Arrival in the United States
Most participants will fly into the New York/Northeast area. Depending on where your camp is located, your flight may fly into a different location; follow the instructions provided by your camp. Please bring a minimum of $250 USD to cover travel expenses, food, etc. We know you may be nervous when you get off the plane or unsure about where you should go. Just follow the instructions you have been given. The airport will have clear signs to tell you where everything is, so be sure to pay attention to them.
Your travel instructions will be listed in your personal account at app.interexchange.org once you have been placed with a camp. Review them, and contact your camp director if you have questions about how to get to camp. There are often multiple transportation options from the airport. Taxi service is often expensive if you are on a budget, so if you opt to take a taxi, make sure you have enough money for your other expenses. Read the travel directions carefully, and don’t hesitate to ask airport employees for assistance if you are confused.
When you first arrive at the airport you should check into your airline and receive your flight ticket. At the same time you should also check your baggage, if necessary. You will then move on to security. As you come up to security you will need to place all of the items with you on the conveyor belt. Small items should be placed in bins. If you are bringing a laptop with you, you will need to take it out and place it into a bin of its own. Each traveler must remove their quart-sized plastic, zip-top bag of liquids from their carry-on and place it in a bin or on the conveyor belt for X-ray screening. X-raying separately will allow security officers to more easily examine the declared items.
You will also need to remove your shoes, belts, watches, coats or sweaters and place them into a bin as well. As your items are being checked you will go through a metal detector or a body scanner to check what you may have on your body. This requires you to step into an open machine and raise your arms while the machine scans your body. The process is very quick.
If you have a layover to change flights once you have entered the U.S. from abroad, you should remember that you typically need to receive and re-check your baggage before your next flight.
Once off the plane, you will immediately go to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to gain admission to the U.S. You will tell the CBP officer you are a J-1 Exchange Visitor when you present your documents.
When CBP’s inspection is complete the officer will stamp you DS-2019. For up-to-date information on clearing Customs, check with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
If your camp has instructed you to fly into New York City, we suggest that you arrive a day or two early. Hostelling International (located at 891 Amsterdam Ave) is our suggested hostel if you choose to arrive early. Reservations will be at your own expense and should be made well in advance. Reservations can be made at: http://hinewyork.org/reservations
If you’re looking for hostels or accomodation outside of New York, be sure to check out our Affordable U.S. Hostels and Special Discounts for recommendations.
You will have to pay for any bus or train tickets yourself to get to camp, so make sure you bring enough money to cover that cost. Save your receipt and give it to your camp upon arrival if they offer to reimburse that cost.
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