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

    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.

     

  • How much does housing cost in the USA? Read more

    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? Read more

    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? Read more

    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? Read more

    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.? Read more

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

     

  • What is the Grace Period? Read more

    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.? Read more

    No, social benefits are for citizens and permanent residents.

  • How do I deal with culture shock? Read more

    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 does housing cost in Berlin? Read more

    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 much money do I need for living in Berlin? Read more

    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)

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

    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? Read more

    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.