Congratulations! You have just received your form DS-2019!
Please read all this information very carefully to get ready to obtain your J-1 visa and for your arrival in the United States.
Before You Arrive In The U.S.
» Get informed about The Exchange Visitor Program
Access the U.S. Department of State Welcome Brochure to learn about the program and get useful information as you prepare to travel to the United States.
» Pay SEVIS I-901 Fee
If you are entering the U.S. for the first time on a J-1 visa, you must pay the SEVIS Fee.
- When you receive your DS-2019 go to https://www.fmjfee.com to pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee online or to get information about other payment options.
- Print your receipt as proof of payment.
» Obtain a J-1 Visa
- Your DS-2019 issued by your agency sponsor or FIU
- Passport (must be valid at least 6 months into the future)
- Financial documents to prove availability of funds to support your education (includes bank letter, sponsor’s letter, etc.).
- Proof of payment of SEVIS I-901 Fee (see above)
- Please see your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for other requirements.
» Arrange your Housing!
» Prepare for Travel
- The primary airport is Miami International Airport (MIA).
- Students at the Biscayne Bay Campus may also want to consider Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL).
When to arrive?
- You should arrive before the semester begins but, remember that you may NOT enter the United States more than 30 days prior to the start of classes.
- Exchange Visitors should check with their academic department for any arrival requirement that the department may have.
What to bring to the U.S.?
In your carry-on luggage:
- Immigration Documents: Make sure to take all your immigration documents (DS-2019, valid passport with J-1 visa stamp, and original financial documents) and that they are packed in an accessible place. Do not pack these documents in your checked luggage.
- A change of clothes and essentials in case your luggage is lost or delayed
- Medication you may need right away
- Contact information for someone in the U.S. and for FIU
Other things to consider:
- Place clear labels with your name and address both inside and outside each piece of luggage.
- Make several copies of your important documents and pack them in different places in case one bag is lost.
- Consider pre-arranging your transportation from the airport (see Arrival in the U.S. below).
Arrival in the U.S.
» Arriving at a U.S. Port of Entry (Immigration and Customs)
Please have the following documents ready:
- Passport with your J-1 Visa Stamp
- FIU DS-2019
- It is also recommended that you carry with you:
- Evidence of financial resources
- Paper receipt of SEVIS I-901 Fee
- Contact information of the FIU ISSS Office
» Transportation from the Airport (Taxis and Shared Shuttle Rides)
For airport-specific transportation information please visit:
You may also reserve a Super Shuttle (shared van service) prior to your arrival.
Arrival at Florida International University
1. Check In with the International Student & Scholar Services Office (ISSS)
You must bring with you:
- Valid passport
- J-1 visa stamped into passport
- Form I-94 Arrival Record (an electronic form that you must access online after arriving in the U.S.). Enter your information to retrieve your I-94 record and then print it out
- Local U.S. Address (PO Boxes are not acceptable)
- Foreign Address
- Name and Phone # for an Emergency Contact
You must check in with ISSS within 15 days of your program start date. This includes all J-1 scholars (paid or unpaid by the university). If your SEVIS record is not activated within 30 days of the program start date, you are out of status and must leave the country. This start date is found on your form DS-2019.
To check in, come to ISSS Monday through Friday from 10-2 pm. Please tell the front desk that you are here for “scholar check in.” Upon check in, you must provide ISSS with your U.S. address, your foreign address and an emergency contact in the United States.
2. Attend All REQUIRED and MANDATORY Exchange Visitor Sessions
ISSS International Student Sessions: You will be notified of the date, time, and location of these sessions.
3. Get your FIU One Card
- This card will be your student ID and can be used for a variety of purposes.
- It can be linked to a Checking Account (with Wells Fargo Bank) if you wish.
- You will need to bring identification and proof of registration to the Card Office.
- For more information, click here.
4. Set Up your FIU Account and E-mail Address
- All FIU communications, including from ISSS, will be sent to your FIU email address.
- Set up/activate your e-mail address here
- You may set up your account online and if you have problems, you may contact the Division of Information Technology Support Center.
You will need to bring some money with you for your immediate expenses upon arrival. These will include temporary and permanent housing, food, transportation, utility deposits, and miscellaneous expenses. We recommend that you bring with you at least $3,000 for yourself; if you are accompanied by dependents, you will need more. If you are relying on funding from FIU, you will not receive a check for several weeks after you arrive, so you cannot depend on your salary to pay these immediate arrival expenses. Miami banks usually require several business days before checks drawn on U.S. banks will be paid, and checks drawn on foreign banks will take even longer. Therefore, you should bring the funds for your arrival expenses in cash. Please open a bank account immediately for your cash and also for any checks you may be carrying. Banks located on or near the FIU Modesto Maidique campus include:FIU has partnerships with the following banks (although you may join any bank):
All international students and scholars at FIU are required to have medical insurance. The FIU-approved international student health insurance policy is available for purchase. To learn more visit our Medical Insurance page.