Who can apply? 


 To qualify as a J-1 intern, you must be a foreign national of at least 18 years old and:

  • Be enrolled in an accredited academic institution or
  • Have graduated within 12 months of your internship start date.    

             

To qualify as a J-1 trainee, you must be a foreign national of at least 18 years old and:

  • Have a diploma from an accredited academic institution and at least 1 year of related professional work experience or,
  • If you do not have a post-secondary degree, you must have at least 5 years of relevant.


In both scenarios, you must have the English skills necessary to operate in an American workplace and train in a field related to your academic or professional background


How long can I train in the United States under a J-1 visa?

  • J-1 intern programs can last from 3 weeks to a maximum of 12 months. 
  • J-1 trainee programs can last 3 weeks, and depending on your field of training, you may be eligible to train in the United States for up to 18 months.


Note: Hospitality training is limited to a maximum of 12 months by the U.S. Department of State, although Hospitality Management Trainings can be longer – up to 18 months.   


Why do I need a J-1 sponsor and why US Training Alliance acts as an agent/partner of the sponsor?

The J-1 exchange program is a highly structured, highly monitored non-immigrant visa program which allows students and young professionals to visit America to further the goals of mutual understanding between cultures via person-to-person diplomacy.

Unlike immigrant visas which allow relative autonomy after arriving in the U.S., a J-1 visa requires constant monitoring and proof that program goals (ie. cultural exchange) are being satisfied. The United States government designates sponsor organizations to screen, select and monitor J-1 exchanging visitors during their stay in the United States. Sponsors are legally required to uphold the rules and regulations of the J-1 program and ensure participant safety and satisfaction.

At the same time, agents/partners assist the sponsors and act on behalf of the sponsors with the conduct of their designated training and internship programs to facilitate the process and to provide further assistance to companies and intern/trainees.

Be aware that the J-1 visa is NOT a work permit. If you need further information about the J-1 visa, please check this article.


Do I have to pay fees to participate in the program?

Both, the sponsor and US Training Alliance, charge fees either to participants or companies. These fees cover part of the J-1 visa expenses. The fees paid help to cover the following things:

  • Gathering, reviewing and processing all of your registration documents.
  • Generating a tailored training and internship placement plan (DS-7002) for your specific program.
  • Issuing your DS-2019 document.
  • Medical insurance for the complete duration of your program.
  • Detailed pre-departure orientation.
  • Comprehensive handbooks, guides and resources to facilitate the arrival and orientation process.
  • 24 hour/7 days a week support from Chef Training U.S. Staff and Sponsor
  • Constant monitoring, evaluating and follow-ups during your program.
  • Cultural events and activities sponsored by Chef Training U.S. and the sponsor
  • SEVIS I-901 Fee


If you want to get further information about the fees of each offer or if you want to know about the scholarship programs we have, please contact us at director@ustrainingalliance.com.



Does US Training Alliance provide scholarship programs or financial help?

At US Training Alliance we think that everyone should have the opportunity to grow professionally independently of their socio-economic situation. For this reason, US Training Alliance collaborate with a Scholarship Program and several agencies that enable candidates to benefit from a once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity in the American hospitality and culinary industry.


Our commitment for the professional growth is what makes us the #1 placement organization for the hospitality and culinary industry. Scholarship programs and J-1 visa are for a period of up to 12 months.

If you want to learn more about the program or you are a company who wants to provide scholarships to the candidates please contact us at director@ustrainingalliance.com


How long does the process take?

In general, we recommend interested candidates apply at least 3 months before the date they would like to begin their program. This is to allow ample time to secure an internship or training offer, gather and submit all of the necessary documents, receive the DS-2019 and apply for the visa in your home country.


What if I found my own host company?


If you found your own host company, we can assist you in securing the necessary DS-2019 and other resources through a U.S. Department designated J-1 visa sponsor. US Training Alliance is currently the agent/partner of 4 different J-1 visa sponsors designated by the U.S. Department of State. If you already found your own host company, to obtain the J-1 visa will take around 6 weeks.


When can I buy my plane ticket and start making travel plans?

We recommend you do not purchase any non-refundable items (plane tickets, accommodations) until after you have received your J-1 visa from the US Embassy in your home country. While rare, delays and visa denials do occur unexpectedly. We understand that purchasing tickets and accommodations early can save you money. However, please be aware that we will not be responsible for any additional expenses due to delays or visa denials.


What is rule 212(E) and does it apply to me?


When you agree to participate in an Exchange Visitor Program and your program falls under the conditions explained below, you will be subject to the two-year home-country physical presence (foreign residence) requirement. This means you will be required to return to your home country for two years at the end of your exchange visitor program. This requirement under immigration law is based on Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Two-year Home-country Physical Presence Requirement Conditions – An exchange visitor is subject to the two-year home-country physical presence requirement if the following conditions exist:

  • Government funded exchange program – The program in which the exchange visitor was participating was financed in whole or in part directly or indirectly by the U.S. government or the government of the exchange visitor’s nationality or last residence;
  • Graduate medical education or training – The exchange visitor entered the United States to receive graduate medical education or training;
  • Specialized knowledge or skill: Skills List – The exchange visitor is a national or permanent resident of a country which has deemed the field of specialized knowledge or skill necessary to the development of the country.


Restrictions – When you, as an exchange visitor are subject to the two-year home-country physical presence requirement, you must return to your home country for a cumulative total period of at least two years before you can do any of the following:

  • Change statuswhile in the United States to the non-immigrant categories of temporary worker (H) or intracompany transferee (L);
  • Adjust status Detailed participant handbook and orientation.
  • Receive an immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate; or
  • Receive a temporary worker (H), intracompany transferee (L), or fiancè (K) visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.


If the Exchange Visitor Two-Year Home-Country Physical Presence Requirement applies to you and you need help to request a waiver, our syster company U.S. Training Alliance can inform you about the steps you will need to follow and help you to submit your waiver application. Please, contact them to this email
director@ustrainingalliance.com.


During your program - Useful Resources​​
Orientation

Before you start your internship or training program, you must complete the sponsor’s online orientation. The orientation offers useful advice about:


  • Traveling to America
  • Making the most of your program
  • Important program rules and regulations


You can complete the orientation any time after you receive your DS-2019 form. However, you must complete it before you depart for the U.S.

In addition, US Training Alliance Staff will support you before and during your stay in the U.S. to provide you further information and assistance about how to find accommodation, how to apply for the socials security number and how to fill out your tax return, among others. You can check our blog to find useful information about monthly cultural activities and information during your stay. In addition, US Training Alliance will be always at your disposition to answer any question you may have to live tis wonderful experience as best as you can.


Does US Training Alliance assist with accommodation and plain tickets?

At US Training Alliance we want to make your live easy and one of the first practical matters you will deal with after arriving in the U.S. is finding a place to live. Chef Training U.S. can help by:


  • Answering questions about local housing
  • Connecting you with external companies who may know of available rooms/apartments
  • Connecting you with local real estate agents and/or landlords
  • Providing links to local websites that list housing options
  • Offering advice on which areas of town in which you should live


For more information and resources that can help with your housing, check out blog and find useful links and important resources to start the process. If you have questions or you need futher assistance, please contact the staff at Chef Training U.S.


Note: be aware of the scams! They are very usual in the U.S. Read this article to get tips and examples to protect yourself from criminal Actions


Arrival to the U.S.: What do I need to know?

Before you leave for the U.S., there are lots of details to consider: important documents you will need, items to bring with you, travel and living arrangements, and more. To get you started, here is an article that will help you to know what are the important documents you will need to bring with you and also another article about packing tips to make your pre-departure as better as possible.


Do I need to provide program evaluations to the sponsor and US Training Alliance?

Program evaluations are one of the many reasons why the exchange visitor program are so successful at delivering valuable professional development and cultural exchange opportunities. They also serve as way for both the sponsor, Chef Training U.S. and the U.S. Department of State to ensure that J-1 exchange programs meet the needs of participants.

It is mandatory to fill out and send program evaluations to the sponsor and Chef Training U.S.


Do I need to pay U.S. Taxes if my internship or training position includes a stipend?

If you have a paid internship or training position, you will likely get paid weekly or by-monthly, either by check or direct deposit into your bank account. Your host organization will provide a statement showing the number of hours of training, pay, and the taxes and other deductions taken out of your paycheck.

As a foreign visitor receiving paid training on a J-1 visa, you are required to pay some (but not all) of the same taxes U.S. citizens pay. Roughly 10% to 15% of your salary will be withheld for federal income tax. Some states and cities also charge income tax, which would could be an additional 5% to 8%. While your host organization should withhold the correct taxes, it is wise to review your first paycheck to make sure there are no errors and the tax withholding is correct.

What you must pay:
Federal income tax
State income tax (if applicable)
Local or city income tax (if applicable)
What you do not have to pay:
Social Security and Medicare tax (FICA)
Federal unemployment tax (FUTA)
If you want to know more about your deductions, you can check this website:
https://www.paycheckcity.com/


Taxes: How do I fill out my tax return?

At the end of the year, you will be required to file a tax return – which is due April 15, unless the 15th falls on a holiday or weekend, in which case your tax return will be due a day or two later. The good news? You may be eligible to claim a refund for a portion of the taxes you have paid. Failure to file a return and/or pay taxes may prohibit you from returning to the U.S. in the future.

Note: Unpaid participants and all J-2 dependents must also file tax forms. If your position is unpaid, there is no tax due. However, participants and all J-2 dependents must still file tax Form 8843. Visit irs.gov for details.

For questions regarding tax status or withholding, please send us an email to director@ustrainingalliance.com


Traveling during my internship of training program

You can travel both domestically and internationally during your program. Remember, too, that your J-1 visa allows up to 30 additional days for domestic travel after your DS-2019 expires. However, if you leave the U.S. during this 30-day period, you will not be allowed back into the country.

If you travel outside the U.S., you must have your original DS-2019 signed for travel by the sponsor. To receive this, mail your DS-2019 and a note explaining your travel plans to the sponsor. Include a prepaid UPS or FedEx return envelope (addressed to your U.S. mailing address) so they can return your DS-2019 form. For questions or more information, email us at director@ustrainingalliance.com

Do the above step at least one month in advance your trip to be secure you receive the documents on time.


Can I extend my program?

There may be opportunities to extend your program. However, extensions are not guaranteed. If you are enjoying your J-1 program and would like to extend your program at your current host company or a different host company, please contact us to confirm options.


Can I change my host organization?

Requests to change host organizations are granted in rare cases only. If you think you need to change your host organization, you should contact us as soon as possible to discuss your situation.

It’s very important that participants not leave or change their host organization without approval from the sponsor. While extremely rare, there are valid reasons for requesting a change of host organization. These include:

  • Financial difficulties at the host organization (bankruptcy, for example)
  • Unwillingness or inability of the host organization to follow the training plan or provide appropriate support and supervision
  • Conflict between the participant and host organization that cannot be resolved
  • Physical or emotional abuse, or harassment by colleagues or management


If such a problem arises, please contact us immediately at US Training Alliance. We’ll inform immediately the sponsor and work together with your host organization to address the issue. If no resolution is possible or a change of host organization is still desired, you will be asked to submit a personal statement describing why the change is being requested and whether a new host organization has been identified.



What cultural activities does US Training Alliance provide to current participants?

The J-1 exchange visitor visa was created with the primary purpose of enabling cultural exchange between the United States and other nations, thereby “building mutual understanding between Americans and people of other countries.” Cross-cultural exchange activities are an essential part of the J-1 exchange visitor program and therefore at Chef Training U.S. we want that you pursue these opportunities as part of your program.

In order to provide you up to day information about the different cultural activities organized in each city, Chef Training U.S. included different monthly options in its blog. Please, check out these activities and be up to date by receiving the different activities that you will receive monthly. Do not miss also the information about American culture/history that we post in  our social media platforms.

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After your program – Let’s be connected and let us help you in your next step


Alumni

After completing your Internship or Training program in the U.S., you automatically become a member of US Training Alliance community – a diverse group of like-minded individuals with whom you can connect and network.

We know that the exchange experience is the start of something much bigger – a lifelong desire to reach out, engage with, and understand the world. We encourage you to become a part of it!

Member benefits:

  • Expand personal and professional networks on a global scale by connecting through our Facebook Member’s Only Platform
  • Engage in professional development
  • Learn about upcoming events


Become active advocates for international Exchange.


Reciprocity and other opportunities abroad

US Training Alliance is committed providing cultural and educational opportunities for U.S. citizens or U.S. nationals in countries around the world.

This way we foster connections with the people from another countries, culture and enhance their abilities in their field of studies and professional careers.

These opportunities can be found in our web page, under the section opportunities and despite are being offered specially for U.S. citizens or U.S. nationals we also provide some of the opportunities to current participants of the J-1 visa program. This way we encourage them to return to their home country and to develop and implement all the acquisition of new skills learned while in the U.S. with the people from their country.


Can I apply if I have received a J-1 visa in the past?

There are several scenarios where you may be eligible to receive another J-1 visa even if you have already participated in the past. Please refer to the table below: 

At US Training Alliance, our goal is to provide both the life-changing opportunity to intern or train in the U.S. and the resources and support you need to succeed before, during, and after your program.


Below you will find further information, from program basics to our rules and regulations. If you have any questions that are not answered here, please feel free to contact us at director@ustrainingalliance.com. 

Resources

​​Minimum waiting period between programs:​​


  • We recommend you to wait 90 days before beginning a new program
  • You must wait 2 years before beginning a new program
  • You must wait 2 years before beginning a new program


​Current Situation:


  • ​You completed a program as an Intern and you still qualify as an Intern
  • You completed a program as an Intern and you now qualify as a Trainee
  • You completed a program as a Trainee and you wish to do another Trainee program



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