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Arriving in the United States

You have arrived in the United States! What is the next step?

Immigration at the Port of Entry in the United States

At the Port of Entry in the United States, you must pass through the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP). There are few important documents that must be presented to a CBP Officer:

  • Valid passport with valid J-1 Visa
  • Original Form DS-2019

The CBP Officer is going to review all your documents. The Form DS-2019 will be validated and stamped. The stamp will show the place and date of the admission in the United States, and the period of time of the authorized stay – the officer will write "D/S" which means "Duration of Status". The duration of status refers to the program dates on Form DS-2019. The officer will then return all documents to you.
Note: It is important that you keep all documents with you at all times and as soon as you receive them back from the Immigration Officer please keep them in a safe place. Always have copies in your possession as well.

I-94. As of April 30, 2013, the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has automated the Form I-94, which is the Arrival/Departure Record issued to each foreign traveler who is admitted to the United States. This means that CBP will create an I-94 record in an electronic format and the paper form will no longer be provided upon arrival. A copy of the I-94 electronic record can be further obtained from www.cbp.gov/I94
Note: All J-1 Summer Work Travel participants will need the electronic I-94 to apply for the Social security Number.

After entry in the United States, go to www.cbp.gov/I94

  • Information should be entered exactly as it appears on the visa or the biographic page of the passport used to enter the United States.
  • The following information is required to retrieve and print Admission (I-94) number:
    • Family Name
    • First (Given) Name
    • Birth Date
    • Passport Number
    • Country of Issuance
    • Date of Entry
    • Class of Admission (J1)

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Clearing the United States Customs

On the airplane en route to the United States, you will be also given the customs form to be filled in and signed. After passing through the immigration area, you will collect your baggage. Proceed with your baggage through customs check stations. A customs inspector will ask you to declare what retail items you have brought into the country, inspect your bags, and review the customs form you filled out on the airplane. Penalties for concealing declarable items can be very severe so always be honest and make a full declaration of any retail items you have brought into the country upon arrival.

  • Gifts and personal items
    Items for your personal use may be brought into the United States without paying duty. As a nonresident, you are also allowed to bring in gifts with a total value up to $100, duty free. If the total value of such items exceeds $100, you will need to pay duty.
  • Money
    You must declare the amount of money you have with you, but you do not have to pay duty on it. Money in any amount may be brought into and taken out of the United States, but anyone bringing more than $10,000 into the country at one time must file a report with customs.
  • Forbidden or restricted articles
    Forbidden items include plants, fruits, meats, vegetables, clothing made from the skins of endangered animals, ivory, lottery tickets, obscene articles or publications and switchblade knives. Drugs without a doctor's prescription or narcotics, such as barbiturates, amphetamines, and marijuana, are also strictly prohibited.

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Traveling to the final destination

Participants are responsible to make arrangements and cover all the expenses of transportation while in the program, including but not limited to, arriving in/departing from the United States, going to work and traveling around the United States. If any assistance or guidance is needed, please contact CSB.

Please search for the means of transportation available before arrival in the United States. Know where you go and how will you get there. Read carefully the arrival instructions provided to you and prepare accordingly.

  • Taxi - it is convenient but expensive
  • Public transportation - it is cheap however the route must be planned ahead

ATTENTION: Hitchhiking is illegal and NOT safe!

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