Your First Week (Scholars)

J-1 Scholars (Professors and Researchers)

What to Do Your First Week in the U.S.

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Report Your Arrival to the U.S.

The most important thing you need to do soon after you arrive in the U.S. is to report your arrival online. This is a government requirement and will activate your SEVIS record. Your SEVIS record has to be active when you apply for a Social Security Number.

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Apply for a Social Security Number (SSN)

If you are going to work at Columbia, an SSN is a required part of the paperwork to get paid. J-1 scholars are eligible to apply for an SSN without employment, but it is not required.

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Be Sure You've Met Your Health Insurance Requirement.

Have you met your health insurance requirement that applies to everyone in J status? This includes all family members who may be with you as J-2 dependents. 

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Contact your consulate in NYC

Let them know you’re here. This is optional but recommended.

J-1 Scholar Orientation

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We look forward to meeting you soon!

We provide orientation sessions throughout the academic year to accommodate the varying times of arrival. They provide an opportunity for you to meet other new scholars as well as international scholar advisers. You may review our J-1 orientation webinar at any time. ​​​You will receive an invitation by email.

Please review our Events page for a full list of orientation sessions.

Topics covered
We will cover:
  • Overview of Visa Documents
  • Maintaining your “J” Status
  • SEVIS Registration, Travel, Extensions, Transfers
  • 2-year Home Residency Requirement  -  212(e)
  • Health Insurance Requirement
  • Social Security Numbers and Incidental Payment
  • J-2 Dependents
  • ScholarNews communications and E-resources
  • How to contact us

J-1 Scholar (Professor and Researcher) Orientation Playlist

This playlist is designed primarily to inform you of things relevant to your status in the first few weeks. We also bring to your attention some of the topics that will be more pertinent later on in your stay.

J-1 Scholar Orientation Playlist

H-1B / O-1 / TN / E-3

What to Do Your First Week in the U.S.

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Contact your department

Check with your hiring department for procedures for new employees.

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Apply for a Social Security Number (SSN)

If you are going to work at Columbia, an SSN is a required part of the paperwork to get paid.

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Contact your consulate in NYC 

Let them know you’re here. This is optional but recommended.

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Read helpful tips

Review the information on our Resources for New Scholars page.