Wrightsville Beach

Arrival in the United States for J-1 Students

It is important to prepare prior to arrival to prevent any delays at the U.S. Port of Entry.

Plan Your Arrival

Exchange Visitors are prohibited from entering the United States more than 30 days in advance of the program start date identified on your DS 2019. You can view the dates of your earliest arrival by viewing the Academic Calendar for exchange students.

What to Bring at the U.S. Port of Entry

It is important to keep your immigration documents with you as you travel (do NOT check these with your baggage - if your baggages is lost, you will not have these items and you will not be able to enter the U.S.). You will need to keep the following items with you as you travel:

  1. Your passport, valid for at least six months beyond the date of your expected stay
  2. Your DS-2019.

In addition, it is strongly recommended that you also hand carry the following documentation:

  • Evidence of financial resources;
  • Letter of acceptance as a participant in the Exchange Visitor Program;
  • Paper receipt for the SEVIS fee; and
  • Name and contact information for your sponsoring organization (UNCW Office of International Programs - Amy Lekeu ARO, (910) 962-3685)
  • Address of where you are living (if on-campus, the address is 601 S College Rd Wilmington, NC 28403)

For greater detail on procedures for traveling and arriving in the United States, visit: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/study/exchange.html

Complete Your Entry Paperwork

If Arriving By Air

Flight attendants will distribute Customs Declaration Forms (CF-6059). These must be completed prior to landing.

If Arriving By Land or Sea

The Customers and Border Control Officer at the port of entry will provide the necessary Customs Declaration Forms (CF-6059) to be filled out upon your arrival.

As You Arrive at the Port of Entry

When you proceed to arrivals, you need to have the following documents available for presentation:

  • your passport;
  • DS-2019;
  • Customs Declaration Form (CF-6059).

All visitors entering the United States are asked for their reason for entering the country. You will also be asked to provide information about your final destination. It is important that you tell the CBP Officer that you will be an student or exchange visitor. Be prepared to include the name and address of the school program where you will enroll/participate.

Once your inspection is successfully completed, the inspecting officer will:

  • Stamp your passport for duration of status (“D/S”) for J visa holders with date and port of entry
  • Your I-94 form is your arrival/departure record online. Be sure to retrieve your I-94 online immediately after arrival using the information in your passport. You can access it here - https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/

Following Admission Into The United States

Students and Exchange Visitors must report to their Program sponsor within 30 days of the program begin date identified on your I-20 or DS 2019 to have their participation in the program activity validated. This is done via SEVIS check-in at orientation or with your immigration specialist for J-1 scholars.

How Early Can I Enter (Or How Late Can I Leave) the U.S..?

To enter the United States, you will be required to show your J1 Exchange Student Visa along with your UNCW issued DS-2019. Therefore, it is important that you keep your passport and DS-2019 easily accessible and do not pack it in your luggage. When you enter the United States, make sure the port of entry officer stamps your DS-2019 and gives it back to you.

Entering up to 30 Days BEFORE Program Start Date

Your J1 exchange student status will allow you to enter the U.S.. AS A TOURIST up to 30 days prior to the start date listed on your DS-2019. Tourists are not allowed to work or take classes.

Leave U.S.. up to 30 Days AFTER Program End Date

At the end of your J1 exchange program, you are allowed to stay in the U.S.. AS A TOURIST up to 30 day past the end date of your DS-2019. Tourists are not allowed to work or take classes.