How do you fulfill your educational component?
Six credits or 72 hours is mandated by the department of state to maintain your J1 visa. online courses are not acceptable.
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Income Tax Withholding
Because au pair wages are paid for domestic service in a private home, they are not subject to mandatory U.S. income tax withholding and reporting on Forms 941 and W-2. However, au pair wages are includible in the gross income of the recipients, and au pairs are required to file U.S. individual income tax returns.
At the current wage rate it is likely that the au pair will have an income tax liability on his U.S. individual income tax return because nonresident aliens (with certain exceptions) are not able to claim the Standard Deduction. For this reason it is recommended that the au pair take one of the following two steps:
1. File and pay U.S. estimated income tax payments during the year on Form 1040ES-NR (PDF) if the au pair is is a nonresident alien, or on Form 1040-ES if the au pair is a resident alien, or
2. If both the au pair and the host family agree, file Form W-4 with his host family, indicating on line 6 of such form that the au pair voluntarily wishes a withholding amount of U.S. federal income tax deducted from his weekly au pair wages. The host family will report and pay over this withheld federal income tax on Schedule H of Form 1040. The host family will also issue Form W-2 Wage and Tax Statement to the au pair to report his au pair wages and income tax withholding. The host family will need to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) if it decides to withhold tax and file Form W-2. The au pair will need to apply for a U.S. social security number.
Income Tax Filing
Most au pairs are nonresident aliens, and therefore will be required to file Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ to report their au pair wages. As a nonresident alien, an au pair is not eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Hope Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit. An au pair is not really a "student" in the United States, and therefore is not eligible to exclude his au pair wages from gross income under the student article of any U.S. income tax treaty. Please visit irs.gov to obtain the appropriate tax forms or follow the link to the Form 1040NR-EZ: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040nre.pdf
Obtaining a driver's license
As stated in your handbook, many Au Pairs have a driver's license from their home country, and if they are expected to drive in the USA, they should get a state driver's license from the state they are living in. This will help ensure they are familiar with the local rules and road signs, and a state driver's license may be required for the host family insurance. Getting a local state driver's license within 30 days of arrival is a good idea.
Please check with the Department of Motor Vehicles manual in the respective state regarding laws and requirements for J-1 international cultural exchange visitors, as each state may have a different definition of “visitors” or “residents.” International Driving Permits (also known as International Drivers' Licenses) are not recognized in most states (including California).
A written test is usually required and can be studied online as a first step. The Au Pair will go into the DMV and take and pass the written test. Then, the Au Pair will have to take a driving test in the car, so it is recommended that the Au Pair be prepared and get lots of experience on the roads and with the car she/he will be driving before taking this portion of the test.
To get started, visit the Department of Motor Vehicles website for your state (e.g. the California site is www.dmv.ca.gov). The “Driver License” section will provide information for study, links to schedule the test, and a list of material to bring to the appointment. The items Au Pairs are required to bring include their social security number, passport with valid visa, and I-94 form (stamped inside the passport). If the passport does not have entry/departure information, you will need to bring your I-94 form.
To obtain your I-94, visit https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov and enter the following:
- Country of issuance
- Birth date
- Most recent date of entry
- Passport number
- Class of admission (i.e. visa type = J1)
You will be able to immediately print/save the I-94 after completing the online form.
Obtaining a social security card
As stated in your handbook, a Social Security Number (SSN) is necessary to register for and attend classes, open a bank account, apply for a driver's license, and file US taxes. To obtain a SSN, visit the Social Security Administration website at www.ssa.gov and select “Get or replace a Social Security card” for instructions. Au pairs can obtain a SSN in two ways: 1) download, print, and mail the application (including mailing original documents), or 2) go into a Social Security office to complete the process.
If au pairs decide to apply for a SSN by mail, they must send the ORIGINAL documentation below (no copies are accepted). The au pair can expect to get a SSN and all documents back within 10-14 days.
1) Passport (with visa)
2) DS-2019 form
3) Agent Au Pair Program Participation Letter
If the Au Pair chooses to go into a SSA office (enter the host family zip code to find the closest location), the Au Pair needs to bring the same original documentation above but will usually get it back the same day, along with the SSN (however, it may take several hours of waiting).
Social Security and Medicare Taxes
Au pair wages are not usually subject to social security and Medicare taxes because of the au pair's status as a J-1 no-nimmigrant and as a nonresident alien. However, if the au pair had previously been in the United States as a student, teacher, trainee, or researcher in F, J, M, or Q non-immigrant status, then the au pair might be a resident alien during his current stay in the United States, and might be subject to social security and Medicare taxes if his annual au pair wages exceed the applicable dollar threshold found in Publication 926. Please refer to Alien Liability for Social Security and Medicare Tax. If the au pair is a resident alien and his annual au pair wages exceed the applicable dollar threshold, then the host family must withhold social security and Medicare taxes and report them on Schedule H, Household Employment Taxes (PDF), of Form 1040 and on Form W-2 (PDF). The host family will need to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) if it is required to withhold tax and file Form W-2. The au pair will need to apply for a U.S. social security number.
Travel do's and don'ts
You can travel outside the country within your first year if you have your DS2019 signed before you leave the country. You can mail this to: Jodi DiMauro 837 Whalley Ave, New Haven, CT 06515. You should not travel outside the country your extension year.
What is our rematch policy?
We provide one replacement Au Pair after a 60 day grace period along with mediation has occurred. The host family's only responsibility is to provide the transportation for the Au Pair from the Au Pair school to the home.