it can cause some issues.

Documents

Your main document is a W2 form. Based on this document, you can calculate your tax and apply for the money return. W2 covers both State and Federal Tax. This way, the form provides everything you need to claim a refund for your Work and Travel program.

How to claim the tax return

There are two ways of claiming the tax. 

Agency

The easiest way is to use one of the agencies of the market. You don’t have to worry much all that for a small fee. In case of any issues, the agency will follow up with the IRS and take care of the problem. 

By yourself 

You can fill out the paperwork on your own and send it directly to the IRS. Keep in mind that in case of any problems, you will have to deal with them on your own. 

TurboTax

Each year some students fill the tax with TurboTax. Unfortunately, TurboTax serves US citizens only, and Work and Travel participants can’t use this service. Using TurboTax by Work and Travel students is illegal!

Relief checks

The TurboTax case was brought to the broader audience when students started to receive the 1200USD relief checks from the US government. In case you have received a check, please follow the instructions from your sponsor! You will have to return money to the US government.

Usually, you get 100% tax return 🙂

Basic Work and Travel requirements

Requirements for the Work and Travel program candidate

Age

Most of the sponsors will require participants to be between 18 and 30 years old. That is the most common age for the students. Although, the regulations don’t explicitly say anything about setting the upper limit on the age of 30. Some sponsors might allow students older than 30 to participate in the Work and Travel Program. 

Please remember, if you are outside of the limits, you might have to prove in the embassy, that your status is not fake, that you are real student, that for some reason is studying outside of the regular age. 

Student status 

“Post-secondary school students enrolled in and actively pursuing a degree or other full-time course of study at an accredited classroom-based, a post-secondary educational institution outside the United States” – information from the government website.

  • Finish at least one semester 

You have to accomplish at least one semester. That will prove that you are actively attending the school. 

  • Type of schools 

The Work and Travel Program excludes some types of schools and may vary from region to region. Also, vocational schools, e-learning, etc. are excluded from the program. 

In some countries, you can qualify if you are attending post-grad studies. Some details apply to different regions of the world. 

English skills level 

You have to be able to live and work in an English speaking environment for a period of a program. Not only you have to understand English but also have to be able to communicate with others. 

Job offer

The job offer is crucial for the sponsor to issue DS2019 for you. Job Offer is also necessary for you to successfully take part in the Work and Travel Program. 

Clean criminal record

When you fill out the visa application, you have to inform about your criminal record. That means that you might have problems obtaining a visa if your criminal record is not clean. 

Drug tests 

Drugs are bad. Period. Some employers require a drug test. Failing the test means that you can’t be hired. As you can imagine it will harm your Work and Travel experience. Secondly, in the visa application, you also fill out the information about drugs. The best idea is to stay out of this game. 

Pocket money 

Oh, money! Before you get your first paycheck, you have to support yourself! Please don’t be a wise guy and leave without a proper amount of money to the USA, as this might cause unpleasant situations and discomfort! 

You can read more here – https://j1visa.state.gov/programs/summer-work-travel

CSB

Sponsor: CSB International

CSB International – Logo

Website: https://csb-usa.com/

Location: Bay Shore, NY

Programs in the US: Summer Work and Travel

Markets: 

Contact e-mail: info@csb-usa.com 

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Short description:

Founded in 1997, CSB International, Inc. (CSB) is a cultural exchange organization designated by the United States Department of State as a sponsor for the J-1 Summer Work Travel and Trainee Exchange Visitor Programs. This allows us to offer cross-cultural activities that will expose our program participants to the American society, culture and institutions while abetting them to share their own language, culture and history with the American people. 

Our mission is to encourage the development of mutual awareness, respect, concern and trust among people from different nations. What a great goal to have as our standard of operation in bringing people of the world closer together.

CICD

Sponsor: CICD – Center for International Career Development
Center for International Career Development – Logo

Website: https://www.cicdgo.com/

Location: Seattle, WA

Programs in the US: Summer Work and Travel, Internship and Training, Teach in the USA

Markets: 

Contact e-mail: swt@cicdgo.com 

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Short description:

Headquartered in Seattle, WA (USA),  Center for International Career Development (CICD) provides university students, graduates, and young professionals with opportunities for practical career training abroad.  Since 1997, CICD has provided thousands of participants with affordable J-1 visa and other internship and cultural programs, offering excellent personal service, program monitoring, and support. CICD is a U.S. Department of State designated J-1 Visa sponsor organization for the Intern, Trainee, Summer Work Travel, and Teacher Exchange Visitor Program categories.

Let CICD help you internationalize your career or business!

Dynamic Global Exchange

Sponsor: Dynamic Global Exchange
Dynamic Global Exchange – Logo

Website: http://www.dynamicglobalexchange.com/

Location: Bingham Farms, MI

Programs in the US: Summer Work and Travel, Internship and Training

Markets: 

Contact e-mail: deb@dynamicglobalexchange.com 

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Short description:

Dynamic Global Exchange was designated by the U. S. Department of State as a sponsor in the Intern, the Summer Work and Travel, and the Training programs in early 2009.  When approached by any agency regarding the J-1 programs, it is most important to determine that agency bears this honorable distinction. Only “designated sponsors” have the authority to produce the necessary immigration documents required by the U.S. Embassies and Consulates to apply for a J-1 visa.  Only “designated sponsors” have been thoroughly vetted by the U.S. Department of State assuring, among other things, the agency is meticulously knowledgeable regarding ALL aspects of the J-1 programs. NOT working directly with a designated sponsor adds additional layers of cost and unnecessary operations which impede the availability of assistance and responsiveness for both participants and for hosting companies.

AHA

Sponsor: AHA – American Hospitality Academy
American Hospitality Academy – Logo

Website: https://www.americanhospitalityacademy.com/

Location: Summerland Key, FL

Programs in the US: Summer Work and Travel, Internship and Training

Markets: 

Contact e-mail: manager@AmericanHospitalityAcademy.com 

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Short description:

For more than 25 years AHA has helped thousands of students and young professionals, from around the world gain the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in today’s interconnected world while fostering international goodwill, mutual understanding, and friendship. AHA is authorized by the U.S. Department of State as an Exchange Visitor Program Sponsor for three categories: Intern, Trainee, Summer Work, and Travel. AHA is passionate about enriching lives and creating a better world through cultural exchange and professional development.

WISE

Sponsor: WISE – The Foundation for Worldwide International Student Exchange
WISE logo

Website: http://www.wisefoundation.com/

Location: Dyersburg, TN

Programs in the US: Summer Work and Travel, Internship and Training, Highschool

Markets: 

Contact e-mail: wise@wisefoundation.com 

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Short description:

The Foundation for Worldwide International Student Exchange® (WISE®) is a non-profit organization providing international exchange opportunities to students, youth and adults. We are staffed by dedicated, enthusiastic team members with years of experience in working with international exchange. WISE staff are well qualified to assist program participants in all phases of the program in order to ensure a meaningful and memorable experience.

GeoVisions

Sponsor: GeoVisions
GeoVisions logo

Website: https://www.geovisions.com/

Location: Portsmouth, NH

Programs in the US: Summer Work and Travel, Teach in the USA

Markets: 

Contact e-mail: info@geovisions.com 

Short description:

We’re New Englanders at heart and are proud of our heritage. The early settlers of New England were strongly convicted and bonded in their beliefs. Their pioneering spirit, and commitment to their values and to one another, brought about revolutionary changes, shaping a country united in its passions.

At GeoVisions, our values are foundational to who we are and how we serve.