Pre-Arrival Checklist

Required Forms for International Students:

Obtain J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa

Applications for J-1 Visas require:

  • Valid unexpired passport (valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay)
  • Form DS-2019
  • SEVIS fee receipt
  • Evidence of Financial Support
  • Visa Fee
  • Passport-size photograph
  • Additional forms and/or documents as required by the consulate at which you apply


What is the SEVIS Fee?

The SEVIS fee, implemented by the Deparmtent of Homeland Security (DHS), is a fee intended to defray costs associated with the administration of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). This rule took effect on September 1, 2004.

Who must pay the SEVIS fee?

You are required to complete the I-901 form and pay the fee before making an appointment at the U.S. Consulate, applying for a change of status or entering the U.S.

How do I pay the required fee?

Go to for instructions on the I-901 form and to pay the fee for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

Those who have paid the fee must print a copy of the I-901 SEVIS fee payment confirmation to take with them when applying for a visa to enter the United States. Showing a copy of it from a mobile device will not be accepted.

All  J-1 exchange visitors must pay the I-901 SEVIS fee on prior to applying for a visa to study in the United States. To make the process easier, FMJfee is now accessible on mobile devices.

Users can now log in to the site on any mobile device to:

· Find recent news and updates related to the I-901 SEVIS fee;
· Check an I-901 SEVIS fee payment status;
· View and save a I-901 payment confirmation so you can print it later;
· Read answers to frequently asked questions; and
· Visit Study in the States and associated social media platforms.

Students are now required to print their I-94 form online. You can find out more information about this at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.

Fees for Non-immigrant Visa Services: This fee is separate from the SEVIS I-901 fee.

Immigration Documents

DS-2019, also called “Certificate of Eligibility,” is required to obtain a J-1 visa at the U.S. consulate and is used to enter the U.S. It indicates your length of stay in the U.S. on your J-1 program, authorizes you to participate in the University of North Carolina Asheville J-1 Exchange Visitor Program and is used for travel outside, and reentry to, the U.S.

Form I-94, The I-94 is the Arrival/Departure Record, in either paper or electronic format, issued by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer to foreign visitors entering the United States. After April 30, 2013, most Arrival/Departure records will be created electronically upon arrival. Instead of a paper form, the visitor will be provided with an annotated stamp in the foreign passport. If provided a paper form, the admitting CBP Officer generally attaches the I-94 to the visitor’s passport and stamps the departure date on the form.

In both circumstances, an electronic I-94 or paper I-94, the visitor must exit the U.S. on or before that date stamped on the form or in the passport. If a visitor departs by a commercial air or sea carrier (airlines or cruise ships), their departure from the U.S. can be independently verified and it is not necessary to take any further action, although holding on to the outbound (from the U.S.) boarding pass – if they still have it – can help facilitate reentry when coming back to the United States. If a visitor departs by land and has a paper form I-94, the I-94 must be turned in to a CBP Officer at a land border when exiting the U.S. If it is not turned in to a CBP Officer at the land border, the visitor will be considered an “overstay” and they may be denied entry when they attempt to reenter the United States in the future. For more information on the I-94 automation process, visit

Arrival Notification

The U.S. government rules allow a limited time to enter the U.S. based on the start date of your DS-2019 form. You must report in person to UNC Asheville after you arrive. You can enter up to 30 days before the start date on your DS-2019 form. You will notify Sara King when you arrive on campus. To complete the government reporting requirement, you must attend the Orientation. Bring your visa documents with you (Passport, DS-2019, I-94 if you have it and Visa Fee Receipt) to the Orientation. These documents will be collected at the Orientation.

Health Insurance

The U.S. government requires all J-1 students to have sufficient health insurance coverage that meets certain minimum requirements throughout their entire stay in the U.S.

Exchange students may purchase the UNC Asheville student health insurance or submit proof of their own insurance that satisfies the U.S. Department of State’s requirements outlined below:
• Medical Benefits:  $100,000
• Repatriation of Remains:  $25,000
• Medical Evacuation:  $50,000
• Deductible per Accident or Illness:  $500

All students attending UNC Asheville will be required to show proof of appropriate insurance coverage before coming to the U.S. Please submit your insurance to the Study Abroad Office at for review and approval. If you do not show proof of study abroad insurance from your home country that meets our guidelines above, you will be charged for the UNC System plan.


On-Campus housing is provided for you. Be sure you have applied online per the instructions you received with your acceptance packet. If you choose to live off-campus, you will be responsible to find your own housing.

Things to Bring With You

Immigration and Travel Documents

  • Passport, valid at least six months after your study abroad program ends
  • Valid J-1 Visa – this visa is obtained through the appropriate U.S. embassy or consulate
  • Immigration Document – Form DS-2019
  • Proof of Fee Payment
  • Bring all of the above documents with you to the Orientation


  • Bring enough spending money to cover your semester(s) in the U.S.
  • Types of currency to carry may include Credit Card accepted in the U.S. Debit Card, Cash-U.S. Currency, etc.

Important Numbers and Addresses

  • Home Country address and phone numbers to call in case of emergency
  • U.S. address and/or phone number of contact within the U.S. – See Information Sheet that was sent to you upon acceptance at UNC Asheville.
  • Home Country Bank contact information in case of problems with funds