After you arrive in the United States, you will need to check in at Lehigh and complete some other tasks.
As you make plans to travel to the United States, remember that J-1 exchange visitors cannot enter the country more than 30 days before the program start date on your DS-2019. You cannot arrive to the U.S. after your program start date.
H-1 scholars should not enter the U.S. more than 10 days before the start date listed on their I-797 receipt notice. You can enter after that date, but you should request a letter from your department in case you need it.
At the Airport
When you land at a U.S. airport, the immigration officer will likely ask to see the following documents:
- Passport and visa
- DS-2019 issued by Lehigh University or I-797 approval notice from U.S. Customs and Immigration Services
- Lehigh University invitation letter or employment offer letter
- SEVIS fee receipt if you are a J-1 scholar and financial documents
J-1 Scholars: The officer will stamp your arrival date and duration of stay, or D/S, in your passport. The stamp should show your visa class at J-1. If the stamp shows a visa class other than the one on your visa, let the officer know immediately.
H-1B Scholars: The officer will stamp your end date on your passport. The date should be the same end date listed on your I-797 receipt notice.
You can more information about arriving at the airport and getting to Lehigh here.
International Scholar Check-In
Once you arrive to campus, you must meet with an advisor in the Office of International Students and Scholars to validate your program if you are a J-1 exchange visitor or register your immigration information if you are on an H-1B visa. This is mandatory and must be done within three days of your arrival to campus.
Bring your passport, visa, I-94, and DS-2019 or I-797 receipt notice. If you have any dependents that came with you, bring their documents as well. If you are a J-1 exchange visitor, bring your proof of health insurance. Your check-in appointment will typically last between 30 to 45 minutes.
After you check in, you will need to meet with your department so they know you have arrived safely. If you are going to be employed by the university, you will also need to complete the following tasks.
Attend New Employee Orientation. Lehigh’s Human Resources Office has an orientation for new employees every three months. You will also get a Benefits Orientation in you first week. Check your Lehigh email for details and learn more about life as a new employee here.
Complete a Form I-9. Within the first three days of your employment, you will need to complete a Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. International employees on visas need to visit the Office of International Students and Scholars to do this.
Apply for a Social Security number. Learn more.
Learn about U.S. taxes. You are required to file taxes if you earn income in the United States. Learn more.
Get a Lehigh identification card. All Lehigh employees are required to get an employee identification card. Visit the IDEAL office when you arrive to get one.