All J-1 Scholars and Student Interns are required by law to check in with International Support Services upon their arrival. Failure to check in could result in a loss of legal status in the U.S. All new J-1 scholars and student interns must complete the check-in process in person by meeting with Belinda Pauley, Program Manager, International Support Services, 902 Prices Fork Road, Gateway Center, Suite 120, Blacksburg, VA 24061. Check-ins can be done on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00-11:30AM. Check-in instructions are available on the Check-in Instructions page.
When to Check-In
Do not wait to complete the check-in process if you arrive before your start date. You must check-in within 10 days of your arrival but still no later than 30 days after your start date. This means if your DS-2019 start date is May 1 and you arrive on April 15, you should complete the check-in process by April 25. However, if your DS-2019 start date is May 1 and you arrive on May 28, you must complete the check-in process by May 31 to stay within the 30 day grace period.
If you know you cannot arrive and check-in within 30 days after your DS-2019 start date, you must notify ISS so that ISS can change your start date to avoid auto cancellation of your immigration record. Depending on the timing of your arrival, your department will mail the new DS-2019 to you, or you may pick it up when you arrive if you will only be delayed a short time.
Dependent Arrival and Check-in
J-2 dependents are not required to arrive and check-in within 30 days of the start date. They may arrive with the J-1 or any time after, but not before the J-1. When J-2 dependents do arrive, the J-1 Scholar or Student Intern must submit the required dependent documents through the Scholar tool.
After you arrive, you must complete several other procedures at Virginia Tech. These may be completed in any order.
- Visit your VT Host Department to complete any departmental paperwork and procedures
- Apply for a PID and email account at your department. Scholars who are not paid by Virginia Tech should apply for a sponsored PID by completing the sponsored PID form with their department: http://www.ims.vt.edu/forms/sponsored-pid.pdf.
- Send ISS your VT email address once it is issued to you by your host department.
- Sign up for the J-1 email distribution list.
- Obtain your Hokie Passport (the VT ID card). To obtain your Hokie Passport take your DS-2019 and passport to the Hokie Passport Office in the Student Services Building (800 Washington Street). If you are not a VT employee, you will pay $15.00 for a Visiting Scholar Hokie Passport which cannot be used to ride to the bus. If you are a VT employee, take your VT offer letter also for a free faculty/staff Hokie Passport which can be used to ride the bus.
- Attend a J-1 Orientation meeting. You will be given your orientation date upon check in with the Office of International Support Services.
- Apply for a Social Security Number and Driver’s License. Applying for the SSN and DL is optional unless you are employed by VT. If you are employed by VT, you must apply for the SSN. More information is on the individual Social Security and Driver’s License pages.
- Obtain a Blacksburg Transit bus pass. If you have a Visiting Scholar Hokie Passport which cannot be used to ride the bus, you can obtain a bus pass at the Blacksburg Municipal Building at 300 Main Street in Blacksburg.
- Obtain a Parking Permit if you plan to park a car on campus. For parking permit information, visit www.parking.vt.edu. Non-VT employees may be eligible for a free long-term visitor pass. For information about a free long-term visitor pass, you must call or visit parking services in person.
ISS offers J-1 Orientations about once every 2 weeks and all newly arrived J-1 scholars and student interns should attend a J-1 orientation meeting as part of the arrival process. The orientation covers topics such as J-1 program regulations, how to maintain your status, travel, extensions, dependents, and many others.