Housing and Transportation
How to ensure that your J-1 participants find suitable, affordable housing
- Employers are not required to provide housing for their J-1 participants, but CIEE recommends that you assist your participants as much as possible—participants who can establish a settled home base will generally be more reliable and perform their duties better
- Your participants should start their housing search as early as possible, and before they travel to the U.S.
- Most J-1 participants will want to find the cheapest housing possible, and will generally be satisfied with basic amenities if costs are kept down
Employer-Provided Housing Policy
If you are providing housing for your participants, the housing must meet all local codes and ordinances and be provided to participants in a clean and livable condition.
Housing provided to participants should have adequate space for belongings and not feel overcrowded. Participants should feel safe in their housing and all safety mechanisms, such as locks, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers, should be fully functional. All bathroom and kitchen appliances and utilities should be in working order. Housing should have two points of egress in case of emergency or fire.
Furnished housing provided to participants should have beds and they must be raised off the floor and participants cannot be required to share a bed. At a minimum, furnished housing should have furnishings appropriate to each room, in good working order. CIEE recommends providing: basic cookware, basic cleaning supplies, and the first roll of toilet paper.
If you are going to offer Housing, consider the following:
Tip: Employers who hire large numbers of J-1 participants typically have a need for a more hands-on approach to housing, especially if their local area does not have a high volume of temporary housing options.
If you are not going to offer Housing, but want to assist your Participants, you can:
- Maintain relationships with local realtors and/or housing owners
- Check “for rent” sections of local newspapers and send leads by email
- Send links to local housing search websites
- Advise your participants on areas of town to focus on/avoid
- You can decide if you want to rent housing and sublet it to your participants, own it and rent it out to your participants, or hire a third party to run it for you
- Decide if you want to require that participants live in the housing you have arranged
- Make sure all costs are clearly communicated
- Be clear and specific about what is and is not provided/included in rent
- Consider a housing agreement outlining expectations and rules
- Decide whether you want to collect a security deposit from your participants upon arrival
- Decide how much rent you will need to charge in order to cover your costs
- Decide how you will collect rent payments—payroll deduction can be a good option (you must have participant consent)
Possible Housing Options for J-1 Student Participants
- Shared apartments or houses
- Long term budget hotel/motel rentals
- Rooms in private homes
- Volunteer host families
- College dormitories
Transportation to Work
As well as housing, it’s important to consider how your participants will get to and from work. If local public transportation is good, this will be fairly simple, but if not, you may need to think of ways to help. CIEE recommends that employers assist and advise their participants on the best, cheapest, and safest ways to get around the local area. Some employers may need to provide transportation in order for their participants to be able to get to and from work. Options include operating shuttle buses or van pickups, renting or purchasing bicycles for your participants, or facilitating employee carpools.
Safe bicycle riding tips to share with your participants:
- Wear a bicycle helmet and bright or reflective clothing
- Use a bike light when riding at night
- Check equipment to be sure to bike has properly inflated tires and that brakes work
- Obey all traffic laws, always ride with traffic, and use bike lanes when available
- Stay alert at all times and look before turning
- Keep bike locked, when possible
If you have signed up for a CIEE hiring service and been assigned an International Recruitment Consultant, they can provide you with more detailed information and suggestions.
Click here to contact CIEE and learn about our hiring services.