Pre-Arrival and Arrival Information for International Exchange Visitors
The purpose of the exchange visitor program
The purpose of this program is to provide a cultural learning experience to each student while experiencing working and living in the United States. Also, each participant should improve his or her communication skills in the English language and gaining experience in the US workforce.
Home- country physical presence requirement
Signature World Services agrees to follow all rules and regulations related to the two-year home country physical presence requirements. Participants are also required to meet these requirements.
Travel and entry into the United States
The majority of participants will depart from London or another designated airport city and arrive at the DFW airport in Dallas, Texas or to a major airport close to your assigned location. Your itinerary will be forwarded to you prior to departure. A Signature World Services representative or a representative from your assigned place of employment will greet you at the airport and then transport you to your final destination.
During your commitment your contract will specify who will be responsible for providing you with room and board. Based on your place of employment they may or may not provide you with room or board. In either instance you will be provide guidance to help you secure a place to live during your stay. Accommodations will vary based on where you are placed. You may be in a dormitory style living arrangement, a trailer home, or an apartment. It is your responsibility to always keep your living quarters neat and clean at all times. In some instances, your living quarters are located on property; usually you will live off premise. You will need to provide your own transportation to get to and from work. Your weekly salary will be sufficient to cover housing expenses.
Fees payable to the sponsor
All fees must be paid prior to arrival. This will then secure your commitment to the program. Fees can be paid by postal order, wire transfer or credit cards.
Other costs that the exchange visitor will likely incur
The others costs that you may incur are your own personnel needs. Room and board may or may not be provided to you by the employer during your commitment. In some cases, the employer may supply you with housing as part of your compensation or for a fee. Any post travel and travel back to your departure airport is your responsibility. If you require medical attention, you are responsible for the first US $50.00 deductible. Please remember to get a receipt as proof for reimbursement. Any entertainment or activities you plan to take part in during your free time, is at your own expense.
Health care and insurance
You are provided with health insurance. It is mandatory for all participants to have insurance coverage. Coverage is in effect upon departure from your country. Termination of coverage occurs when one of the following happens: termination of your participation in the program, return to your place of residency or upon expiration of your term. If you are injured while working, you are covered under workers compensation. You will be sent proof of insurance in your flight mailer to show proof of coverage during your travel. Your manager will review with you your coverage and procedures in person upon your arrival to insure you understand it completely.
Other information which will assist exchange visitor to prepare for their stay in the United States
You will need to start your process for your passport and visa once you have received your placement letter, other relevant information, and the DS 2019 form. Please follow the instructions carefully. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our corporate office at +1 (214) 353-2661. These forms are very important, as they are your application papers for the J-1 visa. Remember you cannot participate in our program without a valid passport and J-1 visa. Please complete and send in your papers to your local authority as soon as possible. Processing may take several weeks for your visa to be approved. Make sure you have applied for your passport if you do not already have one.
You will be given a dress code as to what to wear to work. You will need comfortable shoes. Remember that employers in the United States require a more conservative dress code in the workplace than what you may be accustom to. When packing keep in mind that if you do any traveling you need baggage you can handle easily. Airlines regulate the number of bags you can check and carry on. So check with the airlines to verify their requirements. Suggested items needed close to wear for work, t-shirts, clean underwear and socks for one week, swim wear (some places require suits be conservative and prefer one piece styles), sneakers, shoes for after work, jeans, sweat outfit as it may get cool in the evening, and a nice outfit in case you go to a place requiring a dress code. You will want to bring a lightweight jacket or heavy jacket depending on the weather where you will work and a water-resistant jacket for rainy days. Do not forget your personnel hygiene items. Other items we suggest are a towel, a flashlight, sunglasses, camera, alarm clock, and a few limited items you feel you will need for your stay. Please remember that electrical items that are used overseas usually do not work in the U.S. unless it is battery powered.
Upon arrival at your place of employment you will be given an orientation into the company. They will go over the rules and regulations that you will need to abide by. On a typical day you will report to work on time and be given direction from your immediate supervisor on what your duties will be for a given day or longer if applicable. A work schedule will be given to you by your supervisor. Make sure you always have contact information from the company you are employed should you need to contact them for any reason. You should also always keep Signature Services Corporation contact information with you. Make sure you fully understand the policies and procedures of the company and abide by them.
Life and customs in the United States
The best thing to remember is never to travel by yourself, always and have a buddy with you. Hitchhiking is illegal in the United States. The best way for one to make phone calls back home is to purchase a phone card. Your manager will help you purchase one. Public transportation is not as easy to access like in your country. If you try public transportation, make sure you understand exactly where it is going to take you and when the return trips are. The legal drinking age for alcoholic beverages is 21 years old. All workplaces prohibit alcohol of any kind on the grounds. Illegal substances of any kind are prohibited and you can be dismissed immediately and sent home at your own expense if you are found with any. Most companies have a no smoking policy and a lot of public establishments have regulations on smoking. It is also a custom to tip those who work in such service areas as a restaurant, hotel, cafes, bars, and taxies. You will also pay sales tax on most items that you purchase. Your manger will go over the specific regulations in your area once you arrive at the company. Every big city in the United States has a “not so safe” neighborhood, which you should stay away from, so be aware of where you are going and if it is a place you should undertake.
Local community resources
The United States offers many wonderful things to see and do. Once at your place of employment the manager will discuss resources that are near your location. They will assist you in getting around. The most common forms of ground transportation are car, bus, taxi, and trains. In town you will usually find a library, park or recreation area and some types of stores for shopping. You will also have access to activities and resources located in your area. There will be banks located nearby, however keep in mind that most require an account to offer any services to you. Your manager can help direct you to make any necessary arrangements to cash any company issued checks to you.
Available health care, emergency assistance, and insurance coverage
The employer will go over your health care, emergency assistance and insurance coverage with you once you arrive. Throughout your stay you can contact the Signature Services Corporate office at +1 (800) 929-5519 if you should have any questions. Health care and emergency assistance is available 24 hours a day. You’re on site supervisor help assist you while you are at work and direct you with any necessary arrangements. You are given a health card to show proof of insurance coverage. You are only responsible for the deductible and the insurance will cover the rest unless it is a pre-existing condition. An emergency phone number of 911 can be used to contact police if you are away from work or traveling and need emergency assistance.
A description of the program in which the exchange visitor is participating
You will be participating in a training program with Signature Services and or another authorized company that will give you hands on experience working, living and socializing with a wide variety of other professional workers. You could be working with other college students from the US, culinary degreed food service personnel, and a variety of other staff. You will learn the company culture and gain valuable knowledge of the workings of a U.S. company. You may also assist the manager with certain projects and learn about other areas of an operation. Signature World Services will be monitoring your progress through out your stay. During your free time you have the opportunity to visit nearby attractions and explore your surroundings.
Rules that the exchange visitors are required to follow under the sponsors program
Drinking and or possession of alcohol of any kind are strictly forbidden at your place of employment. If you do have a drink while off work you must be at least 21 years of age and in total control of yourself. The US has strict rules about drinking and driving. All companies are smoke free environments. Your manager will inform you of any variations to this rule. Illegal substances are prohibited on company property or in your living arrangements if provided by the employer. Sexual harassment is prohibited at the workplace. Cohabiting, with the opposite sex, is prohibited when housing is provided by the employer. If you decide to leave a company for any reason or you are terminated, you must immediately notify Signature World Services Corporation to discuss the reason and what your options are. Failure to do so will result in termination of your J-1 visa. If you are sick, you should notify your supervisor immediately. You are expected to conduct yourself as a professional adult. You need to respect other people’s belongings and privacy. Have a great time!
Address of the sponsor and the name and telephone number of the responsible officer