Starting Employment

Participants are required to arrive at your workplace by their program start date, unless they have already gotten permission from both you and ERDT to arrive a different date.  You can find the program start date in the email you received from ERDT to verify the details of their employment, or just email ERDT if you need a reminder.

Participants must complete SEVIS Step 1 within 24 hours of arrival. This notifies ERDT to report the students' arrival to the U.S. Department of State. At the end of SEVIS Step 1, a screen will appear telling the student when they can apply for Social Security.

This link explains to students exactly how to apply for Social Security: Applying for Social Security. If their application is successful, they will receive a letter at their Social Security appointment telling them that their application was successful. This letter allows them to legally begin work. They may not begin work before they have this letter. Students must be allowed to begin work once they have this letter. However, they may be able to get the number more quickly than waiting for the mail, by returning to the Social Security Office, showing their passport, and asking if the number has been issued yet.

Use the student's passport, I-94 information, and DS-2019 form to complete the I-9 Employment Eligibility form.

To complete the W-4 Tax Withholding form, do not fill out either of the Worksheet sections.  Check “Single” marital status on line 3 (even the participant is married or divorced). Claim only 1 withholding allowance on line 5. Do not claim “Exempt” withholding status on line 7. 

J-1 Work and Travel students should never have Medicare, Social Security, or Federal Unemployment tax (FUTA or FICA) deducted from their paychecks.

We recommend students print and use this: ERDT Work Log to track the dates and hours that they work.

J-1 Work and Travel Program participants DO NOT need a Work Authorization Card.

We recommend that E-Verify not be used for J-1 Work & Travel participants. If you choose to use it, be prepared that E-Verify often gives a "false negative" due to the students' unique status. You will need to follow E-Verify's mandated procedures for what to do if you get a negative result.

Participants are required to work for you for at least 3 weeks to demonstrate their intent, but only if the terms of their job offer are being met (hours, duties, pay, location).  Feel free to email ERDT if you need a copy of their job offer.  

If you need to change the terms of a student's job offer either before or during their stay, it is essential that you email ERDT to discuss this.  Changing a student's job without permission from ERDT could have serious consequences, including your company being reported to the U.S. Department of State and/or your state's Department of Labor.