Taxes, Wages & Social Security: What to Know When Hiring International Camp Staff

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When hiring international camp staff, many camps have questions about taxes, wages and Social Security. We're here to help! Here are a few our most frequently asked questions on these topics:

Q. Are international staff exempt from paying taxes?
A. InterExchange Camp USA participants are not required to pay federal taxes as long as they earn less than $3,050. State and local tax laws vary. While some participants are university students in their home countries, the IRS does not consider them students while they are in the U.S. For tax purposes, Camp USA participants are considered non-resident aliens. International staff must file a tax return and are often eligible for a refund.

Q. Are international staff exempt from Social Security, Medicare tax, and Unemployment withholdings?
A. Yes. Participants are non-resident aliens on a J-1 Visa. They should not have Social Security, Medicare, or unemployment withheld. For more detailed information, please look at the IRS's Employer Tax Guide and Publication 515 at

Q. What do I need to know about Social Security and Identification Numbers?
A. Your international staff members are eligible to receive a Social Security card once they have checked in with InterExchange and validated their visa. Due to processing times between the U.S. Department of State and the Social Security Administration, we recommend waiting 7-10 days after staff have checked in with InterExchange before going to the Social Security office. 

International Staff are required to apply for Social Security according to U.S tax codes and will need a Social Security number in order to file a tax return. It can take several weeks for your international staff to receive their Social Security cards/numbers but they are eligible to continue working during that time.
If you have any questions feel free to call or email—we are here to help!
Ani Kington Ani Kington

Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Ani is a fan of exploring new places through photography and the local cuisine. After earning her BFA in photography from NYU and gaining communications experience at International Planned Parenthood Federation, she joined InterExchange in 2012, and worked as the Marketing Producer until 2016.

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U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
Exclusive partner of the Erasmus Student Network for J-1 Visa sponsorship of internships in the U.S.
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Generation Study Abroad
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation