1. What is the J-1Visa?

ANSWER: J-1 Cultural Exchange Visa is a non-immigrant visa issued by the United States to research scholars, professors and exchange visitors participating in programs that promote cultural exchange, especially to obtain medical or business training within the U.S. All applicants must meet eligibility criteria, English language requirements, and be sponsored either by a university, private sector or government program.  The J-1 Visa allows foreign nationals up to 12 months for hospitality programs.

2. What is the benefit of internship/traineeship?

ANSWER: Internships are valuable opportunities to gain experience, professional insight, and practical skills for the workplace. Many companies offer internship and traineeship programs that are tailored for college students, college graduates, and young professionals who want to acquire hands-on experience in their respective professions/industries. As an intern/trainee, you will acquire the training and skills development you need to become at par with the best, both locally and internationally. 

3. What is the difference among the J-1 Work and Travel, J-1 Intern, and J-1Trainee programs?

ANSWER: A J-1 Work and Travel is a program where you can work and travel in the US for 3 months only. The J-1 Intern Program is for applicants who are either currently enrolled in or have graduated from their degree programs within the past year. The J-1 Trainee Program is for college/university graduates  of more than one year and have at least one year of work experience in their respective industry, OR have five years of  work experience, before enrolling in the program. Trainees have more advanced learning objectives compared to interns.

4. Is this training a full-time or a part-time job?

ANSWER: It is a full-time job. The host company is required to provide 32 hours or more of work per week. 

5. Do I get compensated for the work during the internship/traineeship?

ANSWER: Yes. On top of the competency skills  and the valuable business insights one can gain from the experience, interns/trainees will also be entitled to a salary as compensation for each hour of work, including time and a half for overtime work, while completing the program.

6. Is this salary taxable?

ANSWER: Yes. Although, interns/trainees are generally exempt from Federal Unemployment, Medicare, Social Security, and Federal taxes because of U.S. tax treaties with different nations; you must still declare some income taxes. More often than not, the other tax types you are legally exempt from are usually deducted automatically from your paycheck by your employer. Therefore, you can request this back by filing a tax refund. 

7. Can I have a second job while completing my internship/traineeship program?

ANSWER: No. You cannot work on a second job and cannot transfer to another location unless under extreme situations. Earning money on the side or having another job while doing this internship/traineeship is prohibited. Violation of this restriction may result in your immediate expulsion from the U.S.

8. Will my sponsor company provide accommodation and transportation for the duration of the program?

ANSWER: It varies from sponsor to sponsor. Some will provide free accommodations and transportation benefits, but others may not. You have to get this info from your sponsor company before proceeding with the application process.

9. The J-1 Internship/Traineeship Program lasts up to 12 months. During this time, can my spouse/children come to visit me?

ANSWER: Yes, they can. The J-2 visa is intended for non-immigrant spouses or children of a J-1 exchange visitor who can accompany or later join their spouse or parent in the US.

10. Can I leave USA and travel back to my home country during the program for whatever reason?

ANSWER: Yes, you can, but you have to come back to continue the program.  It is highly recommended that you complete the program before traveling back to your home country unless extremely urgent and necessary. The J-1 Cultural Exchange Visa is designed to encourage you to grow professionally and interculturally by giving you the opportunity to reside in the U.S. Therefore, it is not designed for participants to leave the U.S. for long periods of time. In order to leave the U.S. for a short term, you need a travel validation on your DS-2019 form.

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