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Summer Work Travel Program
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Program Knowledge - At a glance


Who is CSB?

CSB is an exchange organization designated by the United Sates Department of State, under the authority of the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 (also known as the Fulbright-Hays Act), as a sponsor for the J-1 Summer Work Travel Program. CSB has many roles and responsibilities and it is required to ensure that all parties involved in your program (program participants, international representatives and employers) comply with the United States Department of State regulations governing the program.

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What is the Summer Work Travel Program?

The Summer Work Travel is an exchange program that allows full-time students at a post-secondary (college or university) accredited institution the opportunity to live, work and travel in the United States during their official university summer vacation.

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How do I create Cultural Exchange Experience?

CSB partners with employers around the United States who share our advocacy towards the best practices in the program. We hope that you will be inspired to make a difference by embracing workplace diversity and create a cross-cultural environment by engaging all employees.

    Recommended Activities:
  • ✓ Offer incentives for cross-interaction (e.g. introduce the new staff)
  • ✓ Organize employee events (e.g. American Barbecue, International Potluck)
  • ✓ Encourage employees to be a part of the community (e.g. local events)
  • ✓ Offer incentives to explore the local attractions (e.g. showcase places)
  • ✓ Create a bulletin board (e.g. post specific pictures, CSB newsletter)

  • The possibilities of sharing are endless!
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What is SEVIS?

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a web-based system for maintaining information on participants and exchange visitors in the United States.

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What is Form DS-2019? What is the J-1 Visa?

The Form DS-2019 - Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, is a document issued by CSB, as the designated program sponsor. This form documents the participant's acceptance in the program, identifies CSB as the program sponsor, it defines the purpose of the program and it states the program period, which is also the time the participant can legally work in the United States.

Participants will use Form DS-2019 and other supporting documentation to apply for the J-1 visa in their home country. The J-1 Visa is a type of visa issued only to participants in the Exchange Visitor Programs – in this case, Summer Work Travel Program.

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How long can a J-1 participant work in the United States?

Program participants can work in the United States during their official summer vacation, up to a maximum of 4 (four) months. The exact period, including start date and end date, will be reflected on each participant's Form DS-2019. Most program participants average a program period of 3 (three) months.

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How are program J-1 participants selected?

Program participants are carefully selected by CSB. They must be full-time university students, enrolled outside of the United States in an accredited institution. In addition, each participant must be between 18-30 years old, and demonstrate sufficient level of English to successfully function in an English speaking environment.

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Which is the hiring season right for me?

The hiring season depends on your seasonal need or business peak load. However, because CSB works with partners in 40 countries around the world and therefore approaches varied summer vacations, we are able to recruit and select students for almost any seasonal need during the year.

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Are there any prohibited job placements or restrictions?

Yes. A list of the prohibited placements can be found here.

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Which are my responsibilities as a host company?

On May 11, 2012 new rules governing the Summer Work Travel program went into effect. The regulations outline the employer cooperation regarding working hours, wage, and communication with the participant's sponsor. Employers participating in the program must respect the terms of each job offer signed. Employers must maintain contact with CSB and notify CSB of any changes in regards to the employment status of the accepted participants.

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Do the J-1 participants have a Social Security Number (SSN)?

Except returning participants, all program participants apply for the SSN after arrival in the United States at the nearest Social Security Administration office. It is legal for participants to begin work after they applied for the Social Security Number, based on their Form DS-2019, I-94 card and receipt from SSA. For more information, please see: http://www.ssa.gov/employer/hiring.htm and 26 CFR 3.6011(B)-2 of the IRS code.

    How the J-1 participant should apply for a Social Security Number?
  • 1. Check-in with CSB immediately after arriving, within maximum of 10 (ten) days after arrival
  • 2. Apply in person at the nearest Social Security office. For the nearest office, please visit www.ssa.gov
  • 3. The following documents are needed for the application process: passport, I-94 card, Form DS-2019 and CSB Letter of Support
  • 4. A receipt/proof of the application is received before leaving the Social Security office
  • 5. Visit the nearest Social Security office about 2 weeks after they apply to make sure the application is being processed without any problems
  • 6. Contact CSB if there are problems with their application
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Do the J-1 participants pay income taxes?

Yes. As non-resident aliens, participants must pay Federal, State and Local (if applicable) taxes only. They are exempt from Social Security and Medicare Tax (FICA) or Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA). Please use IRS Publication 515 as a reference.

What if I have been Withholding FICA/FUTA from the participant's paychecks?
You should change the withholdings for future paychecks, and issue a refund of the total amount withheld in error. As the employer, you can claim a refund of incorrectly paid FICA/FUTA taxes when filing your employer's federal tax return. For more information, please see IRS forms 941 and/or 944.

How to Calculate Federal Withholdings for your participant?
Tax withholding instructions change yearly. The IRS provides annual instructions to employers in Publication 15, Circular E, which is available at www.irs.gov/businesses.

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Is there any guideline in regards to the J-1 participant's wage and pay?

A suitable work situation must be provided for each participant, with wage and work conditions consistent with that required of the American counterparts, and in compliance with applicable federal and state laws concerning employment. At minimum, participants must be compensated at the prevailing local wage, which must meet the higher of the applicable State or Federal Minimum Wage. Those participants eligible for overtime must be paid in accordance with applicable state and federal laws.

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How will CSB support my organization?

CSB will help you address your seasonal need while adding diversity. Further, CSB staff will work directly with you to ensure you meet your hiring goal in advance. All program participants must pass an orientation before arrival in the United States to ensure that they arrive prepared for their work and life experience. During the program, CSB will provide a comprehensive ongoing support to both program participant and employers in the United States, while maintaining a 24/7 emergency line, if needed. We pride ourselves for the level of service and CSB staff is ready to address any issues and concerns promptly.

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