Welcome to the United States

The below information will help you understand what you are set to experience as you arrive to the United States.

U.S. Customs Form

This form should be handed out on board your flight. This form is to ensure that you are not carrying anything into the U.S. that could potentially be a hazard. A customs agent will take this form after you have claimed your luggage. They will then inspect them and your items may be searched. Not all bags are searched.

Passing through Immigrations

The first thing you do when you arrive to the United States is pass through the Immigrations Port of Entry. Here, you will present your documentation to the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Immigration Authorities. The immigration officer you speak with will stamp your passport with your admission date, class of admission (J-1), and that date until which you are allowed to stay in the US on your J-1 visa. They will most likely enter D/S as your length of stay. This means “duration of status”, which means you are eligibile to stay in the US until 30 days after the end date on your DS-2019. The officer will also give you information on accessing your arrival information (I-94). Keep this information safe, as you will need it to log onto the government I-94 website once you arrive to your employer.

Collecting Your Bags

After passing through immigration, you will go to the baggage claim area. Check the display board for your flight number. If you waited a long time at immigration, your bags may have already passed through and been placed on the floor of the baggage area. Once you get your bags, go to the customs desk, where you will show your passport, answer a few questions, and hand in your declaration form as you leave.


You will go through customs after collecting your luggage. Make sure all prescription drugs are clearly marked. If you carry more than $10,000, you must report this to the customs official.
WARNING: Protect Yourself and Your Property. When you are travelling, always keep your property close to you, especially in crowded places like airports, bus terminals, and train stations. Make sure that you keep all valuables – cameras, wallets, passports, documents, and money – with you at all times. Remember: Do not pack valuables in your luggage. Keep them with you. Stay alert, be aware of your surroundings, and avoid uncomfortable situations.

Reporting to your Employer

We hope that you have reached out to your employer prior to your arrival, so that they are ready to welcome you to the United States, and so you know who to report to on your first day of work.
Be sure you have your employers contact details (name, phone number, & email) so that you can contact them if you have trouble. Please also be sure to contact your employer if your flight is delayed, or if you miss one of your connections

To see more detailed information – please download the student handbook