ciee - council on international educational exchange

Pay and Taxes

Your Paycheck

Here are some things to keep in mind about your paycheck:

  • Check with your host organization to learn how often you will be paid.
  • Check whether you are eligible for overtime pay if you work extra hours, and find out what your host organization’s overtime policy is.
  • If you’ve already opened a bank account, ask your employer if you can sign up for Direct Deposit—this means your paycheck is deposited into your bank account automatically.
  • Your employer will automatically deduct taxes from your paycheck. You may also have other deductions for other work related items.
  • Review your first paycheck to make sure there are no errors, and that the tax withholdings are correct (see below for more information).

U.S. Income Taxes

If you earn a wage from your internship, you will be required to pay income taxes. These will likely be automatically deducted from your paycheck by your host organization.

As a J-1 Exchange Visitor, you are required to pay some, but not all of the taxes which U.S. citizens pay.

Taxes J-1 Visitors Must Pay

  • Federal Income Tax
  • State Income Tax
  • Local or City Income Tax (if these exist)

J-1 Visitors Do Not Pay

  • Social Security & Medicare Tax (FICA)
  • Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)

At the end of the year, you may be able to claim a refund for a portion of the taxes you paid.

You must pay your taxes. Failure to pay taxes may prohibit you from returning to the U.S., so you should make sure your taxes are being withheld correctly. If you or your host organization have questions regarding your tax status, contact CIEE for assistance.

Participant Testimonial

I've grown both personally and professionally, in a way that will be a great for my career. Being in the U.S. has given me experience that will be very useful working anywhere in the world. I've grown stronger as a person and believe I can do what I want, and go for it.

Enter the WYSE Work Abroad Video Contest and you could win US$2,000!

As a member of WYSE Work Abroad, CIEE encourages you to showcase your creative talents by joining WYSE Work Abroad’s “Expand Your Horizons” Video Contest. Submit a 2-3 minute video about your work abroad, volunteer, work and travel, or internship experience, and you could win US $2,000!

Find out more about this exciting contest by visiting the contest microblog site:

The 2011 contest is now closed. Check back in April 2012 for details of the 2012 contest!

Be sure to notify WYSE Work Abroad that you’ve entered the contest by emailing them your name and the title of your video. You must also indicate that you are a CIEE Work & Travel USA participant.

If you have questions, please visit the WYSE Work Abroad website or email them at