Entering the United States

Resources for Current J-1 Participants

You may enter the United States up to 30 days before the start date listed on your Form DS-2019. During your travel to the United States, you will receive Form I-94 and Form 6059B. Be sure that you receive a white Form I-94, which is designated for J-1 visa holders.

At your port of entry, you will need to present the following documents to a U.S. inspection agent:

  • Passport with J-1 visa

  • Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility)

  • Training/Internship Placement Plan (Form DS-7002)

  • Form I-797 (Notice of Action) – this is the receipt from your      SEVIS payment

  • Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record) – you will receive this      during your travel to the United States

  • Form 6059B (Customs Declaration Form) – you will receive this      during your travel to the United States          

Canadian citizens only: You will receive your J-1 visa status at your port of entry.

These documents should remain in your possession throughout your travel to the United States—do not pack them in your checked luggage. If you are unable to present them to the inspection agent, you will have significant problems entering the country. We recommend that you photocopy these and all other important documents before you leave home. Having copies will make it much easier to replace any documents that are stolen or lost.

The inspection agent will ask you a series of questions about the purpose and duration of your stay. You will be required to provide the U.S. address where you will be staying. If you don’t yet have an address, you may give the address of the hotel where you are staying. You must also submit to a digital finger or retinal scan for documentation purposes.

After this is completed, be sure that your passport is stamped by the agent and that Form I-94 is returned to you. Form I-94 should remain in your passport for the duration of your time in the United States; you will return it to an inspection agent when you leave the country.

Finally, expect to have your baggage inspected by U.S. Customs officials. This is to ensure that you have not brought any illegal or undeclared items into the United States.