Starting Your Job

Procedure

  • Arrive at your workplace on the date listed on your job offer form.  If you are unable to arrive on this date, contact your employer for permission to arrive on a different date, then inform ERDT who will confirm it with the employer.

  • Complete SEVIS Step 1 within 24 hours of arrival.  

  • Wait 1 full business day, then go to the Social Security office and apply for your Social Security number.  They will give you a letter saying that you have successfully applied.  Show this letter to your employer and you may legally begin work (even before your Social Security Number is issued).  If your employer has questions about this, direct them to our Employer Web Page or have them contact ERDT.

  • Your employer will ask you to fill out an I-9 Employment Eligibility form.  You will need your passport, I-94 information, and DS-2019 form to complete the I-9.

  • Your employer will ask you to fill out a W-4 Tax Withholding form.  You do not need to fill out either of the Worksheet sections.  Check “Single” marital status on line 3 (even if you are married or divorced). Claim only 1 withholding allowance on line 5. Do not claim “Exempt” withholding status on line 7. 

  • Remind your employer that J-1 Work and Travel students do not need to pay Medicare, Social Security, or Federal Unemployment tax (FUTA or FICA).  If your employer asks for proof of this, direct them to our Employer Web Page or have them contact ERDT.

  • Begin a log where you keep a record of what days and what hours you work.  You may print and use this one: ERDT Work Log.  If you have any problems with getting enough hours at your job, ERDT will ask to see this log.


Frequently Asked Questions

I applied for the Social Security Card, but haven’t received it yet. Can I work? 

Yes, you can work as long as you have applied for the Social Security Card. If your employer would like to see proof of this, direct him or her to this website: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/employer/hiring.htm  Your employer is also welcome to contact ERDT or visit our Employer Web Page if they have questions about this. 

Is there any way to get my Social Security Number more quickly than waiting for the mail?

Yes, you can go back to the Social Security Office, show them your passport, and ask if the number has been issued in their computer yet.

My employer is asking me for a Work Authorization Card. What do I do? 

J-1 Work and Travel Program participants do not need a Work Authorization Card. The following documents together will demonstrate to your employer that you are eligible to work: a valid passport, I-94 number, DS-2019 form, and either your Social Security card or your receipt from the Social Security Office, saying that your Social Security card will be issued soon.  Your employer is also welcome to contact ERDT or visit our Employer Web Page if they have questions about this.

The E-Verify system told my employer I was not eligible to work. What do I do? 

E-Verify sometimes gives a “false negative” for J-1 Work and Travel participants. This means that it will tell employers that you are not eligible to work, even though you are. 

Your employer has instructions from E-Verify telling them what to do if they get a negative result with E-Verify.  They must follow these procedures.  Your employer is also welcome to contact ERDT or visit our Employer Web Page if they have questions about this.

My job (hours, wages and/or duties) does not match what was listed on my job offer. What should I do? 

Read your job offer carefully.  If you have confirmed that your job offer and your actual job do not match, schedule a meeting with your supervisor.  Bring your job offer, and politely show your supervisor where your job is different from your job offer.  Tell them the change you would like to be made.  Remember - your supervisor is much more likely to help you if you have a pleasant attitude.

If this does not work, contact ERDT.  First, we will ask you for the details of your meeting with your supervisor. Then, we will contact your employer on your behalf.  Based on the discussion we have with your supervisor, we will talk to you about what your options are.

Do not wait to address this issue. It is much more likely that the problem can be resolved early in your stay.