You have gained a new appreciation for America, had some wonderful experiences, made new friends, and acquired work experience. Now, you are looking forward to returning home! But first, there are several things you need to do.
Complete Your Job
Social Security Number
If you do not have your Social Security number one month before your DS-2019 ends, visit a local Social Security Administration office and check on the status of your application. It does not have to be the same office as the one where you filed your application.
W-2 Form Completion
Before your last day, give your correct contact information and Social Security number to your employer so they can mail your W-2 form (an earnings statement that you will use to complete your tax return).
Collect your final paycheck. If your employer cannot give it to you in person, it will have to be mailed to you or deposited into your bank account. Ask when you will receive it and make sure your employer has the necessary information to get it to you.
Find out if it is possible for you to return next year and work for the same employer. The end of a successful season is a great time to get hired for next year!
Letter of Recommendation
Ask for a letter of recommendation. This can be an advantage when you are looking for future work.
Keep your employer’s contact information in case you need to contact them after you return home.
Take Care of Your Bank Account
We encourage you to keep your bank account open until you have received your last paycheck.
If you close your account:
- Make sure that your employer has given you your last check or made the last direct deposit of your pay. If money is still outstanding, make sure your employer has your home address to mail you your last paycheck.
- Go to the bank and make sure you close your account properly. Bring your papers (passport, J-1 visa, and DS-2019) for identification. Make sure all fees are paid and that you withdraw all funds from the account. Ask if the bank needs your home country address.
If you keep your account open:
- Talk to your bank about keeping your account open to make sure you understand all the rules, including minimum balance requirements to avoid fees.
- Make sure you can still withdraw money from your account in your home country.
- Give your contact information to the bank in case they need to contact you, and bring the bank’s contact information home with you.
Leave Your Living Space
- Let your landlord know when you will be leaving, and be sure you’ve met the terms of your lease agreement.
- It is important to leave your place the same way you found it, in good condition and clean. This helps ensure that all of your security deposit is returned to you. This is true for employer-provided housing as well.
- If you’ve bought household items that you will leave behind, consider donating them to charity, giving them to neighbors or coworkers, or having a yard sale.
File a Tax Return
You are required to pay federal, state, and sometimes local taxes. The good news is that you may be entitled to a refund of some or all of the taxes you paid while you worked in the United States.
This form is sent by your employer by January 31 after the tax year ends. If you held more than one job, you’ll get a W-2 from each employer. Make sure that you give your employer(s) your home address so they can send the W-2 to you. Regardless if you file your taxes yourself or use a service, you will need your W-2.
You are required by law to file a U.S. tax return, even if you are back home by the end of the tax year. Tax returns must be filed by April 18 for the previous tax year (January 1 to December 31). This means that if you work over the winter, you will file two tax returns: one for what you earn through December 31, and the second for the money you make from January 1 through the end of the program.
Having Someone File Your Taxes For You
You can use a company to file the tax return for you. CIEE offers a convenient service through Taxback.com, which makes it easy to file. The cost is 10 percent of your refund, and the company offers customer service in 25 languages. For more information email or visit CIEE’s dedicated Taxback website.
Filing Taxes For Yourself
The earlier you file your tax returns, the sooner you will receive your refund. If you decide to complete the tax returns yourself, you will need the following forms in addition to your W-2:
- 1040NR-EZ form – This form is specifically for non-resident aliens. It can be obtained, together with instructions for filling it out, on the Internal Revenue Service website.
- State income tax form – This form varies from state to state. You will need to complete the form for the state(s) in which you have worked. A list of state tax sites is available at the Internal Revenue Service website.
Your Opinion Matters
We’d like to hear what you have to say about the CIEE Work & Travel USA program. We want to do all we can to make this experience the best it can be for international visitors, and your feedback helps us do this. Soon after you get back to your home country, we’ll ask you to complete an online evaluation – tell us about your job, your housing, and your experience in the United States.
In order to be certain that you receive the evaluation, make sure CIEE has your correct email address, and add email@example.com to your email account's "safe sender" list.
Stay Connected with CIEE
Once you have completed your CIEE Work & Travel USA program, you’ll become one of more than 300,000 students who have benefitted from our programs. Through the CIEE Alumni Global Network, you can join a diverse and dynamic community that represents nearly every field of industry and country on earth.
To learn more about the benefits and opportunities you’ll enjoy as a CIEE alumnus, visit the CIEE Global Alumni Network website.