J-1 Pre-Arrival Information

Welcome to the University of Texas at Dallas. Now that you have taken the necessary step of obtaining your DS-2019 we would like to share some important information with you about obtaining J-1 status, entering the United States and getting settled at UTD.

Prepare for entry to the United States

  • Pay the I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee
    You must pay your SEVIS fee before you apply for a student visa. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website includes information on I-901 payment options.
  • Apply for a J-1 student visa
    Review instructions on how to apply for a student visa at the United States Department of State (DOS) website. These instructions include how to complete the DS-160, how to make a visa appointment, and the documents required for the interview.
  • Make Travel Arrangements
    J-1 students and their dependents can enter the United States no more than 30 days before the program begin date listed on their Form DS-2019. Exchange visitors should arrive in the United States on or before, the program begin date listed in SEVIS and on Form DS-2019. J-1 students who arrive in the U.S. after the program start date listed on their Form DS-2019 may have challenges at the U.S. Port of Entry. Please plan accordingly.
  • Present your documents at a U.S. Port of Entry for J-1 Status
    Upon arrival to the United States you will present the following documents to a Customs and Border Protection Officer: passport, Form DS-2019, J-1 visa stamp, evidence of financial resources, name and contact information of the Alternate Responsible Officer at UT Dallas.
  • Review the Department of Homeland Security Aviation Security Enhancements for Select Last Point of Departure Airports with Commercial Flights to the United States. It requires all passengers traveling from, or transiting into, 10 specific overseas airports to place all personal electronic devices (PDE’s) larger than a cell phone or smart phone in checked baggage. The measure will remain in effect indefinitely.

Prepare for arrival at UTD

  • Register for International Student Orientation. International Student Orientation provides valuable information to ease your transition to UT Dallas. Visit www.utdallas.edu/icp/ for more information and registration links. You must also contact the ISSO for a special J-1 orientation by calling 972-883-4189 or e-mailing [email protected]
  • Meningitis vaccination. All students (under the age of 22) must take the meningitis vaccine and submit the results to the UTD Registrar’s Office per the instructions on their website. http://www.utdallas.edu/registrar/legislative-policies/vaccine/
  • Arrange housing.  Apply for housing as soon as you receive your offer of UT Dallas admission. http://www.utdallas.edu/icp/housing/ 
  • Plan for your TB Test. All international students are required to complete a TB test screening before registering for classes. The test must be administered and interpreted in the US. More information can be found on the Student Health Center website. http://www.utdallas.edu/healthcenter/immunizations/
  • Health insurance. The U.S. Department of State (DOS) requires J-1 students and their dependents to carry medical, evacuation and repatriation insurance throughout their participation in the J-1 program and while in the U.S. To review the current DOS requirements visit the ISSO website Health Insurance.
  • Expenses. Prepare for costs associated with attending UTD, living in the United States and supporting your dependents. For an itemized list of UTD tuition and fees visit Estimated Expenses for DS-2019 and http://www.utdallas.edu/bursar/tuition/fees/. For your DS-2019, you need to show proof of financial support for the length of your program.

Reporting Requirements

Upon Arrival to the Campus.  In each instance below the ISSO will notify DOS and DHS.

  • Log into Galaxy and update your local address on orientation day.
  • Submit copies of the following documents to the ISSO: passport, visa, I-94 or Change of Status Approval, DS-2019, and the J-1/J-2 Reporting Form verifying contact information.

While an Enrolled Student and/or on Academic Training. In each instance below the new information must be reported  within 10 days of each change. The ISSO will notify DOS and DHS.

  • Change of Address – Report through the UT Dallas Galaxy portal and by submitting the J-1/J-2 Reporting Form to the ISSO.
  • Change in J-1/J-2  passport name – Submit the J-1 Student Services Request Form to the ISSO.
  • Change in J-1/J-2 visa type or immigrant status – Submit the J-1/J-2 Reporting Form to the ISSO.
  • J-1/J-2 Permanent departure from U.S. – Submit the J-1/J-2 Reporting Form to the ISSO.
  • Change of J-1/J-2 e-mail address or phone number – Submit the J-1/J-2 Reporting Form to the ISSO.

Engage in J-1 Program Activities

According to the Department of State regulations [22 CFR 62.1(b)], “The purpose of the Program is to provide foreign nationals with opportunities to participate in educational and cultural programs in the United States and return home to share their experiences, and to encourage Americans to participate in educational and cultural programs in other countries.” The ISSO strives to help J-1 students fulfill these requirements by providing a broad range of activities required of and allowed by their J-1 status. Below are some of the primary requirements.

  • Maintain J-1 Status. Follow the specific guidelines on our Maintain J-1 Status page to remain eligible for J-1 benefits and remain in valid J-1 status.
  • Participate in Cross-cultural Activities. Learn about U.S. society, its culture, and the local community in which you live as well as share your unique perspective, culture and traditions with Americans and other international students. Visit our webpage to learn more about this J-1 program requirement and activities you and your dependents can participate in.
  • Employment.  As a J-1 student you are eligible for three types of Employment. Academic Training, related to the students major either during the student’s academic program or beginning no later than 30 days after program completion. Other employment related to a scholarship, assistantship, on campus employment or economic necessity employment.
  • Additional Resources While Working in the U.S. For additional information on employee rights and laws while working in the United States, please visit the following websites:
  • Social Security. In order to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) and card, the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires J-1 students to provide proof of valid J-1 status and work authorization. Required documents for on campus employment , economic necessity employment and Academic Training include:
    • A letter from your Program Sponsor authorizing employment.
    • Your DS-2019 with work authorization serves as proof of employment.

Once you have obtained these documents you will need submit Form SS-5 along with a copy of your I-94 card to your local Social Security Administration Office.

  • Driving in the U.S. Driving in the U.S. requires a valid U.S. driver’s license and sufficient driver’s insurance. In Texas, driver’s licenses are managed by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

For information about obtaining a Texas driver’s license, pick up a brochure in the International Student Services Office (ISSO).

  • Opening a Bank Account. Non-immigrants are allowed to open bank accounts in the United States. In most cases you will be required to go to the bank in person. Before visiting the bank it’s recommended that you contact the bank to verify the requirements for opening an account. Most banks require two forms of picture I.D. such as a passport, visa or drivers license. Check the U.S. Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control website to see if you are allowed to open a bank account in the United States.