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Important Forms & Documents

Visa Paperwork Explained

Refer to your checklist of important documents that you are bringing with you to the United States.

Bring the original documents in your carry on bag and a photocopy of all important documents in your suitcase.

J-1 Cultural Exchange Visa

The visa itself will be a sticker on a page inside your passport. Keep your passport and your DS2019 form together at all times. Your visa represents permission from the US Government to work legally in the US as Support Staff or Counselor at a summer camp. At the conclusion of your program, you have 30 days grace period to travel within the USA before you are required to leave the country. You may only work as a Counselor, or as Support Staff at the camp for which you have a contract. You must arrive at your camp on the date designated on your camp contract.

Customs Form

On the flight, you will be given a customs form. Make sure to have a pen in your hand luggage. All travellers to the USA are required to fill this out. At some airports this is a digital form you will fill out in the customs hall. Ask your flight attendant before landing if you do not receive one. The immigration officer you meet upon your arrival will stamp it and return it to you. On leaving the baggage hall, after picking up your luggage, you will give this form to a customs officer.

I-94 Record

This is your official Arrival/Departure record from the United States Department of Homeland Security. This will need to be printed out once you have arrived at camp. This is a necessary document to apply for a Social Security Card and proves your legal visitor status in the United States. The form can be obtained by visiting the website listed below and entering the following information: Your full given name and last name (as shown on your passport), your date of birth, passport number and passport Country of issuance.

SEVIS I-901 Receipt

SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. It is a system that the US Department of State and Homeland Security keep track of all participants on the J-1 Visa program. This form indicates that the SEVIS fee has been paid, and will be required for your J-1 Visa appointment at the US Embassy or Consulate. This fee is paid for you and you can obtain your information as to how to print out this receipt on your profile under the Visa Section. This form must also be part of your important documents that you bring with you to the United States.

DS-2019 Form

This form is issued by a US Department of State accredited visa sponsor. It certifies you as eligible to take part in the cultural exchange program and is a vital part of the application process for a J-1 Visa. This document must be kept safe with your passport and visa. Your passport and visa are no good without this form - so remember to take it with you!

Make sure to keep all of your important paperwork together in a safe place prior to departing for the United States. If your DS2019 form gets lost or damaged, there is a reprint charge fee of $50.00. (Note: it is not possible to re-print a DS-2019 form from a previous season.)

Paperwork After Arrival

Once you arrive at camp you will be required to complete paperwork that your camp program requires.

Social Security

All participants should apply for a Social Security number. Camps will assist with this process. In order to apply for a Social Security Card, camps are required to notify the Camp Leaders office that you have arrived.

If you are coming to the United States as a Camp Counselor, your visa sponsor will validate your program in SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System an official website of the US Government) once camp notifies the US Camp Leaders office of your arrival.

For Support Staff you must validate your arrival directly with your sponsor and this needs to be done as soon as you arrive at camp. Visit the visa section of your Camp Leaders account for information and instructions from your Sponsor as to how to do this.

Once your arrival process is complete, in approximately 5 business days you can apply for your Social Security Card. This requires the following: A completed application for Social Security Number, your passport, J-1 Visa, DS-2019, I-94 and your camp contract.

Due to covid-19 some local social security offices remain closed in the USA. If your camp cannot help you obtain a social security number, do not worry.

I-9 Form

This is a required form for US employers. It serves as a verification that you are eligible and certified to work legally in the United States.

W-4 Form

The W-4 form is the form that is completed in order for your camp to withhold taxes. Local state and US Government taxes are withheld based on the number of deductions entered on your form. Please make sure to ask questions if you are not clear on how to complete the form.


Your pocket money will be subject to taxation from your employer, this will be a small amount. You will receive a W2 form in January. This is a summary of your earnings in the US. Based on this form by April 15th you can fill out your personal tax forms for the United States.

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