US ARRIVAL PROCEDURE

Before you start working and living in US, you need to do three important things: call to sponsor organization to activate SEVIS, call to employer and apply for Social Security Number (SSN).

SEVIS

SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.

This is initiative of US Government and is create to collect information about foreign students. All students are obligated to call to Sponsor within 3 days of arriving to US. Not making a call is tantamount to “no show” status. That means the student who won’t activate SEVIS will be removed from the program and ask to leave the country immediately and another US visa can be refused. SEVIS is also important because of Social Security Number – if you won’t activate it,  SSN process can be delayed or even stopped.

Step by step:

  1. Contact with Sponsor Organization:
    • By phone
    • By mail
  2. 2.    You must provide the following information by phone or email:
    • Full name (if leaving a phone message, spell your name)
    • Foreign partner you came through
    • Current U.S. address (including zip code)
    • Current U.S. phone number
    • Current email
    • Employer name (company name) and phone number
    • Date of arrival

If you will change housing or job you need to provide information about new address within 3 days. The notification must be made the same way:

  1. Contact with Sponsor Organization:
    • By phone:
    • By mail:
  2. You must provide the following information by phone or email:
    • Full name (if leaving a phone message, spell your name)
    • Foreign partner you came through
    • Current U.S. address (including zip code)
    • Current U.S. phone number
    • Current email
    • Employer name (company name) and phone number
    • Date of job change or move

Failure to do so could result in you being terminated from the program and being ineligible to work and receive wages in the U.

SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER INFORMATION

To work in the U.S. you need to have Social Security Number. You can apply for your Social Security card at a local Social Security office. Following documents (and their photocopies) are necessary:

  • Your passport with the J-1 Visa
  • I-94 Card (this should be kept in your passport)
  • DS-2019 Form (make a photocopy of the front and back)

Social Security officer will take the photocopies. The waiting time for SSN is approximately four to six weeks. When the Social Security Office confirm your work permission, the card will be issued. You will also get a receipt letter. Make sure you get a RECEIPT after applying. Your employer will need this as proof that you have applied for your card.

If you won’t get your card after 6 week, call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 and ask about it. You can also check the web site http://www.ssa.gov to find phone number to nearest SSO.

Important: You are allowed to work and be paid before your SSC arrives to employer!

FORM I-9

I-9 Form is known as Employment Eligibility Verification Form. You will get it from your employer. This is the proof for Federal Government that you can work legal in US. To fill this form you need to have passport, I-94 card, J-1 visa and DS-2019. You should also have an envelope with your home country address. It is needed to send you tax forms later on.

TRAVEL TO EMPLOYER

Please, remember to contact with employer and let him know when you will arrive to your job place. Try to find out if anybody else is hired at your work place. It better to travel in groups.  If you will have some problems, don’t forget to call to the employer and sponsor or sending organization.

ACCOMODATION

According to Work&Travel rules, employer is not obligated to provide housing. But sometimes, especially with big resorts, they do. No matter if you have your own housing or employer’s one, you need to get there by your own. Make sure that you know all rules and regulation connected with accommodation. If you need to pay security deposit, ask for receipt and make sure if deposit will be given you back.