- Can I apply a second time for a J-1 visa?
You can now apply for the J-1 visa categories INTERN and TRAINEE numerous times. Note the following regulations:
Repeat applications are possible as long as you are enrolled in a post secondary institution and seeking a degree.
There is a 2 year homestay requirement prior to being able to apply for the J-1 Trainee category. This also holds true if you previously held a J-1 Intern visa and are now applying for the J-1 Trainee visa.
- Can I apply for tax refund?
If you earned a stipend in the U.S. during your internship/training, you must file taxes the calendar year after your internship/training took place. You will file your taxes with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the US Government, as well as with the state you resided in. It is quite possible that you are eligible for a tax refund. We gladly assist you with the application for a federal tax refund. You will find further information here.
- Can I change my host company?
If due to unexpected circumstances the training or internship at the host company cannot continue, or if you do not receive the training agreed upon in form DS-7002, participants must contact GACC California before termination. Participants are made aware that a transfer to a new host company requires approval through GACC California and can only be granted if reasonable cause is being presented.
The training in the new host company must fulfill the same program requirements and must be in the same field outlined in your Training/Internship Placement Plan (DS-7002). There are no guarantees that your application for a transfer will be approved.
- Can I extend my J-1 visa?
Yes, it is possible to extend your visa. The only limitation is to not have reached the allowed internship/training period in the USA of 12 months max for internships and 18 months max for trainings. For instance: Your J-1 visa has been granted for a 10-month internship. It can only be extended for another 2 months. If you participate in a 10-month training, you can now extend another 8 months. If you decide to extend your internship or training while in training in the U.S., please contact us as early as possible to complete the necessary procedures. You must apply for an extension while you are still doing your internship/training in the USA and cannot do so anymore once you have returned to your home country.
If you would only like to extend your residence permit without extension of your work permit, please refer directly to the Department of Immigration in the USA: http://www.dhs.gov/how-do-i/by-type
- Can I plan my travel arrangements to the U.S. while I am requesting my DS-2019?
We highly recommend not to arrange an interview appointment at the U.S. embassy until you have received your DS-2019. Only after having received approval from the U.S. embassy or consulate should you then finalize your travel arrangements (flight, accommodation, etc.).
- Do I have to pay taxes during my internship or training in the U.S.?
If you will receive a stipend during your internship/training, your host organization will ask you to fill out a W-4 form, which will determine the amount of taxes to be withheld from your stipend. However, due to US tax treaties with several countries, J-1 Visa interns and trainees are exempt from Federal Unemployment, Medicare, Social Security, Federal, and most State and Local Income taxes. If your organization has automatically taken these taxes out of your stipend, you are eligible to claim a refund when you file your taxes. We will gladly assist you in this process: for more information click here.
- How do I arrange an appointment at the U.S. Embassy when I have my DS-2019?
All applicants trying to attain a J-1 visa must personally appear with all required documents at their respective U.S. Embassy. We advise you to check the procedures of the U.S. Embassy of your home country in advance.
Here you will find the U.S. embassies in your country: http://www.usembassy.gov/
- How long can I stay in the USA after my internship is up?
At the end of your internship you may stay in the USA for up to 30 days (e.g. to travel.)
You must leave the country within 30 days in order to avoid any complications with the U.S. government. Exiting and re-entering the U.S. during this period is not recommended.
- How long do I have to wait to get my J-1 visa?
The processing time of your J-1 visa application depends on many different factors, especially on how flexible and efficient you and your host organization are in completing all required documents. If each party cooperates in a timely manner, the entire process may take approximately 4 weeks with our PREMIUM Service and 8 weeks with our SELF Service until you receive your DS-2019. The specific wait time for your embassy appointment and the time that your embassy needs to issue your J-1 visa, varies according to your home country.
- Is it possible to accept a work offer while I am an intern/trainee in the U.S.?
No. The J-1 visa is only valid for working at the host company stated in your initial application.
Accepting other work offers would infringe upon U.S. visa regulations. Immediate departure to your home country will be executed. The U.S. Department of State may even ban you from coming back to the U.S. for many years.
- What do I need to consider when traveling outside the U.S.?
If you plan to leave the U.S. and re-enter, you must contact GACC California beforehand in order to have the Responsible Officer sign your form DS-2019. This will allow you to return to the U.S. within the time of your training or internship. This does not only apply to visits to your home country, but also to short visits to Canada or Mexico. While this signature is only required once a year, you must inform GACC California of any trips you will take during this time. Please send us your DS-2019 together with a self-addressed envelop at least 2 weeks before your scheduled departure.
When leaving the country you will need to hand your I-94 card to a U.S. Official. When re-entering you will need to show your form DS-2019 to the Immigration Officer. Be sure to get your form DS-2019 back. You will receive a new I-94 card.
- Who can I contact if I have problems during my internship ot training?
GACC California will support you in case a problem arises during your internship/training. Do not hesitate to contact us. We are dedicated to you even past your application and guarantee our best services.
- Will I need a biometric passport to enter the U.S.?
No, if you currently do not have a biometric passport, you are not required to apply for one. However, your passport must be readable by the appropriate machines and be valid for at least six months after you are planning on leaving the U.S.
- Will I need a social security number?
Yes, obtaining a social security number is really important for your stay in the U.S. You will need it for identification purposes, to open a bank account, to apply for a driver’s license and to get a tax refund. Therefore, you should visit a social security office with your passport, I-94, DS-2019 and your “Employee Letter”. You can find the nearest office by visiting the following website https://secure.ssa.gov/apps6z/FOLO/fo001.jsp