Arriving in the USA
During your flight, an attendant will give you a Customs Declaration Form (Form CF-6059B) to complete before the end of your flight. For information regarding how to fill out this form, visit the Customs and Border Patrol website.
Clearing Customs and Border Protection
Upon arriving in the U.S., you will immediately go to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to request admission to the U.S. To facilitate your entry, please tell the CBP official that you are a J-1 Exchange Visitor and present the following documents for inspection:
- Your valid passport, including your J-1 Visa
- Form DS-2019
- Customs Declaration Form CF-6059B
If requested, you may also need to provide InterExchange Career Training USA’s contact info. Please carry the following information with you:
100 Wall Street., Suite 301,
New York, NY 10005
212.924.0446 | 888.621.1202
At the border, you will be entered into a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) database, and you may also be fingerprinted and photographed. To learn more about U.S. arrival procedures, visit the Customs and Border Patrol website.
Entry to the U.S.
Once CBP’s inspection is complete, the officer will stamp your passport with the date of admission, class of admission, and the time frame you are authorized to stay in the U.S. The officer should write the letters “D/S” as the time frame; this means duration of status. The duration of status includes the program dates listed on your DS-2019 Form, plus 30 days of travel/personal time immediately after your program end date. Though rare, the officer may write an actual date instead of D/S. If this happens, this is the date by which you are required to leave the U.S.
Note: If the date is before your program end date, you must end your program early and leave the U.S. by this date. Notify InterExchange immediately if this occurs.
I-94 Arrival/Departure Record
If you are coming to the U.S. by air or sea, your arrival record will be recorded electronically by Customs & Border Protection.
You will need a copy of this record when applying for important documents like your Social Security number or other forms of identification in the U.S. To access your electronic I-94 record, visit the CBP’s I-94 website. You will choose “Get Most Recent I-94.”
Visitors coming to the U.S. through a land border (most common with Canadian or Mexican participants) will receive a paper I-94 record from the CBP officer at the port of entry. Keep this safe throughout your program, as you will need to turn this in when you depart the U.S. Failure to do so could make future border crossings more difficult, so it is important not to lose this card.
Problems Crossing the Border
It is rare for J-1 Visa holders to encounter difficulties when crossing the U.S. border. However, if you are agitated, act suspiciously, or if you are missing any documents, CBP officials may subject you to further questioning. If you do not have your DS-2019 Form available, you may be detained; you could also be flagged in the computer system, thus causing delays on future trips to the U.S.
The best way to ensure a smooth entry is to have all necessary forms completed and ready to present to CBP, be friendly and patient in line and with the CBP official, and answer their questions honestly. If you do encounter any problems, please provide CBP with InterExchange Career Training USA’s contact information so that they can contact us.
Although you are not permitted to intern or train before your program start date on your DS-2019, you are permitted to arrive in the U.S. up to 30 days prior to your start date to allow time for you to get settled-in before you begin interning.
NOTE: If you need to arrive more than 7 days before your start date, you are required to pay a $63 early arrival insurance fee. You can make your payment on our website.
Inform InterExchange of your Arrival
Once you’ve arrived in the U.S., you must contact InterExchange within 10 days to register with SEVIS.
Let us know you’ve arrived by submitting this Arrival Form. The form with ask you to list your exact arrival date along with your U.S. contact information.
About a day after you’ve submitted the Arrival Form, you’ll receive an email from InterExchange confirming your SEVIS activation, as well as information regarding your accident and sickness insurance.