Work & Travel USA

Work and Travel USA provides international students with the unique opportunity to spend their summer vacations living, working, and experiencing life in the United States. As an organization designated by the U.S. Department of State to administer the cultural exchange programs, American Journey will be your program sponsor, we will be with you every step of the way and help you have the best experience possible!

This program is only available through agencies in your home country. Students can participate in the Work & Travel USA program for up to four months during their academic break, and travel for up to 30 days after their work experience.

Students for Work and Travel USA must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Between the ages of 18 and 28
  • A full-time university student actively pursuing a degree and have completed at least one semester.
  • Proficient in spoken and written English

T7 business days prior to your arrival, log into American Journey account and complete the arrival form. Validate your visa within 24 hours of arrival by logging into your American Journey account. If for any reason you cannot login, contact American Journey!

Login at:

5 business days AFTER you validated your visa with American Journey you can apply for social security number. If you apply too soon, it will cause a delay in receiving your social security number which may result in problems with receiving your pay.

You will receive the hourly rate indicated on your work and travel offer. If you are assigned a tipped position, you may receive a tip rate which is lower than the minimum rate because you keep your tips as part of your income. Host employers are required to adhere to U.S. wage and hours laws.

Taxes You Pay:

  • Federal Income Tax
  • State Income Tax
  • Local or City Income Tax

Taxes You DO NOT Pay:

  • Social Security and Medicare tax (FICA)
  • Federal unemployment tax (FUTA)

If you see deductions that say FICA, FUTA, S.S. or Social Security, please notify your employer promptly. If your employer is unable to issue a refund, contact the Internal Revenue Service Center and request IRS Form 843 Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement. You will need to submit the completed IRS forms to the Internal Revenue Service Center. Please note: some states may deduct state unemployment taxes, which you are required to pay.

SWT participants are permitted to have a second job provided you follow guidelines and procedures. You must inform American Journey of your intent to secure a second job. American Journey must approve the 2nd job BEFORE you start. American Journey will review the position to ensure it complies with program regulations before you can begin work.

Please keep in mind that your main responsibility is your Primary Job and a second job cannot interfere with your work responsibilities. If your second job negatively impacts your performance and attendance at your primary job, you will be asked to resign from it.

Check your email often and adhere to the following mandatory requirements:

  • Every 30 days you will receive a reminder to complete the monthly check in by logging you’re your American Journey account and share feedback and photos. Failure to communicate with American Journey at least once a month, can place your program at risk of termination.
  • If you change your address, you must notify American Journey within 10 days.

In the United States it is an acceptable and professional practice to communicate with your employer openly. If any area of your cultural exchange program at your host property is causing you concern, speak with your supervisor or manager. American Journey is here to help you navigate and resolve any problems that arise during your program. We will work with you and your employer to address the issue and assist in resolving the problem or concern.

Yes, however there are important procedures you must follow before any travel in or out of the U.S. Please download the travel document in the portal or email

It is required that you file an income tax return since federal, state and local taxes were deducted from the pay you received while working in the United States. You must have a copy of a W-2 form from your employer in order to complete the income tax return. The form will show the total amount of your taxes withheld from your paycheck during the calendar year. Employers are required to issue the W-2 form by January 31 for the prior calendar year (January through December).

Before you leave the U.S., please make arrangements with your employer to receive a paper or electronic copy of your W-2.

New Tax Information
Starting January 1, 2018 (until 2026) the personal exemption has been suspended. In the past, students may have received refunds from the federal government. Due to the change (IRS Publication 515) you will not receive any federal refunds if you have earned less than $9,525. State taxes are not affected by this act, and are dependent on the state you worked in. You may still be eligible for a State refund regardless of the amount you earned.

Deadline to File Tax Return
You are required by law to file a U.S. income tax return. The deadline is April 15 for the previous tax year (January 1 to December 31). If you work during two separate calendar years, you will need to file an income tax return for both years, even if you only work part of both years.

How to File Your Tax Return
American Journey is not qualified or authorized to provide tax advice. However, we recommend Sprintax, a software that offers expert tax assistance. Sprintax is the only compliant self-preparation software for Non-Residents at this time.

Or you can file the tax return on your own by following these steps:

  • Upon receiving your W-2 Form, fill out a 1040NR-EZ (Non-Resident Aliens with No Dependents) tax form.
  • Make sure to review the Instructions for Form 1040NR-EZ to avoid any mistakes.
  • If the total amount of money withheld from your paychecks was more than you were required to pay the government, they will issue you a check. However, if the amount withheld from your pay was less than required, you must pay the government the amount of tax you still owe.
  • Your tax paperwork must be received by the IRS on or before April 15th of the year following the year when you earned the wages.
  • Once you have completed the form, mail them to the address on the 1040NR-EZ instructions.

Note: In addition to Federal tax withholdings, most states also require that additional taxes be paid to the state. There are separate forms for state and local taxes. The forms and requirements are different for each state. Your employer should be able to help you locate the necessary forms online.

Additional Resources:
American Journey is not qualified or authorized to provide tax advice. You may contact the IRS directly. You may also contact a tax provider who could assist you with your individual situation, typically for a flat fee or a percentage of your tax refund. Make sure you tell them beforehand that you are a J-1 participant (non-resident alien) and be mindful of any fees they may charge. You are also encouraged to use the following resources as you plan to file your taxes:

Current participants, employers and partners of American Journey have exclusive access to American Journey’s portal containing the resources and support needed to have both a life changing cultural exchange program and to succeed before, during and after the program.

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