For more than 35 years we have been offering various programmes in the USA and other countries in the world. The following overview aims to summarize what previous participants wanted to know and help you prepare for your stay abroad. If you still have a question that remains unanswered, we will be happy to answer it and expand our list of frequently asked questions.

Internships Abroad

Work and Travel Summer Job

Internships Abroad

What are the DS-2019 and the DS-7002?

The DS-2019 is a document for exchange programs that you require to apply for the J1 visa. The Department of State has designated responsibility to exchange offices, such as Intrax (our US headquarters), to ensure that interns meet the visa requirements. By submitting the DS-2019, Intrax provides the guarantee of the eligibility of your internship. Without this document, no J1 visa will be issued!

The DS-7002 is an internship / training plan that must be completed by host company. This section explains exactly what, when and how you learn during the internship, whether you are going through different departments and who will be your contact. The DS-7002 normally only has one phase for interns, since they do not have to have different phases / rotations (with the exception of hospitality internships) For trainees, who usually rotate in the company every three months, the DS-7002 is longer, as a new page has to be filled for each learning phase. This form is also required to apply for the visa.

Why do I have to apply for the J1 Internship Visa through an exchange organization and not directly at the American Consulate?

To request the J1 visa required for an exchange program, you need a document called “DS-2019 form”. This document may only be issued by exchange organizations, like Intrax, approved by the US Department of State. The organization must first check the applicants for the legal requirements and the suitability for the program. The DS-2019 form proves to the US Consulate that you, your American host company, and your internship follow the J1 program guidelines.

Intrax is an official J1-visa sponsor, which means that we have been designated by the US Department of State to issue the DS-2019 form/Certificate of eligibility, a document which you need to present at the US Embassy during your visa interview.

 

How soon can I get the DS-2019 and how soon can I get the visa?

If you and your American supervisor have submitted all the necessary documents to us, they are correct, require no on-site visit, you have time for a phone call with us and you pay the invoice immediately, our main office usually needs two weeks from the date of submission to issue the form. 

You can only schedule the interview at the American Consulate when the DS-2019 is issued. In the summer, there are sometimes longer waiting times for an interview. After the visa interview, the consulate needs 3-5 days to send you the passport together with your visa by registered post.

 

Can I change my internship dates after I enroll for the J1 Visa?

Yes, that is possible. Please let us know as soon as possible so that we can enter the current dates in the SEVIS (Student Exchange Visitor Information System) database. This can be done in an emergency, after the DS-2019 has already been issued. If the shift is more than two weeks, we would request a new DS-2019 from our main office and bill for the Reprint and FedEx Shipment. (Please link to the optional extras)

Can I complete a second internship with the same J1 Visa?

No, the J1 visa is only issued for a specific internship in a particular company. For a second J1 visa, you must leave the country and make a second application. There should be at least one semester between the two internships.

If your host company has several offices in the USA and from the outset it is clear that you should be used at several locations, you can apply for it. However, it will cost extra to intern at multiple sites. We then need a host company agreement and a training plan from each branch as well as the validation call and, if necessary, on-site visit.

What documents do I need when I arrive?

For entering the USA, you need your passport and the original DS-2019 form. You should also know your first address and specify it on arrival if requested. We recommend that if you are staying in a hotel or hostel at first, to keep a copy of your booking confirmation.

You will also either receive a form of customs on the aircraft or upon arrival at the airport register digitally at the customs where a digital photo of you is taken and the fingerprints of both hands are scanned. Afterwards, an official will ask you about the reason for your stay. Again, note that a J1 visa is not a work visa. So do not talk about work or job.

 

Who is my contact for conflicts during the internship?

Conflicts are rare because the American employers and colleagues appreciate the fact that someone is coming from so far to gain work experience in the U.S. For this commitment and openness you will get a lot of respect. However, you must also be committed and professional! If misunderstandings occur, you should contact your supervisor. Intrax can enter the conversation for clarification as a second step.

For On-Program Support please call 1-888-224-0450 extension 2 or email INTsupport@intraxinc.com.

Please note that your stay is linked to your visa position. You cannot cancel and remain in the United States. If your internship is terminated, you have to leave the U.S. If you have found another position, this must also be checked by Intrax and for an additional fee, a new DS-2019 form should then be issued for the new position and company. 

 

What are the requirements for the J2 visa?

In order to be eligible to apply for a J2, the J1 partner must be married to the J2 partner. Accompanying children must be under the age of 21 and unmarried. (Please note, if they turn 21 while in the U.S., they need to return home or apply for a new (different- F1, M1, J1) visa as their J2 visa will expire when they turn 21).

For each family member, the J1 visa holder must provide proof of funds of $1500 per month for the entire duration of the program. If the J1 intern or trainee is already on program and receives a monthly income amounting to the required monthly sum, three J1 pay stubs would suffice as proof. Alternatively, we would accept bank statements or a letter of guarantee from immediate family members.

 

What are the criteria to apply for the J1 visa?

Interns must have studied at least two semesters full-time at a university outside the USA, and the internship must be closely related to the course of studies. Trainees must be able to demonstrate relevant professional experience for at least one year at the end of their studies. These 12 months can also be composed of part-time jobs and internships during their studies. 

Your host company should also meet specific requirements.

I do not have an internship offer yet. Can I still apply?

If you have not found an internship, please feel free to contact us and ask for application tips. It is only necessary to fill out our online application if you have an offer from an American company. If you simply do not have time to apply, you may also consider whether you would like to use our placement program for Internships in the USA.

When will I receive the J1 visa?

Depending on embassies and their processing time, the passport containing the J-1 Visa is usually mailed back to you 3 to 5 days after your interview and visa approval at the US embassy.

 

Can I extend the J1 visa?

It is possible to apply to extend your J1 visa up to the maximum duration for your program. This means Internships and Hospitality Trainee programs can be extended up to a maximum of 12 months of the total duration of the program. Other Trainee programs can be extended up to 18 months. It is not possible to extend beyond this.

Please note that if you leave the United States after you renew your internship, you will need to apply for your visa again. Your return to the U.S. can be denied to you, even if your placement extension has been approved by your sponsor.

 

How long does my passport have to be valid after the end of the internship in the USA?

For members of the so-called "Six-Month-Club", the passport only needs to be valid until departure from the USA. Other citizens need a passport valid at least 6 months after the end of the internship in the USA.

What happens if I lose my internship position in the U.S.?

Theoretically, your internship company can terminate your internship at any time. Neither we nor our American head office have any influence on this. Unfortunately, we cannot provide you with a new job in case of termination. However, you may have the opportunity to look for a new internship on your own. The new internship company must first be checked and approved by our U.S. office. If the company has fewer than 25 employees or less than $ 3 million annual revenue, it must also be inspected personally.

For On-Program Support please call 1-888-224-0450 extension 2 or email INTsupport@intraxinc.com.

 

Can my family members work or study in the USA?

On a J2 visa, children are entitled to visit the local high school. A child or spouse may also enroll to study full-time or part-time without the need to apply for a F1 visa. A spouse can apply for a work permit (I-765 – Application for Employment Authorization) for up to one year. The prospect of earning a salary does not waive the need for financial proof of $1500 per month prior to program start. Also, the application for the I-765 might take several months to process.

 

What documents do I need to apply for a DS-2019 form?

Once you've logged in to the MyIntrax Portal, you can upload your documents:

  • A Copy of Your Passport (only the page with photo);
  • Resume (in English);
  • Proof of Student Status (only for internship applicants who are still enrolled);
  • A Certificate of Enrollment or University Letter (including an English translation if the certificate/letter isn’t already in English);
  • Diploma/Certificate of Graduation (only if you have already graduated) - Please include an English translation in case your degree isn’t already in English;
  • Intrax contract;
  • Financial Statement (only if applicable); If your program is unpaid or your host company pays less than $1500 per month, we need a financial statement. You can either ask your parents or another direct relative to fill in and sign a Letter of Guarantee or you can ask your bank to complete the Financial Statement or to provide their own bank statement in English, also listing the total amount in USD.
  • Previous U.S. Visas (only if applicable);

If you have previously been to the U.S. on a visa, please upload a copy of these as well.

We will write your supervisor by email (with you in cc) and send him or her the Host Company Agreement and the Training Plan DS-7002 to complete and return.

 

Do I have to apply in my native country?

No. During the registration with Intrax, your application and documents will be processed online through MyIntrax Portal and the follow-up will be done via email, phone and/or Skype.

After receiving your DS-2019 form at your preferred address, you can apply at any US embassy or consulate which issues J1 visas. If you are currently studying in another country, this is no problem. During your visa interview at the embassy, you should be able to clearly explain your plans immediately after the internship and your long-term plans so that it is clear that you do not intend to stay in the USA after your program. (proof of sufficient home ties)

 

 

How long can my internship/training be?

Your internship may not exceed 12 months. A trainee can last up to 18 months except for the hospitality sector, where the duration of either training or internship is always limited to 12 months.

 

When will the program fees for the J1 Visa Service be due?

The J1 visa service program fee is payable after we have received all the documentation from you and your internship company and can ensure that your application complies with all basic guidelines and after we have conducted a short phone or Skype interview with you. When the documents are complete and the interview has been conducted, we will send you the invoice.

How long can I stay before or after my internship in the USA?

You may enter the USA up to 30 days before the start of the internship and have 30 days (Grace Period) after your internship until your departure.

Do I have to apply for an ESTA for entering the USA?

No. ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) applies only to travelers without a visa. As an intern or trainee in the U.S. you have a J1 visa for entry.

Can I change my internship during my internship in the USA? Can I practice secondary jobs during my internship?

A change of internship is only possible in certain rare cases and after examination and approval by our American partner. You may only hold internships, which have been mediated or approved by a sponsor. For a change to be approved, there must be extenuating circumstances as to why you cannot continue with your first internship.

Apart from volunteer activities such as with charities, no other jobs or internships are allowed while on a J1 visa. It is strictly forbidden to hold a part time job while on a J1 visa.

Which documents do I need for the J2 visa application?

Apart from the insurance and financial proof, we also need a copy of the marriage certificate (including an official English translation), a copy of each child’s birth certificate, and passport copies for each family member (page with biographical data).

Intrax issues a DS-2019 form for each family member. Each J2 applicant must apply for the J2 visa at a U.S. Consulate. You each need to fill in the DS-160 form, but you can make one embassy interview appointment for the entire family.

 

When should a company be visited by Intrax (on-site visit)?

If your American host company has not yet taken part in the Intrax J1 visa Program, has fewer than 25 employees and less than $ 3 million annual turnover, an Intrax employee must personally visit the company (On-Site Visit) and check that they meet the requirements to host a J1 intern. In this case, you will be charged an additional €210 /$245. If the on-site visit has taken place, these costs are not refundable after a program cancellation. No on-site visit is required for governmental institutions.

For the locations Alaska and Hawaii, we have to ask our partner in advance whether an on-site visit is possible at the desired time. There may also be additional costs for remote locations.

Please note: We would also need to make an additional on-site visit during the program if the host company relocates and does not meet the host company requirements.

What is the TIPP, Training Internship Placement Plan, DS-7002?

These terms refer to the document that ultimately shows what you will do during the internship in the US, what is the relevance of these activities to your studies, how your learning is measured, what methods your supervisor will use, what qualifies the supervisor for the role and that during your stay you still have the opportunity to experience the USA and American life and culture. The document is important to prove that your internship or training is in the spirit of a J1 exchange program.

The DS-7002 gives the opportunity to present the internship in phases. The subdivision into phases is however only necessary for trainees and for internships in the field of ​​hospitality. No phase may take longer than four months.

The DS-7002 will ultimately be signed before you, the Supervisor and Intrax.

Can I take part in the program after I graduate High School if I have found an internship in the USA?

No, unfortunately not. The requirements regarding the J1 visa require that you are already in higher education, have a degree or 5 years relevant professional experience.

Can I still apply if my American company is small and does not have many employees?

Yes. However, it is important that your host company meets all the requirements and understands the following aspects:

  • Constant ongoing supervision of the intern should be ensured (for example in the case of business travel or illness);
  • Suitable office space is available (residential offices are not acceptable); 
  • Cultural activities are planned for you;
  • The company meets the 5:1 Ratio (5 full-time employees per J1 intern) if they host more than one international intern or trainee;
  • They need to be able to explain their motivation for hosting a J1 Intern/Trainee
  • In the field of hospitality, the company must be a 4- or 5-star hotel or a fine-dining restaurant

Depending on the annual revenue and number of full-time employees of your host company, a visit of their office by our American colleagues may be required (on-site visit).

When can I apply for the J1 Visa for my internship in the USA?

After Intrax has checked that you and the host company meet all J1 visa requirements and have issued the DS 2019 form.

Do I need an internship contract or job offer letter from my host company?

Not for us. For Intrax the contracts are in the form of the Host Company Agreement and the training plan DS-7002 which we send to the host company.

How do I find and apply for an internship in the USA?

Many of our program participants have received the recommendation and contact data from fellow students who were previously at the company in the USA. Often Career Services and the International Office of the University also help in finding positions in the USA. Sometimes interns have previously gained experience at partner companies or branch offices in their home country or have a personal or family connection to the firm.

Some students successfully use internet research and look for companies, especially those with business connections to their home country or with specializations which closely match the student’s studies. It is important in these applications that you can convincingly argue why the company would benefit from an international intern. It is especially important that you are clear with the company that the J1 Visa process does not cost them any money and does not require much of their time.

If you would like to do an internship in the USA and you do not have time for the company search and application, you can use our placement service for an internship in the USA. We primarily provide unpaid internships for three or four months in the field of your study. For internships or training in the field of hospitality, we provide 12 months paid positions in 5-star-hotels/resorts and in fine dining restaurants.

Do I need an American bank account for my internship in the U.S.?

If the internship is not remunerated and you only go to the USA for a few months, then you do not need to open an account. But please clarify in advance how you should pay the rent. If you are paid during the internship, you usually need an American account. Enquire at your local bank if there is a cooperation with an American bank.

Is insurance included with the J1 Visa sponsorship?

Your J1 visa sponsorship with Intrax includes travel medical insurance which meets the department of state requirements for the J1 visa program. Insurance coverage begins on arrival and covers you until the last day of your internship. This policy includes a co-pay of $100 for each medical occurrence. The co-pay for a visit to the Emergency Room is $250. You may also purchase additional insurance if you plan to stay in the USA for the 30-day grace period after your internship. Please note that our insurance does not cover any pre-existing conditions. If you have such conditions, you should strongly consider taking out additional insurance for the duration of your stay in the USA.

 

What does the 5:1 ratio mean?

This ratio is relevant for U.S. host companies who want to hire more than one J1 intern/trainee at the same time. In this case, five American full-time employees must be present in the workplace for each international J1 trainee. It does not concern companies that have only one J1 trainee. Companies with fewer than five employees may be subject to additional verification to ensure that they can provide adequate supervision and training to the intern.

 

Can I apply for the J1 visa if I have not yet studied two semesters?

You can apply at the earliest during the second semester and start the internship after the beginning of the lecture-free period.

Is there a guarantee that I will receive the J1 Visa after issuing the DS-2019 form?

First, you will not automatically receive the J1 visa after issuance of the DS-2019 form, but this document will allow you to make an appointment at the US Consulate to apply for the J1 visa. If you are approved in the interview, your passport with the visa will be sent to you a few days after the consulate interview. There is no guarantee that you will be approved, since the decision-making power lies with the embassy or the consulate. Visa rejections are rare due to the pre-verification of compliance with the guidelines performed by sponsors like Intrax. Reasons for visa denials could be violations of visa regulations in the past, or if one makes statements in the interview that could be interpreted as intentions to stay in the USA and to work there past his or her visa end date.

How long does it take to get the visa document DS-2019?

Before Intrax issues the DS-2019, your documents or application must be sent to the United States. From this time on it usually takes about 2 weeks.

We will forward your application to Intrax in San Francisco if

  • we have received all documents from you and your internship firm completely and correctly (please remember that the trainee and the company are responsible for sending us the documents in time.
  • we have completed the final interview
  • and have received your payment

The process until receipt of the J1 visa is delayed if

  • your documents are incomplete
  • your payment has not been received by us
  • an on-site visit is required
  • Intrax can not accept your application because it does not meet the J1 visa guidelines. We would then ask you to change your documents or reject your application
  • Intrax can not reach your personnel responsible for a telephone call, where your internship must be confirmed under the J1 visa guidelines
  • there are problems with shipping
  • the waiting times for an appointment at the US consulate increase

Is my internship going to be paid?

You and your supervisor decide if the internship will be paid. We as a J1 sponsor only need to make sure you have access to $ 1500 a month. Whether the money comes from an internship remuneration or whether you have worked previously to save funds or received a scholarship or support from your parents is equally acceptable to us.

If your host company pays you or provides you with a car, rent subsidy, canteen food etc. then the value must be noted in the DS-7002.

It is also important that you do not accept a secondary job during the internship in the USA.

Do I wear certain clothes during my internship in the USA?

This is an important topic and you should discuss dress code and any other important rules with your supervisor in advance.

What does DocuSign mean?

DocuSign is a software for electronic signature technology that enables the digital exchange of contracts and signed documents. DocuSign provides authentication services, user identity management and workflow automation.

Docusign works with any internet-enabled device and is quite simple. You will automatically get to the place where you insert your name and then click Finish.

You will receive two emails with links to DocuSign twice:

  • To sign the Intrax Terms & Conditions
  • To sign the training plan DS-7002.

What does the insurance included in the program fees cover?

Your J1 visa sponsorship with Intrax includes travel medical insurance which meets the department of state requirements for the J1 visa program. Insurance coverage begins on arrival and covers you until the last day of your internship. This policy includes a co-pay of $100 for each medical occurrence. The co-pay for a visit to the Emergency Room is $250. You may also purchase additional insurance if you plan to stay in the USA for the 30-day grace period after your internship. Please note that our insurance does not cover any pre-existing conditions. If you have such conditions, you should strongly consider taking out additional insurance for the duration of your stay in the USA.

 

What do I need to consider during the interview for the J1 visa at the American consulate?

Please take only the necessary documents (in a transparent plastic cover) with you. For safety reasons, electronic devices (including mobile phones, smart watches, etc.), backpacks, suitcases and larger bags may not be carried into the consulate. These items cannot be stored in the embassy so you must make alternative storage arrangements. Be punctual but do not show up too early. The interview itself will probably take just a few minutes. Please remember that an internship visa is not a work visa. It is not about work and job, but about interning and learning. Answer all their questions honestly.

What documents do I need for the J1 visa for my internship?

Once you've logged in to the MyIntrax Portal, you can upload your documents:

  • A Copy of Your Passport (only the page with photo);
  • Resume (in English);
  • Proof of Student Status (only for internship applicants who are still enrolled);
  • A Certificate of Enrollment or University Letter (including an English translation if the certificate/letter isn’t already in English);
  • Diploma/Certificate of Graduation (only if you have already graduated) - Please include an English translation in case your degree isn’t already in English;
  • Intrax contract;
  • Financial Statement (only if applicable); If your program is unpaid or your host company pays less than $1500 per month, we need a financial statement. You can either ask your parents or another direct relative to fill in and sign a Letter of Guarantee or you can ask your bank to complete the Financial Statement or to provide their own bank statement in English, also listing the total amount in USD.
  • Previous U.S. Visas (only if applicable); If you have previously been to the U.S. on a visa, please upload a copy of these as well.

We will write your supervisor by email (with you in cc) and send him or her the Host Company Agreement and the Training Plan DS-7002 to complete and return.

What do I have to do before leaving for the USA?

Before you leave, prepare the following:

  • Make copies of all documents, including the passport.
  • You should know your first address in the U.S. as you must specify this on entry. If your first address is a hotel or hostel, print a copy of your booking confirmation in case an agent at the border asks for a proof.
  • Clarify in advance with your bank the fees and conditions for withdrawing money abroad. Perhaps your bank has a partner bank in the US? Because if your internship/training is paid, it will be mandatory for you to open a bank account. It is good to know in advance which bank can offer you the best condition as a temporary visitor in the U.S. Think about a bank which will not make it too hard for you to close your account at the end of your stay.
  • Inform yourself about the process of your insurance in case of illness and accident. Read and understand your medical coverage. Remember that the Intrax insurance only covers you in the U.S. and until the end of your internship/trainee program. You should plan further coverage if you travel outside the U.S. during your program or if you plan to make use of your grace period.
  • If you are taking regular medications, please take an English-language note from your doctor and the medication in the original packaging. Find out how you can get these drugs in the U.S.
  • Be informed and plan how you will get from the airport to your lodging place.
  • Ask if your phone/smartphone is contract-bound, whether you can extend the contract, or use a new SIM card if necessary. The J1Sim Phone operator is specialized in limited-time international contracts. You can order a SIM card free of charge on this website. When you arrive in the USA or just before boarding the plane, you can activate this SIM card by choosing the desired package on this page.

 

Do I have to pay taxes during a paid internship in the US?

Yes, an income tax will be deducted from your payment. However, you only have to pay the Federal Income Tax as well as the (if any) State Income Tax and City Income Tax. Social Security Tax, Medicare and Federal Employment Tax do not apply to you. In February, you will receive the W-2 form, which you need to submit the tax return, so that some of the taxes can be refunded. There are various tax companies that do this for you and withhold a percentage or a fixed sum.

Will I have to apply for a social security number? And what is this number?

Yes, if your are receiving a monetary compensation during your internship or trainee program, you will need to apply for Social Security but you can only do so once you have arrived in the U.S. Your host company can only pay you if you have applied for a SSC. 

The social security number is a very important number in the US is often abbreviated as SS # or SSN. This number serves as a universal identification of individuals – even for foreigners and for persons who do not pay in to the American Social Security system. Without a SSN it is difficult to open a bank account in the US or to take out insurance. It can also cause problems with your driving license.

 

What is a SEVIS ?

First, SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. This is an online database of the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security. It serves for the tracking & monitoring of all exchange visitors, e.g. regarding the current location and the program data. The fee for SEVIS is $35 per person. It is included with Intrax in the program costs. Intrax will register you in the database as soon as your DS-2019 is issued.

 

What is the DS-160 confirmation page?

The DS-160 is an online form that each visa applicant must complete to book the appointment at the U.S. Consulate. After completing the questionnaire, you will receive a confirmation page which should be printed out. You have to take this confirmation to the embassy appointment along with the other required documentation.

Does my company in the USA have a workers’ compensation insurance that covers me?

As a rule, American host companies need to have a Workers' Compensation Insurance, which also covers  interns in the event of an accident during their internship, on their way to and from the internship and during business travel. If your host company does not have Workers' Compensation Insurance or does not cover interns, the company must prove that it offers an equivalent alternative or that it is exempt from the requirement.

What documents are required for the visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate?

When your DS-2019 form is issued and shipped, you will receive detailed instructions on how to schedule an interview and a checklist summarizing the required documents for your appointment:

  • Your passport; 
  • DS-2019 form (2 sheets);
  • Training plan/DS-7002 form;
  • Confirmation page of your appointment (a document including two barcodes);
  • Confirmation page of your DS-160 form (to be received upon booking your appointment);
  • SEVIS Fee payment confirmation/ (paid by Intrax);
  • One 5 x 5 cm (2 x 2 inches) color photograph taken within the last 6 months. This web page has information about the required photo format.
  • Financial Certification (any documents showing that you have enough readily-available funds to cover all expenses while you remain in the United States) 
  • Evidence of home ties such as rental agreement, a university letter, a job contract etc.

 

How does the proof of financing work?

U.S. The authorities have stipulated that interns and trainees must demonstrate that they have more than $ 1500 per month. If your internship is remunerated at this level, we do not need any proof as the DS-7002 training plan will serve as evidence of this. If the internship is not paid at all, then we need either a guarantee (from your parents) or a financial statement from your bank for the difference or for the entire $ 1500 per month. (Please link to the docs in the download) Please inform yourself in advance if you come to a city where even the $ 1500 are not enough due to high rents.

When can I enter and when do I have to leave the USA?

The program dates are stated on the DS-2019.

You can enter the USA up to 30 days before and stay up to 30 days after the internship. The expiration date on the visa indicates the latest date you are allowed to enter the US (e.g. after a trip during the program).

Am I entitled to vacation during my internship in the USA?

You do not have an automatic right to vacation but some guest companies arrange free time for holiday with the J1 interns. If you want to leave the US you may need a Travel Validation from Intrax on your DS-2019.

Will I get a certificate for my internship in the USA?

You will get a certificate of participation from us upon completion of the program. You should ask your supervisor to write a Letter of Recommendation a few weeks before your internship ends. We do not have any influence on this, but if your colleagues and supervisors are satisfied with you then you should receive a very positive Letter of Recommendation.

When can I book my flight to the USA?

Even if flights booked at short notice are expensive, we can only recommend following the advice of the US Consulate: only book the flight when you have received the J1 visa. Sometimes there are long waiting times for the appointment, which in the worst case can lead to missing the beginning of the internship. In very rare cases, the consulate decides on "administrative processing" which means additional processing time and can also move the program start.

What is a J1 sponsor?

This is not sponsorship in the financial sense, but J1 sponsorship or legal sponsor represents a guarantee: The American consulates only accept the application for a J1 visa if a designated exchange organization vouches that an intern, trainee and host company in the USA have met all of the program requirements. Intrax as a sponsor is responsible for the execution of the program in accordance with US regulations. Not every exchange organization is a J1 visa sponsor. Exchange organizations must apply for this and are themselves regularly checked by the US Department of State.

Do I really need a J1 visa for my internship in the U.S.?

Yes. Even if it is only a four-week unpaid internship with the American friend of your parents, it is necessary to apply for the J1 visa and a J1 visa sponsor such as Intrax has to check whether the intern and the host company in the USA meet the eligibility criteria for the J1 visa. 

 

Why should I choose Intrax as a visa sponsor?

Intrax is reliable :Intrax has over 25 years of experience with various J1 visa categories. We are transparent: there are no surprise costs to you and our website lists all costs and answers all of the common questions we have received about J1 visas in recent years.

Everything in one place: We have offices in Europe and the USA so we are always on hand whether you are applying or on program.

How long before the start of the internship should I register for the J1 Visa Service?

You can apply a maximum of six months before starting your internship in the USA. Otherwise you should register as soon as possible if you have received an offer for an internship. Intrax in the U.S. will issue the DS-2019 form within two weeks of receipt of all documents and the program payment, but business travel, illness, faulty and incomplete documents, the need for an on-site visit, etc. may delay the process.

Can I apply for the J1 visa several times in my life?

The U.S. State Department sets strict rules regarding waiting time between visas:

  • Between two J-1 Intern Visas: 1 semester of study (90 days if you have graduated in the meantime)
  • Between a J-1 Intern Visa and a J-1 Trainee Visa: 2 years
  • Between two J-1 Trainee Visas: 2 years old
  • Between a J-1 Trainee Visa and a J-1 Intern Visa: 1 semester of study
  • Between any other non-immigrant Visa (J1, F1, B1,B2, M1 etc) and a J1 Intern, Trainee, WorkTravel or CampCounselor Visa: 90 days

 

Can I leave the US and enter again during my internship?

Yes, you may travel within the United States, Canada, Mexico and adjacent islands (30 days maximum) for the duration of your program and for 30 days prior to the start of your internship. If you wish to travel to other countries during your internship, you will need to apply for a “Travel Validation”.

You also have an additional 30 days (Grace Period) after your internship and before returning to your home country. During the Grace Period, you cannot travel outside the United States and then return to the United States, your J-1 Visa will no longer be valid at  U.S. Customs. This rule also applies also to Canada, Mexico and adjacent islands. During the "grace period", any exit is therefore final.

 

Can I travel in the USA during my internship?

Yes, during the internship, you may travel both within the US and leave the US. Traveling across borders is only possible in consultation with the American sponsor organization and must be announced in advance. To do this, fill out a Travel Validation form and send it to our main office in San Francisco together with the DS-2019. Our American Head Office notes on your DS-2019 that Intrax is still your J1 visa sponsor and you can legally re-enter the J1 visa.

You do not need a travel permit for tourist trips under 30 days to Canada, Mexico or the adjacent islands.

After the internship, during the 30 days Grace Period, you can only travel within the USA.

Can I bring my spouse and/or children for my internship?

Yes, if you are married and/or have children under the age of 21, they may accompany you for your internship. For them to do so, you need to apply for a J2 visa. Upon registering in the MyIntrax portal for your J1 visa, you can also register your J2 family members. You could also register them at a later point.

What are the specific requirements for a hospitality internship or training?

Hotels and Restaurants must meet the following additional requirements:

  • Your internship or training in a hotel or a restaurant may not exceed 12 months
  • The Training Plan/DS7002 form must contain a minimum of 3 phases for a 6-month program (4 phases for a 12-month program) with rotations showing a clear evolution in your missions.
  • Training plans including housekeeping and bartending missions won't be approved by Intrax.
  • Restaurants should be rated as „fine dining“
  • A Hotel or Resort must have a minimum of 4 stars.
  • Intrax cannot sponsor positions in establishments primarily serving beverages.
  • Positions in bakeries and pastry shops will be processed on a case-by-case basis upon evaluation of the variety, level of products and services offered.

Work and Travel Summer Job

Can I apply year-round in the Work and Travel summer job program?

Yes, you can apply all year round, but you can only participate during the summer. The program is designed as a summer program only. Each country has specific dates in which students can work in the U.S. Usually students can work in the US for 3 or 4 months between May and October depending on country of residence. (The DOS determines the program dates by country https://j1visa.state.gov/programs/summer-work-travel). 

Can I apply for the J1 Work and Travel visa more than once?

Yes, you can apply up to three times for the Work Travel J-1 visa. If you are unsure of your visa eligibility, you can of course contact us via email at info@intraxeurope.com attaching your CV to your email.

When will I receive my visa after the interview?

Depending on embassies and their processing time, the passport containing the J-1 Visa is usually mailed back to you 3 to 5 days after your interview and visa approval at the US embassy.

What is the SEVIS fee?

First, SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. This is an online database of the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security. It serves for the tracking & monitoring of all exchange visitors, e.g. regarding the current location and the program data. The fee for interns and trainees is $ 220 per person. It is included with Intrax in the program costs. Intrax will register you in the database as soon as your DS-2019 is issued.

 

I have just left school. Can I participate in the Work and Travel Summer Job program?

No, unfortunately you cannot. J1 visa conditions stipulate that you must have completed at least 1 semester of further/higher education. However, we offer other interesting programs for recent high school graduates: You can work as a camp counselor in a summer camp in the USA, on a farm or ranch in Canada, New Zealand or Australia, in a hostel in Australia or use our starter package for a classic Work & Travel program in New Zealand or Australia.

 

What kind of summer jobs are available?

Depending on your qualification, your level of English and employers’ needs there are jobs available such as: waiter, ride operator, kitchen staff, host, cashier, grill cook, breakfast attendant, resort worker, housekeeper, maintenance worker, etc.

Am I eligible for the Work and Travel Summer Job program?

You must be an enrolled student at a university/ college (post-secondary) and have already completed 1 semester when you start the Work Travel program. You need to be between 18 and 28 years of age. 

 

Do I have to apply for an ESTA in order to enter the USA?

No. ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) applies only to travelers without a visa. As an Work and Travel program participant in the U.S. you have a J1 Work andTravel visa for entry.

Can I participate in the Work and Travel Summer Job program if I am not a EU citizen?

You may apply for this program with us if you don't have EU citizenship but permanent residence in the EU.

 

Can I choose where I want to get placed?

You will need to be flexible if you want to be placed by Intrax. Jobs will be given based on demand, your skills and experiences. We will send detailed job descriptions and you will then be able to decide whether you want to participate in their virtual hiring fair (webcam job interview) for a specific job. Of course you may decline the opportunity, but we might not have a job available in the place and position you prefer. You should think about the program enabling you to gain an understanding of American life and business methods and to discover the USA. Being as open and flexible as possible will bring you a long way. We hope that you will end up loving the place where your company is located.
If you are determined to take a summer job in a specific city/national park, we recommend that you find a position yourself and only apply for our J1 visa service.

Do I have to apply in my native country for the Work and Travel Summer Job visa?

No. During the registration with Intrax, your application and documents will be processed online through MyIntrax Portal and the follow-up will be done via email, phone and/or Skype.

After receiving your DS-2019 form at your preferred address, you can apply at any US embassy or consulate which issues J1 visas. If you are currently studying in another country, this is no problem. During your visa interview at the embassy, you should be able to clearly explain your plans immediately after the program and your long-term plans so that it is clear that you do not intend to stay in the USA after your program. (proof of sufficient home ties)

What do I have to do before I leave for the USA?

Before you leave, prepare the following:

  • Make copies of all documents, including the passport.
  • You should know your first address in the U.S. as you must specify this on entry. If your first address is a hotel or hostel, print a copy of your booking confirmation in case an agent at the border asks for a proof.
  • Clarify in advance with your bank the fees and conditions for withdrawing money abroad. Perhaps your bank has a partner bank in the US? It is good to know in advance which bank can offer you the best condition as a temporary visitor in the U.S. Think about a bank which will not make it too hard for you to close your account at the end of your stay.
  • Inform yourself about the process of your insurance in case of illness and accident. Read and understand your medical coverage. Remember that the Intrax insurance only covers you in the U.S. and until the end of your program. You should plan further coverage if you travel outside the U.S. during your program or if you plan to make use of your grace period.
  • If you are taking regular medications, please take an English-language note from your doctor and the medication in the original packaging. Find out how you can get these drugs in the U.S.
  • Be informed and plan how you will get from the airport to your lodging place.
  • Ask if your phone/smartphone is contract-bound, whether you can extend the contract, or use a new SIM card if necessary. The J1Sim Phone operator is specialized in limited-time international contracts: You can order a SIM card free of charge on their website. When you arrive in the USA or just before boarding the plane, you can activate this SIM card by choosing the desired package.

I have already found a summer job in the USA and only need the Visa, can you help me? 

We can assist you with our J-1 visa service and can provide you with the necessary DS-2019 form. Please note that the job needs to comply with the J-1 visa regulations. The following jobs are prohibited among others:

  • Where Host Companies have experienced layoffs in the preceding 120 days and have workers on lockout or on strike
  • Where Host Companies displace domestic US workers at worksites where they will place program participants.
  • Requiring work hours that fall predominantly between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am.
  • Declared hazardous to youth including poultry and meat processing; work involving heavy construction machinery or commercial bakery equipment, with the exception of portable countertop mixers and certain pizza dough rollers
  • That would require sustained physical contact with others (e.g., body piercing, tattooing, massage).
  •  Involved in gaming or gambling that includes direct participation in wagering and/or betting.
  • In chemical pest control, warehousing, catalogue/online order distribution centers.
  • With travelling fairs or itinerant concessionaires (i.e. travelling carnival crew).
  • For which there is another specific J1 visa category (e.g., camp counselors, babysitters, teachers, unpaid internship)
  • In NAICS Goods-Producing Industries occupational categories, including, but not limited to, construction, manufacturing, and seafood processing.
  • Adult entertainment industry jobs, even in a retail role
  • Any position that could bring notoriety or disrepute to the Exchange Visitor Program.
  • Au pair / Nanny
  • Babysitting
  • Camp – as a counselor or even work within a camp or environment primarily surrounded by children
  • Coach of children
  • Crew member on ships or airplanes, or as pilots
  • Domestic labor
  • Factories, manufacturing, warehouses, retail shipping-packing operations
  • Independent contractors (i.e. “1099” filers)
  • Mall kiosk jobs (retail stores within a mall are alright)
  • Medical or veterinary work
  • Operators of vehicles or vessels that carry passengers for hire and/or for which commercial drivers’ licenses are required
  • Pedicab or rolling chair drivers or operators
  • Pharmaceutical services or any job that requires direct patient contact or dispensing of medication
  • Positions that are substantially commission-based and thus do not guarantee that a participant will be paid minimum wage in accordance with federal and state standards for all hours worked
  • Sales jobs involving purchasing sales merchandise to resell (door-to-door sales)
  • Seafood processing
  • Staffing agencies
  • Teacher

 

Can I get placed together with my friend?

You should not expect that Intrax can place you together with your friend. The host company takes the final decision on who they want to hire. You can apply together, but it is possible that you are not chosen to work in the same spot. If you are determined to find a position together with your friend in the same company, we recommend that you find a position yourself and only apply for our J1 visa service

How much do I pay and when should I pay the fees?

J1 Visa Service for self-arranged summer jobs: If you have found a job yourself, the program fee is due after we have received your application and screened your eligibility via Webcam interview.

Job Placement Program: You would pay in two installments: The application fee is due after we have received your application and screened your eligibility via a webcam interview. The remaining program fee is due once you and your host company have confirmed the placement.

You can see all the costs on our website. Since you will at least earn minimum wage, you should be able to not only cover your living expenses in the USA but also a portion of the program fee and other initial costs such as your flight ticket.

 

What documents do I need upon my arrival?

For entering the USA, you need your passport and the original DS-2019 form/Certificate of eligibility. You should also know your first address and specify it on arrival if requested. We recommend that if you are staying in a hotel or hostel at first, to keep a copy of your booking confirmation.

You will also either receive a form of customs on the aircraft or upon arrival at the airport register digitally at the customs where a digital photo of you is taken and the fingerprints of both hands are scanned. Afterwards, an official will ask you about the reason for your stay. 

When should I book my flight to the USA?

It is recommended that you book your flight once you have received your visa. The flight booking is your responsibility.

 

Is an insurance included in the Work and Travel Summer Job program fees?

Your program fees with Intrax include travel medical insurance which meets the department of state requirements for the J1 visa program. Insurance coverage begins on arrival and covers you until the last day of your program. This policy includes a deductible of $100 for each medical occurrence. The deductible for a visit to the Emergency Room is $250. You may also purchase additional insurance if you plan to stay in the USA for the 30-day grace period after your program. Please note that our insurance does not cover any pre-existing conditions. If you have such conditions, you should strongly consider taking out additional insurance for the duration of your stay in the USA.

 

When should I apply for a summer job?

You can start applying in October, both for job placements and the J1 visa service. Usually we sell jobs through February/March. If you secure a job on your own please note that the deadline for a self-placements is January 31.

What do the fees include?

A fantastic summer in the USA, where you make new friends, gain international work experience abroad, improve your English, and some time to travel afterwards.

  • DS-2019 form for applying for the J1 Work Travel visa
  • $35 SEVIS fee included
  • Insurance with benefits according to J1 visa regulations
  • Preparation for visa application, including guidelines
  • Online handbook and other travel documents for the program
  • Program consultation and pre-departure information
  • 24-hour emergency phone number in the USA
  • Certificate upon successful completion of the Work & Travel USA program

Additional services for the placement service: 

  • Summer job placement in the USA
  • Up to 4 interview opportunities if matches did not work out - depending on skills and availability
  • Refund of application fee if Intrax has not been able to offer a job interview or find a placement 
  • Support finding housing if company does not already provide staff housing on site.

How long does my passport have to be valid after the end of my Work and Travel program in the USA?

For members of the so-called "Six-Month-Club", the passport only needs to be valid until departure from the USA. Other citizens need a passport valid at least 6 months after the end of the program in the USA.

Will I need to apply for a social security number?

Yes, you will need to apply for Social Security but you can only do so once you have arrived in the U.S. Your employer can only pay you if you have applied for your Social Security Card.

Can I get more than one job?

Yes, Intrax can place you in one specific job, but you can look for a second job once you are in the U.S. if you wish. The second job must not interfere with the first job and needs approval from Intrax Headquarters in the US.

 

How do I apply?

Please register under: “apply now” and we will send you information on the necessary documents needed from your side.

What documents are required for the Work and Travel Visa interview at the embassy or consulate?

When your DS-2019 form is issued and shipped, you will receive detailed instructions on how to schedule an interview and a checklist summarizing the required documents for your appointment:

  • Your passport;
  • DS-2019 form (2 sheets);
  • Confirmation page of your appointment (a document including two barcodes);
  • Confirmation page of your DS-160 form (to be received upon booking your appointment);
  • SEVIS Fee payment confirmation/ (paid by Intrax);
  • One 5 x 5 cm (2 x 2 inches) color photograph taken within the last 6 months. This web page has information about the required photo format.
  • Financial Certification (any documents showing that you have enough readily-available funds to cover all expenses while you remain in the United States)
  • Evidence of home ties such as rental agreement, a university letter, a job contract etc.

Can I extend my visa if I want to stay longer in the USA?

No, you can not extend your stay. But you have a grace period in which you can travel within the US of 30 days starting on your last job day.

How much money will I earn?

This will depend on how high the minimum wage is in the state where you will go. Your hourly wage needs to respect the state minimum wage. If you have a job where you earn tip, this will not be included in your salary, but please note that the minimum wage for a job with tip is lower.

What is the DS-160 confirmation page and what do I need it for?

The DS-160 is an online form that each visa applicant must complete to book the appointment at the U.S. Consulate. After completing the questionnaire, you will receive a confirmation page which should be printed out. You have to take this confirmation to the embassy appointment along with the other required documentation.

 

What happens if I lose my summer job position?

Unfortunately yes, if your employer is not satisfied with your work he or she may decide to terminate your job. Intrax would try to place you in another job (depending on if you have been placed by Intrax for your first job and on how much time is left for the program), but this is not a guarantee. If no other job can be found for you, you may have to leave the U.S. immediately due to your visa regulations, but this rarely happens!

How many hours will I work during my summer job?

You will need to be able to work 32 hours per week on average over the course of your program. Some weeks you may work more and some less. During busy times of the season, employees can expect to work 40-50 hours per week. Also your work schedule might depend on company needs. i.e. Hotels might need to cover early morning or late evenings shifts. Your work schedule might vary.

 

What do I need to consider during the interview at the American consulate?

Please take only the necessary documents (in a transparent plastic cover) with you. For safety reasons, electronic devices (including mobile phones, smart watches, etc.), backpacks, suitcases and larger bags may not be carried into the consulate. These items cannot be stored in the embassy so you must make alternative storage arrangements. Be punctual but do not show up too early.The interview itself will probably take just a few minutes. Answer all their questions honestly.

 

Work and Travel Camp Counselor

Is there guarantee that I get placed in a camp?

There is no guarantee that you get placed. However, camps usually have a high demand for camp counselors and look forward to welcoming helpers from all over the world. The sooner you apply for the program the better are your chances to get placed. If you have skills that are especially popular (tennis, golf, swimming, sailing, windsurfing, lifeguard, climbing, high ropes course, zip line, horseback riding, archery, photography, ceramics, jewelry making, woodworking, performing arts, acting, dance, gymnastics) - camps will surely find your application especially attractive. There is a certain point at which camps will stop their recruiting efforts because they have hired all of their counselors for the summer.

Can I go together with a friend?

It is possible that you can be placed together with a friend as long as you both meet the skills needed and the camp’s demands (this also includes the program start). You can indicate on your application with whom you prefer to get matched. Please understand that we cannot guarantee that a camp will want to hire both of you, but we’ll try our best!

 

What kind of camps are available?

Camps are located all over the United States in both rural and city settings, the majority in the Northeast and Midwest. Camps run as either overnight programs or day programs and offer a variety of different experiences. 

You will find the following types of camps: private camps (privately owned and run by individuals or families), non-Profit Camps (owned and run by non-profit organizations and their oversight board), special needs camps (camps dedicated to children and adults with disabilities), themed Camps (camps specialized in a particular sport or activity), religious Camps (camps with a religious philosophy or specific focus on one particular religion), day Camps (open only during daytime hours and campers go home at night).

Is an insurance included in the CampCareUSA program fees?

Your program fees with Intrax include travel medical insurance which meets the department of state requirements for the J1 visa program. Insurance coverage begins on arrival and covers you until the last day at camp/last day stated on your DS-2019 form. You may also purchase additional insurance if you plan to stay in the USA for the 30-day grace period after your internship.

Please note that our insurance does not cover any pre-existing conditions. If you have such conditions, you should strongly consider taking out additional insurance for the duration of your stay in the USA.

 

Will I receive training?

You will receive a one week orientation before the official start date of the Camp. This orientation is not meant to train you on any new specialized skills, but rather on how the camp works and what your tasks will be. This orientation will cover everything from camp rules, to child protection laws, to schedules and general expectations through team building exercises. 

How do I apply for a Camp Counselor position?

If you are interested in the CampCareUSA program, please send us an E-mail to info@intraxeurope.com and we will discuss the next steps with you!

Can I apply for the Camp Counselor program more than once?

You can apply for a new J1 Work & Travel or Camp Counselor program every year as long as you meet the requirements. If you are unsure of your visa eligibility, you can of course contact us via email at info@intraxeurope.com attaching your CV to your email.

 

How many hours a week will I work? Will I get days off?

You will typically work from 8h to 17h, but as you will still be generally always with the kids, it is not possible to set specific schedules. Time off is different for each camps but you will generally get a night off each week and a day every two weeks.  It may be more, but this changes per camps and more will be learned on this topic during your orientation.

When should I apply for a Camp Counselor position?

You can apply anytime for the next season. Camps will start hiring counselors as early as June/July for the next year. We should have received your application the latest though in mid April of the program year.  

 

What exactly is the SEVIS fee?

SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. This is an online database of the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security. It serves for the tracking & monitoring of all exchange visitors, e.g. regarding the current location and the program data. The fee for SEVIS is $35 per person. It is included with Intrax in the program costs. Intrax will register you in the database as soon as your DS-2019 is issued.

Can I lose my job and what happens then?

It is possible to lose your job, but this is not dependent on CampCareUSA. We cannot control employment decisions made by your camp. If any placement-related difficulties arise while you are in the USA, you have to contact CampCareUSA immediately. If you are dismissed from your job, your visa status is cancelled and will therefore have to leave the United-States immediately. Failure to do so may result in problems with immigration and customs.

 

What are the required documents to apply?

The following documents will be needed for your application:
• personal  References (minimum two, and cannot be from family members);
• Certificates of childcare experiences (plus translations)
• Photos
• enhanced Criminal Background Check: to include clearance of criminal acts and child protection certificate (this can be submitted later in the process);
• Medical History signed by a doctor(this can be submitted later in the process);
• Valid passport.

 

How does the personal interview work during the application process?

CampCareUSA has a network of qualified and fully trained representatives in different areas of Europe. You will meet up with one of our representatives for a personal interview once the first and second part of the application have been completed. The interview will be an opportunity to chat about your experience with children and why you are applying for the CampCareUSA program in the US.

 

Do I get time to travel?

Yes, your visa allows you to stay up to an additional month in the United States after you have finished your Camp Counselor program. At this time, you are free to travel anywhere in the U.S. For more information on this, refer to the question on the grace period.

What is self-placement (independent)?

This means that you have found a camp yourself wishing to hire you as a Camp Counselor. CampCareUSA still needs to approve your camp. We will assist you with our J-1 visa service and make sure that your application with the camp you found complies with the J-1 visa regulations.

Do I have to book my flight myself?

If you did not select the program with included flight option, then yes, you will have to book your flight yourself. If you have chosen the option with the round-trip flights, CampCareUSA will book the flight for you from your home country to the closest airport to your camp. (This option is only available for selected locations, please contact us if you are unsure whether your location is eligible for the flight option).

 

Can I apply if I have already found a camp myself?

Yes, but CampCareUSA needs to approve the camp and make sure the camp is eligible for the program and complies with the DOS- J-1 visa regulations. You will need to provide the same documentation to us as for the Placement Service.

 

How much will I earn as a camp counselor?

During your stay at the camp, you will receive pocket money. The amount of pocket money you will receive depends on your age and whether or not you have booked the included flight option. What you will earn ranges between $1.050 & $1.750.

What kind of CampCare positions are available?

There are two main types of positions that camps seek to fill: general or specialist counselor.

General Counselors act as the main caregiver for a group of children. Their duties will include staying with the children at night in the cabin (although generally in a separate room), taking them to their different activities, and being the primary support system for their group of campers. In camps that last eight weeks, they will likely be with the same group of kids. In camps that run multiple sessions, they will be assigned a different group of campers at the start of each session.

Specialist Counselors’ roles entail teaching the campers a special skill or activity. To be a specialist counselor, you should be proficient in the various elements of a skill and be confident to teach it to the campers. Campers rotate from activity to activity throughout the day and Specialist Staff will remain at their activity station during those times to receive each group of campers. Here is a list of skills camps seek.

But the key is to be flexible. Some camps will ask specialist counselors to also take care of some general counselor tasks. Camp Counselors will only get assigned tasks related to taking care of children, not support work for the camp itself, thus no maintenance, no kitchen duty, no housekeeping etc. 

 

 

How much do I pay and when do I need to pay?

Placements: There will be a fee split into the application fee which is due after we have received your online application and after we have done a pre-screen interview via skype. The remaining fee will be due after you have been placed.  

Self-Placements: The program fee will be due after we have received your full application and after we have done a skype interview.

Where will I live while I am in the U.S.?

You will usually live directly at your camp. If you work in a day camp accommodation will be provided at or close to the camp. The Camp Counselor program includes housing and food.

Can I choose my camp?

Intrax will attempt to place you in a Camp that meets your skills and personality the best. Usually, the Camps choose an applicant based on the application and skills. Often, they want to conduct a webcam interview before offering a placement. You should be flexible as to the location and type of camp. Camps are usually located in beautiful landscapes. As long as you love children and nature, you will be happy with the site of your stay, we are sure! 

What is the duration of the program?

Most camps last 8 to 10 weeks, plus a one week orientation for you before the camp. Certain specialists, i.e. lifeguards may even be asked to arrive one week before the general orientation week for specific training.
You will be expected to remain at the camp until your contract has been completed. The nine to twelve weeks usually start in June. The latest possible program end date is August 31. You can stay one month longer in the US to travel once your program is over.

What are the criteria to apply to the CampCareUSA program?

You should be 18 or older and proficient in spoken English. You should be interested in working with children  from the ages of 7-15 and have already gained experience in caring for children (for example as an aupair, teacher or trainer). Maybe you have specialized skills (such as team sports, water sports, arts & crafts, etc . You should be able to provide a local enhanced background check. You are available to work in the camp for 2,5 months starting in June.

What do the CampCareUSA fees include?

The fees include:

  • Camp placement in the USA (if opted for placement)
  • DS-2019 form for applying for the J1 Camp Counselor Visa
  • $35 SEVIS fee included
  • Insurance with benefits according to J1 visa regulations
  • Detailed travel-to-camp instructions
  • Housing and Food while at camp
  • Preparation for visa application, including guidelines
  • Program consultation and pre-departure information
  • On-line application and resource portal
  • 24-hour emergency phone number in the USA
  • Certificate upon successful completion of the programme
  • If opted for, Round-trip flights from home country to airport closest to camp (Only available from
  • selected locations).

Can I participate in the Camp Counselor program if I am not a EU citizen?

You may apply for this program with us if you don't have EU citizenship, but permanent residence in the EU.

Living Abroad

Am I entitled to vacation during my program in the USA?

You do not have an automatic right to vacation but some host companies arrange free time for holiday especially on the J1 Intern or Trainee program. If you want to leave the US you may need a Travel Validation from Intrax on your DS-2019.

How long does my passport have to be valid after the end of the program in the USA?

For members of the so-called "Six-Month-Club", the passport only needs to be valid until departure from the USA. Other citizens need a passport valid at least 6 months after the end of the program in the USA.

What is the Grace Period?

After completing any program with the J1 visa, you have the opportunity to stay for up to 30 days in the USA. During this time you may only travel within the USA, so you should not travel to Canada or Mexico and then re-enter. You may also travel to the USA up to 30 days before the start of the program if you receive the visa on time. During Grace Period, you may not be active in your host company. The insurance you get with intrax does not cover you for the grace period, it is then your responsibility to contact our US office to extend your insurance to cover you for the grace period.

Can I receive social benefits while in the U.S.?

No, social benefits are for citizens and permanent residents.

How much does housing cost in Berlin?

Housing costs depend both on the neighborhood you want to live in and your decision to share a flat or to search for a studio or single apartment for yourself. For the summer months, prizes for short-term housing tend to go up. You should calculate 600-1000 € per month, plus another 100 € per month for utilities. There might be a security deposit of 1-3 months rent.

We will be there to give you advise and point you to housing portals such as www.easy-living4u.de and https://wunderflats.com for short-term furnished apartments.
For shared flats, there is for example https://www.medici-living.com/ and www.wg-gesucht.de/en/. And if you speak some German, you can look for a housemate at https://www.studenten-wg.de/Berlin,wg.html. Here is a holiday housing portal with fees per night: https://www.ferienwohnung-zimmer-berlin.de/en/search_result.php. And there is also still Craigslist.

You can ask for our input and we are willing to help with communication with your potential future landlord or housemates to reduce the risk of a housing scam. The actual booking of your place to live will be your responsibility.

How do I deal with culture shock?

A culture shock is different for everyone. The important thing is to be aware that it is something many people experience when going abroad, whether it is their first time or not being in a new country, a culture shock can happen to anyone. The Intrax team recommends talking to a friend, whether from your home country or someone you have met in your host country, and not to deal with a cultural shock alone. It is a completely normal state of mind and it is a feeling that can happen at any stage of your time abroad. For some, it happens upon arrival, while for others it may only occur halfway through the program. Just remember, it is normal and you are not alone!

How much money do I need for living in Berlin?

You should get by with 100 € per week for groceries and drugstore articles. US students are usually pleasantly surprised that food is less expensive in Berlin than at home There are a few website detailing the cost of living to help you prepare your budget for your internship abroad:

https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/in/Berlin

https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/berlin

Every once in a while, you will surely go out for lunch with your colleagues. You should not need to spend more than 10 € including a drink.  Be prepared that you will rarely find places serving tab water for fee. The monthly ticket costs 81 € and allows you to use all means of public transportation in Berlin: subway, S-Bahn, bus, tram, even local trains. The public transportation system in Berlin is easy to use, comparatively reliable and safe. You will easily figure out your way from your home to your host company using www.bvg.de/en. Be ready to show your ticket to the bus driver and to controllers in the subway. The public transport system function on a “honor system” – with random checks.

Please note: Cash is used much more frequently in Germany! Credit cards are not accepted in all stores or restaurants, so always carry some cash with you. Visa is very common. American Express will be almost impossible to use. Check for bank withdrawal fees and maybe withdraw larger sums at a time, leaving some of your cash at the hotel.

Stores: VAT is already included in the Sales Fee. Tip is 10%. No need to tip more due to minimum wage. (9.35 € in 2020)

Do I have to pay taxes in the U.S.?

If your internship, Work and Travel or Camp Counselor position is paid, Federal and State Income Tax (10 – 15%) and City/Local Tax (5 – 8%) will be automatically deducted from your income. Between January and February, you will receive a document called “W-2 form” from your host company. This document includes all compensation paid and all deducted taxes during the previous fiscal year. You will need to complete tax documents and return these to the IRS with your W-2 form before April.There are various tax companies that do this for you and withhold a percentage or a fixed sum.

 

Can I change my position during my program in the USA?

This will depend on your program, but in all cases, a change of position is only possible in certain rare cases and needs approval and examination of Intrax. 

For internships and trainings: For a changed to be approved, there must be specific and clear circumstances as to why you cannot continue with your internship.

For Work and Travel: Intrax must approve a job change and then validate your new host company. Because of the shortness of the program, Intrax would not be able to find a new placement for you. You would need to provide your host company with a two-week notice before leaving.

For CampCareUSA: Intrax must approve a camp change and then validate your new camp and position. Because of the shortness of the program, Intrax would not be able to find a new placement for you. You would need to provide your camp with a two-week notice before leaving.

How much does housing cost in the USA?

If you are participating in a hospitality internship or training, it is likely that the resort will provide you with housing or point you to housing options.

If you are participating in the CampCare program, you have housing and food provided. 

If you are participating in the Work and Travel program, it is likely that your host company may refer you to a staff housing, if not, they most likely will give you tips.

For all other programs and other types of internships and training, you will have to be more involved in finding the right place by yourself. If your company happens to have hosted international interns before, they will likely tell you where previous exchange visitors have stayed or give your recommendations. But even if it happens to be a new start-up or a company where you are the first exchange visitor they receive, your future colleagues and supervisor will understand that you need some help and ideas on safe neighborhoods and what kind of monthly rent you need to expect. 

Housing in popular cities such as New York City or San Francisco is very expensive. For a 1-bedroom apartment in the city itself, you would expect to pay more than $3000 per month. Interns thus tend to look for shared housing options with furnished rooms. Here are some website we can recommend you to look at:

www.roommates.com

www.roomster.com

www.craigslist.org

You still need to count on $500 to $1400 for housing, depending on the city and your distance from the center. In addition, you will be asked to pay the first month up front along with a deposit (up to three months of rent). For utilities (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) and Internet, please budget another $100 - $200 per month.

How to avoid Housing Scams: Unless you have received a concrete housing recommendation from your host company, we suggest that you first book a hostel and then look for permanent housing in person, once you are already in the USA. That way, you can see the place yourself, meet your future housemates and know that they exist. Do not send your credit card number and do not wire a deposit or application fee.

Can I practice secondary jobs during my program in the USA?

Apart from volunteer activities such as with charities, no other jobs or internships are allowed while on a J1 visa. It is strictly forbidden to hold a part time job while on a J1 visa.

How much money do I need for living in the USA?

Living expenses in popular cities on the East and West Coast are higher than other places in the USA. We suggest that you have access to $3000 - $4000 before starting your program for initial expenses such as transportation from the airport, temporary housing in a hostel/hotel while searching for a permanent place, first month rent and deposit, unexpected expenses, and any emergencies. In order to plan financing your internship in the USA, it helps knowing how much you will be paying for food, hygiene and personal care products, transportation etc. The IRS publishes the national standard on average living expenses across the USA and an example of how much is expected to be spent for one person for different living necessities: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/national-standards-food-clothing-and-other-items.

You can also use the following two websites to get detailed information about the price of potatoes, shampoo, transportation, and restaurants in specific U.S. cities:

https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/new-york-city

https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_cities.jsp?country1=United+States&country2=United+States&city1=New+York%2C+NY&city2=San+Francisco%2C+CA

In addition, many states have a sales tax which is never included in the price you see, but always added at the cashier. The tax varies between 3 and 10% and means that you need to add this tax to the price listed on any product.

How and when can I apply for a U.S. Social Security Number?

The Social Security Number (often abbreviated SS# or SSN) serves as a personal identification which would help you in opening a bank account, signing a cell phone contract, etc.

If you are receiving a salary or a compensation during your program, applying for this card/number is mandatory.

Step 1: Get your I-94 number
This number is automatically created after your arrival in the USA.
You can access this number here: https://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/i-94
Click on "Get I-94 Number Now" at the top right of the page and then on "get most recent I-94".

Step 2: Apply for your SSN/Card
You will be able to apply for it about 2 working days after validation of your "check-in" by Intrax.
To obtain this card, it will be necessary to make an appointment at your nearest "Social Security Administration center": https://www.ssa.gov/locator/ 

Required documents for your appointment :

  •  Social Security Application: http://www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf
  • Your DS-2019 form
  • Passport containing your visa
  • I-94 number
  • A copy of your training plan/DS7002 form (Intern/Trainee) or any other document explaining your current position
  • Additional identification information if your passport was issued less than one year ago

 

Can I change my visa status from J1 to F1 (or vice versa) in the U.S.?

Intrax does not support a change of visa type. We advise you to apply for another visa category in your home country.