Required Documents

To participate in our programs (and to travel to the U.S.), you will need the documents listed on this page. Some of these documents will be provided by CIEE or your CIEE international representative; others, like your passport, are your responsibility.

You must bring all the following documents with you to the U.S. Be sure to keep these documents in a safe place at all times. When traveling, be sure they are in your carry-on bag and not your checked luggage. Also, be sure to scan or make photocopies of each document in case of loss, theft, or damage. Store these copies in a different location from the originals.

Documents Provided By CIEE Or Your International Representative

DS-2019 form
This document shows you are authorized to study in the U.S. It indicates that you have the sponsorship and support of CIEE, and it must be taken to the U.S. Embassy in your home country when you apply for your J-1 visa. The document contains the dates of your program, as well as your sponsorship identification number (DS number).

SEVIS receipt
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security keeps track of visitors with a system called SEVIS – the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. Once you have paid your SEVIS fee to your international representative, you will receive a SEVIS receipt that you must take with you when you go to the U.S. Embassy to get your visa.

Confirmation of insurance and insurance identification card
You will receive temporary versions of these documents prior to your departure from your international representative. You will receive the official document and card at your U.S. orientation. Make sure you keep your identification card with you at all times; you must present it to your health care provider if you seek medical treatment. Otherwise, you may be charged more for the services.

Letter of Support to Consulate Officer (optional, may not be required in all countries)
This letter explains your J-1 Exchange Visitor eligibility to the Consulate Officer who will process your visa application.

“Help Me, I’m Lost” form
The “Help Me, I’m Lost” form is intended to assist you if you are lost or need assistance while traveling. You can present the form to a flight attendant or stranger for help without having to speak English. The form includes CIEE’s travel emergency phone number. You should call the emergency number if you are significantly delayed or are re-booked on a new flight. 

Documents You Need To Obtain On Your Own

Your home country is responsible for issuing your passport. If you already have a passport, you need to make sure that it is valid for your entire trip.

Please note: Before granting your J-1 visa, some U.S. Embassies require you to hold a passport that expires at least six months after the last day of your program. You can check with the U.S. Embassy in your home country about its specific policy. Once you have your passport, contact the U.S. Embassy again to schedule an interview to apply for your visa.

U.S. J-1 Exchange Visitor visa
Take your DS-2019, SEVIS receipt, and passport with you to your interview at the U.S. embassy. Your CIEE international representative can help guide you through the process and may also help you arrange the interview. Contact your representative directly for more information.

Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record Card
The I-94 number is issued upon entrance to the United States. You may go the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s I-94 website after you have arrived to download and print a copy of your number.

Documents You Will Receive On The Airplane

Customs Declaration Form 6059B
Fill this out before you land and give it to the customs officer as you pass through the airport. Instructions are printed on the form. You will not keep, nor do you need a copy of, this document; it is just for U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s use at the airport.