Before you head home

Steps to take 2 weeks before you complete work

  • Before your last day at work, give your contact information (address, email, telephone, etc.) to your employer so they can mail you your W-2 Form for tax purposes.
  • Request your final paycheck before returning home. If this is not possible, ask your employer when you can expect to receive it and how you will receive payment (paycheck, direct deposit, etc.).
  • If you do not have your Social Security Number you must go 2 weeks 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 where you filed the Social Security Number application.
  • Contact your housing landlord (in some cases your employer) and confirm the date you plan to leave your housing so they can be ready to inspect your apartment and return your security deposit if you are eligible.  In most cases to be eligible you must not leave before the end of your program and if the housing is left in the condition in which you found it.
  • Confirm you have all the correct employer contact information for your employer (company name, address, manager’s name, phone number, email, etc.) in case there is any reason to contact them from your home country after your program is over.
  • If you want to return to the U.S next year and you want to work for the same employer, speak to your employer about returning for another year. Talking in person is one of the best ways to make such plans.
  • If you plan on traveling after your program ends make sure you confirm any domestic flights and hotels so that you have a smooth and easy time.
  • If you need to make travel arrangements to the airport confirm what transportation service will be available and all associated costs.  Contact your LifExchange local coordinator for additional information if you need assistance.

Closing Your Bank Account

If you opened a bank account in the U.S., you need to decide if you plan to keep your bank account open or if you will close it permanently. Following is some information to help you understand what to do in each situation.

If you decide to close the account:

If you have direct deposit for your paychecks, make sure that your employer has paid you in full and no more paychecks will be deposited into the account. If you are expecting another paycheck after you leave, give your employer an alternate bank account to use.

Next, you will need to talk to your bank about closing your account. This is best to do in person. As a general rule, this consists of the following steps:

  1. Bring your important documents to your bank so that you can identify yourself (Passport, J-1 Visa, and DS-2019).
  2. Make sure that you don’t owe any fees to the bank and withdraw any remaining funds.
  3. Ask the bank representative if they need your home country address.

If you decide to keep your bank account open:

  • Talk to your bank about your plans to keep your account open to make sure you understand all the rules.
  • Make sure you understand what the minimum balance requirements are for your bank account.
  • Make sure you can still withdraw money from your account in your home country.
  • Do not over-withdraw your bank account if you leave it open, as there are fees associated with this.
  • Make sure you have contact information for the bank in case you need to contact them.

Filing Your Tax Return

You can file your tax return yourself or you can use a company to file the tax return for you. If you decide to complete the tax returns yourself, you will need the following forms:

  • W-2 FormThis form is sent by the employer(s) after the tax year ends and it details the total wages and the amount of each tax that was withheld. Make sure that you give your employer(s) your home address so they can send the W-2 form(s) to you.At the beginning of the calendar year after your LifExchange/YMCA Work & Travel USA program, you will receive a W-2 form from your U.S. employer detailing what taxes you paid while under their employment. The W-2 must legally be issued by January 31, and you can expect to receive it in February or March at the latest.

    If you worked for more than one employer, you will receive a separate W-2 form from each. Once you have received the W-2 form(s), you can fill out the 1040NR-EZ Form. You will also need to fill out state and city tax forms.

  • 1040NR-EZ Form This form is specifically for non-resident aliens. It can be obtained, together with instructions for filling it out, on the US government web site – for “1040NR – EZ form”).Use the charts found in the 1040NR-EZ instructions to determine the tax refund or the amount of tax owed.
  • State Income Tax Form This form is different for each of the 50 states in the U.S., and 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 earlier you file your tax returns, the sooner you will receive your refund. Remember the standard deadline for filing tax return forms is April 15!


Shortly after you return home, you will receive an email from LifExchange asking you to complete an online evaluation of your program experience. Participant evaluations are used by LifExchange to update and improve the LifExchange/YMCA Work & Travel USA program, and the services we offer.

In your evaluation we will ask you to tell us about your job, the quality of your housing, and your experience with LifExchange and the International YMCA. We will also give you the chance to tell us your Work & Travel story, and there are some great prizes for the participants who send the most interesting stories.

Travel Adventure Store

Are you looking for a new T-Shirt, mugs, bags or other items to bring home as gifts or memories?  Check out the Travel Adventure store to order your Work and Travel clothing and giftware.

Creating a Global Society through Travel and Understanding

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