Arrival Information

1. What to Expect at U.S. Port of Entry

2. Arrival Notification and Department Check-In

3. Attend Mandatory ISSS Meeting

4. Apply for a Social Security Number

1. What to Expect at the U.S. Port of Entry (both land and airport arrivals)

At the U.S Port of Entry (POE), the Exchange Visitor must present the following documents to officials:
  • DS-2019 form
  • Passport (valid at least 6 months into the future)
  • Valid J-1 Visa

It is also recommended to carry the following documents:

  • UCSC Appointment Letter 
  • Financial Certification 
  • SEVIS Fee Receipt

Upon presenting these documents, POE officials will then:

  1. Stamp passport the official date of entry and mark with “J-1” (primary) or “J-2” (dependent) and with a “D/S” (Duration of Status)
  2. You will be issued an electronic I-94 document which can be downloaded by going to: You will need to print and keep this document.

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2. Arrival Notification and Department Check-In

Scholars are required to check in with their Department or Divisional contact to complete appointment paperwork. You will complete your UCSC insurance paperwork with your Department or Divisional contact if you are eligible. Be sure to bring a copy of your insurance application to your mandatory International Scholar and Student Services orientation in order to validate your record as legal within SEVIS. 

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3. Attend Mandatory ISSS Orientation

Scholars (and their dependents in J-2 status) are required to attend their Orientation with ISSS. Orientations are offered bi-weekly on Wednesdays and you will be notified of the date you are required to attend. Scholars must check in at the Classroom Unit Building, Room 101 at 10:00AM. Scholars are required to submit COPIES of the following legal documents at their Orientation:

  • Passport
  • J-1 Visa 
  • I-94
  • DS-2019 form for J-1 (and any J-2 dependents)
  • Proof of insurance from Garnett-Powers or approved waiver from Garnett-Powers
  • Local address, phone number, email (required of J-2s as well)
  • UCSC Appointment Letter
*J-1 scholars must submit the aforementioned documents for each J-2 dependent at Orientation as well.

If scholars are unable to attend their scheduled Orientation, they must contact ISSS immediately. ISSS is required to confirm that J-1 scholars have attended Orientation and submitted all legal documents in order to validate their record as legal within SEVIS. J-1 records must be validated within 30 days of arrival into the U.S. or their exchange program will automatically terminate.

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 4. Apply for a Social Security Number

All J-1 scholars are required to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) with the Social Security Administration (SSA) Office. A social security number is a nine-digit number issued by the SSA to maintain an accurate record of wages. Its primary purpose is to track individuals for taxation purposes.  A social security number is valid for life.

To be eligible to apply for your SSN, you must:

  • Attend the J-1 Scholar Orientation, and submit requested legal documents
  • Wait at least 48 hours from the date that you are validated in the SEVIS database, and
  • Be physically present within the United States at least 10 days
To apply for your SSN, bring the following documents to the local SSA Office:
  • Passport
  • I-94 record
  • DS-2019 form
  • Letter of invitation/offer of employment from your sponsoring UCSC Dean
  • Valid Local Address: Your SSN will be mailed to the address you list within the Social Security application. It is vital to include an address where you will be able to receive mail

The Social Security Offices are located at:
169 Walnut Avenue, Santa Cruz 800-593-8523
315 Main St. Suite A, Watsonville 800-521-3385

Once You Receive Your SSN:
Present your SSN to your Department/Division to complete your appointment paperwork.
Do not submit a copy of your card to ISSS. 

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