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Pre-arrival Information


​​On behalf of the International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) unit within the Office of International Affairs (OIA), we are excited to have you join us. You will soon become part of an international community that includes nearly 1,700 international students and scholars from nearly 100 different countries.

We trust you will find your time here rewarding and complimentary to your personal and professional goals. In order to ​​ensure a successful start at the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus, you will find detailed information regarding next steps as you prepare for departure to the U.S. and upon arrival in the U.S.

The broad purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program is to promote international educational and cultural exchange, in order to develop mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries.  Exchange programs exist in a variety of formats and permit visitors to come to this country for a wide range of activities.  This university’s Exchange Visitor Program provides opportunities for study and research. 

Many participants in the J-1 Program are subject to a requirement that they return home for a minimum of two years upon completion of their program.  The purpose of the requirement is to allow the home country to benefit from the Exchange Visitor's experience in the United States.  The terms of this requirement are specified on the DS-2019 form.  If you have questions about the requirements and whether or not they apply to you, please raise them with the Consular Officer when you apply for your visa.​

​You will find information about various topics, such as the visa application process, arrival at the U.S. port of entry, housing, health insurance, and transportation. Review the steps below to avoid any delays upon your arrival to the U.S. and the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus. 

FIRST STEPS

 Step 1: Paying the SEVIS Fee

SEVIS Fee

As a new J-1 Exchange Visitor, you will pay a SEVIS fee of USD $220 prior to obtaining your J-1 visa. The fee is not charged to those transferring from one program to another, unless you are moving from a government J program to a non-government J program. Family members accompanying the principal Exchange Visitor and entering as J-2 dependents are not required to pay this fee. All SEVIS fee payments must be accompanied by Form I-901 and a receipt notice will be issued to you when the fee is processed. 

For more information about paying this fee and to access Form I-901, Visit the following website: http://fmjfee.com/

You will need to have the University of Colorado Denver’s Exchange Visitor Program Number, which is P-1-03858. You will also need your SEVIS ID number, found at the top right hand corner of your form DS-2019, beginning with “N” followed by 10 numbers. You must pay the SEVIS fee far enough in advance to allow consular verification of the fee payment before your J-1 visa can be issued. If you have paid the fee via credit card over the Internet, you can print a receipt as proof of payment. Once you have paid the SEVIS fee, you will need to take your receipt notice, Form DS-2019, and your passport with you to your appointment for the visa.


Form DS-2019

In accepting a visa based on the Form DS-2019, you obligate yourself to comply with the terms and conditions stated on the Form DS-2019, and you will be admitted to the United States for the sole purpose of carrying out the program stated in Item 4 on the form. Please read the entire certificate carefully to be sure that you understand all of the conditions. Please pay special attention to page 2, item 1(a) and 1(c). Item 1(a) explains the two-year home country residence requirement, which applies to some exchange visitors. Item 1(c) states the time limitations which are placed on the various categories of exchange visitors. These time limitations are strictly enforced.

If you have questions about these or other matters, discuss them with the consular officer when you apply for your visa. Once your visa is issued, the consular officer will return the original DS-2019 form to you. You should present it again to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer at your port of entry to the United States. That officer will return the original DS-2019 form. Keep form DS-2019 with your passport. Keep all copies of form DS-2019 permanently.

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 Step 2: Applying for J-1 VISA

General Visa Information

Please be aware that the forms and documents required for your visa appointment will differ depending on the consulate where you apply for your visa. Please visit the U.S. Department of State’s website and search for the website of the U.S. Consulate where you will be applying for your visa. There you will find additional information on specific requirements of that consulate. You will also need to m​ake an appointment for a visa interview, following the instructions given at that link. In general, you should be prepared to present the following items to the consular official:


Items Generally Required for J-1 Visa applicant

  • Passport, valid for travel to the U.S. with a validity date at least 6 months beyond the applicant’s intended period of stay in the U.S.
  • Form DS-2019 from CU Denver
  • Letter of Invitation
  • Proof of financial support, if from a source other than CU Denver
  • Proof of proficiency in the English language
  • Form DS-160, “Nonimmigrant Electronic Visa Application,” which must be completed on-line
  • Two photos, 37x37mm (1 and ½ inches square) for each applicant showing full face, without head covering, with a neutral (non-smiling) expression, against a light background
  • Machine Readable Visa (MRV) surcharge fee (currently $160 for J visas)
  • Visa reciprocity fee [Check to See if Applicable]
  • Proof of payment of the SEVIS Fee, if applicable. (I-901 Fee)

Items Generally Required for J-1 Student Intern Visa applicant
  • Passport, valid for travel to the U.S. with a validity date at least 6 months beyond the applicant’s intended period of stay in the U.S.
  • Form DS-2019 from CU Denver
  • Form DS-7002 Training/Internship Placement Plan
  • Proof of financial support, if from a source other than CU Denver
  • Proof of proficiency in the English language
  • Form DS-160, “Nonimmigrant Electronic Visa Application,” which must be completed on-line
  • Two photos, 37x37mm (1 and ½ inches square) for each applicant showing full face, without head covering, with a neutral (non-smiling) expression, against a light background
  • Machine Readable Visa (MRV) surcharge fee (currently $160 for J visas)
  • Visa reciprocity fee, if applicable (refer to your country of citizenship at http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/reciprocity/reciprocity_3272.html)
  • Proof of payment of the SEVIS Fee.  For additional information, please refer to http://www.ice.gov/graphics/sevis/i901/faq.html

​Canadian Citizens are not required to obtain a J-1 Visa in Passport

When you enter the U.S. for the first time in J-1 status, please be prepared to present the following items to the border official:

  • Passport, valid for travel to the U.S. with a validity date at least 6 months beyond the applicant’s intended period of stay in the U.S.
  • Form DS-2019 from CU Denver
  • Letter of Invitation
  • Proof of financial support, if from a source other than CU Denver
  • Proof of payment of the SEVIS Fee, if applicable. (I-901 Fee)
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 Applying for J-2 Dependent VISA

Additional Items for Dependents Requesting J-2 Status

If applying at the same time as the J-1:

  • Valid passport for each family member requesting J-2 status
  • Form DS-2019 from CU Denver
  • Proof of familial relationship, i.e. marriage certificate and/or birth certificate(s) translated into English
  • Form DS-160, “Nonimmigrant Electronic Visa Application,” which must be completed on-line.
  • Two photos, 37x37mm (1 and ½ inches square) for each applicant showing full face, without head covering, with a neutral (non-smiling) expression, against a light background
  • Machine Readable Visa (MRV) surcharge fee (currently $140)
  • Visa reciprocity fee [Check to see If Applicable]

If applying separately from J-1:

  • All of the items listed above.
  • Copy of principal applicant’s letter of invitation (CU Denver letter to spouse or parent)
  • Copy of proof of principal applicant’s financial support, if from a source other than CU Denver.
  • Copy of principal applicant’s visa and I-94.

Canadian Citizens Items for Dependents Requesting J-2 Status

If applying at the same time as the J-1:

  • Valid passport for each family member requesting J-2 status
  • Form DS-2019 from CU Denver
  • Proof of familial relationship, i.e. marriage certificate and/or birth certificate(s) translated into English

If applying separately from J-1:

  • All of the items listed above.
  • Copy of principal applicant’s letter of invitation (CU Denver letter to spouse or parent).
  • Copy of proof of principal applicant’s financial support, if from a source other than CU Denver.
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 Step 3: Arrival in Denver & Check-In

All J-1 scholars: Potential Issues & Check-In Appointment

DELAYED ARRIVAL: Please inform your department administrator and International Student Scholar Services, if you will arrive later than expected. The International Services Specialists may need to amend your program start date. Please note: Your Form DS-2019 will be cancelled by​ SEVIS after 30 days from the start date listed on the form, unless we amend the date.

NOT COMING AT ALL: Please notify your department administrator and International Student and Scholar Services immediately so we can cancel your paperwork.

​​CHECK-IN APPOINTMENT: 

Upon arrival, please work with your department administrator to schedule a check-in appointment with an International Services Specialist. The check-in serves to assist you with understanding U.S. immigration requirements and allows the International Services Specialist to accurately report your arrival at the institution and local address. Please bring your passport, DS-2019, electronic I-94, and evidence of insurance with you so we can complete our file on you. 

Downtown Campus J-1s:

Set a J-1 Check-In Appointment

Anschutz Medical Campus J-1s: 

Register for Group Check-In Appointment

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​​More PRE-ARRIVAL INFORMATION

 Social Security Number & Tax Information

Social Security Number

If you will be a University of Colorado employee, you will need to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN). This number is used for tax and retirement purposes by all persons who work in the United States. The Social Security Administration recommends that you wait 10-15 days after your arrival in the United States before applying for a social security number. They have to verify your immigration information, and 10-15 days is the approximate amount of time needed for the data from immigration to get to the social security office. Once you make the application, it will take a minimum of 2-3 additional weeks for you to receive your SSN. That means that it could take a month or so before you get an SSN.

ISSS recommends that you bring enough money with you to cover your living expenses for the first month or so. (We estimate living expenses to be about $2,025/month for the scholar and an additional $500 for each dependent.) To apply for a SSN, you will need to present your passport, immigration documents, and offer letter. You will also need to have another form of photo identification (other than your passport) with you at the time of application.

If you will not be a University of Colorado employee, you may not be issued a SSN. Spouses and children of J-1 scholars who are in J-2 status will not be permitted to apply for an SSN, unless they have employment authorization from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Link to Social Security Administration addresses: https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp​​​​​​

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 Housing & Transportation

Housing

While you are preparing for your upcoming move to Denver, it is important you have available to you information regarding various costs associated with living in the Greater-Metropolitan area. Below is a guide with basic information about local housing and hotels.

Off-Campus Housing Guide​

Commute Times and Map of Denver (Provided by Trulia)

Real Estate How-To Guides​ (Provided by Trulia)

Guide to Renter's Insurance​ (MoneyGeek)


Transportation

Driver’s License and Transportation Guide​​​​​

​ECO-Pass CU Denver​ or CU Anschutz for Public Transportation

*Note* Only Employees of the University are eligible for the Eco-pass for Public Transportation. Contact your Department for more information. 
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 Health Insurance Requirement

Health Insurance Requirement

U.S. government regulations require ALL J-1 exchange visitors to carry health insurance that meets certain standards while they are participating in the J-1 Exchange Program. Federal regulations require that all J-1 participants and their dependents have adequate medical/life insurance coverage which provides:

  • $100,000 of coverage per accident or illness, which may include a deductible of up to $500 and up to a 25% co-insurance provision;

  • $25,000 for repatriation of remains; and

  • $50,000 for emergency evacuation back to your country. Failure to maintain insurance coverage will result in termination of your J-1 status.

For a discussion of medical insurance in the United States and a list of insurance carriers, please see the attached document and list. Most of those who will be employed by the University will purchase medical insurance through the University’s Payroll and Benefits office; paperwork for purchasing insurance will be provided by your department. In most cases, however, you may need to purchase extra coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation of remains. These benefits are not part of the University’s medical insurance programs.

J-1 Insurance Requirements

What You Need to Know About Healthcare in the United States

List of J-1 Insurance Carriers​

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