Pre-Arrival Information & Orientation

IMPORTANT: You should enter the U.S. no more than 30 days prior to the start date on your DS-2019 Form. If you are unable to enter the U.S. within 7 days after the start date on your DS-2019, you should notify your department at KSU and the Office of Global Strategies and International Affairs (OIA) of your expected arrival date.

Once you have obtained the J-1 visa, you will be able to enter the United States in J-1 status. As you arrive in the U.S., you will present the following documents to the U.S. Customs and Border

Protection (CBP) Officer at the U.S. port of entry:

  • Passport(s) containing a valid J-1 visa (or J-2 visas for accompanying family members).
  • Signed DS-2019(s) for you and any accompanying family members.
  • Proof of financial support (same as the document presented at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate) and invitation letter from the sponsoring department at Kentucky State University.
  • Official admission/offer letter

IMPORTANT: Please put all these documents (passport and DS-2019) in your carry-on luggage, not your checked suitcase. In addition, we recommend that you make copies of all of these documents and place the copies in your checked luggage.

The officer should return the following:

  • Passport(s) with entry stamp: Please check that the entry stamp has the notation “J-1 D/S” or “J-2 D/S” (D/S stands for “duration of status). If you notice a discrepancy, please be sure to address it with the CBP officer immediately as it may be difficult to correct later.
  • Stamped Ds-2019s for you and any accompanying family members.
  • Any of other documents that you provided.

  • Amount brought with you should be enough to cover at least one month’s expenses, as well as any necessary items such as cellular phone, etc.
  • You can bring the money in the form of/via:
    • Cash
    • Wire transfer
    • Traveler's checks
    • Credit card(s) accepted in the U.S.

Under the current system, your I-94 entry record will be available to you by accessing the following website online: Occasionally, a paper I-94 is issued at the U.S. Port of Entry. You will use your passport information to look up the I-94 record. The record should have the date of your recent arrival. The record should indicate “J-1 D/S” or “J-2 D/S”.

Canadian nationals are not required to obtain a visa stamp from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. However, they must present the enclosed DS-2019, SEVIS fee receipt, and a Canadian passport at the U.S. port of entry in order to be admitted in J-1 status for D/S (duration of stay). If you are a Canadian Landed Immigrant, please check with the nearest U.S. Consulate about whether or not you require a J-1 visa stamp, as requirements vary depending on country of citizenship.

Arrival Notification and Mandated Check-In

Kentucky State University will try to accommodate transportation needs from the Blue Grass Airport (LEX) in Lexington and Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF) in Louisville. To schedule a pick up appointment, please send an e-mail to Please contact your host department first to arrange airport transportation.

Check-In is a federally mandated process that requires every international visiting student/scholar to report to the Office of International Affairs (OIA) and have their immigration documents reviewed. Check-In should be completed as soon as possible after arrival to the United States.

Click here for Mandated Check-In Form

IMPORTANT: In order for Kentucky State University to validate your arrival in the SEVIS database, you must register in person to OIA immediately upon your arrival at KSU. We must also enter your local U.S. address (even if it is temporary) in SEVIS at that time. Please bring your immigration documents with you when you come to OIA to check in. Inform your inviting department that you have arrived safely. Attend the mandatory J-1 Exchange Visitor Orientation.

Please click here for a detailed new J-1 scholar checklist

___      Attend J-1 Mandatory Orientation at OIA. Once you have completed the mandatory orientation, your SEVIS record will be validated within three days.

___      Schedule an appointment to purchase insurance with OIA if you have not already purchased your own. In case you have not purchased insurance coverage for yourself and your J-2 dependents, please schedule an appointment.

___      J-1 students. Register for classes if you have not been able to do so prior to your arrival.

___      Get your KSU Campus ID card in in Academic Service Building. This is your campus identification card.

___      Report your local U.S. address to OIA. Address changes must be reported within 10 days of any move.

___      Make banking arrangements. Exchange Visitors are eligible to create a bank account even without a social security number at certain banks.

___      Apply for a Social Security Number (SSN). An SSN is required if you are paid by KSU. OIA can help assist with this process.