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Pre-Arrival Checklist

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Pre-Arrival Checklist

Clarkson University is sponsoring you as a J-1 Exchange Visitor and the following contains important information for your participation in our J-1 Program. A paper Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status) will be mailed to your address given at the time of initial processing. This document is used in applying for a J-1 visa – which is your entry permit issued by the U.S. Department of State.

  • ISSS will email you to review your DS-2019 to ensure accuracy of information – review this form upon receipt
  • Pay the SEVIS Fee: prior to your interview with the U.S. Consulate or Embassy you will need to pay the $180 SEVIS fee. This fee may be paid with a credit or debit card at or by check or money order. Details on this process will be mailed with your DS-2019 form. You must have proof of this payment for your interview as the consular official will confirm this payment in SEVIS.
  • Make an appointment at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside the U.S. Consult the website of the embassy or consulate with jurisdiction over you place of permanent residence for specific instructions on the application process. A list of embassies and consulate can be found at
  • Verify which documents are required for your visa appointment – be prepared to be able to present at least the following –
    • DS-2019 form
    • Documentation of financial support
    • SEVIS fee receipt
    • Passport with at least 6-months validity into the future
    • DS-160 form – nonimmigrant visa application (involves processing fee and is completed online)
    • 2x2 inch photograph
    • Evidence of ties to your home country
  • Make travel arrangements – see Getting to CU’ . You will work with your department/faculty sponsor to coordinate arrival and any possible pick-up scheduling
  • Housing arrangements - Clarkson University housing is not available to visitors during the academic year and apartments for short-term stays can often be difficult to secure. Therefore – we urge you to make arrangements with your sponsoring faculty member or department well in advance of your arrival to Potsdam. You can expect to pay approximately $500-1,000 per month for a two-bedroom apartment. A deposit is usually required in advance. We estimate a minimum average monthly cost of $1,200 to cover rent, food, utilities, transportation, clothing and other essentials – but you should consider a minimum of $1,500 to cover such expenses. There are a number of temporary lodging options within a short distance from campus – please visit for more information.  NOTE – visiting exchange students for study or research from partner universities will be housed on campus.
  • Travel: Your visa alone does not guarantee entry into the U.S. You must show all documents – including –
    • An endorsed Ds-2019 from Clarkson University
    • A valid visa
    • A valid passport
    • Proof of SEVIS fee payment

Special Note on Visa Denials: While most exchange visitors will acquire their visa successfully – there are times when a visa may be denied or delayed. The most common reasons for a visa denial are; failure to prove ties to your home country or failure to provide sufficient financial documentation.

Special Note on Visa Delays: Recently visa delays have become much more common. The Department of State must ensure that citizens of some countries will not pose a threat to the United States – therefore- delays resulting from security clearances are the most common. However, delays can also be caused by the need for a security advisory opinion if it is determined that you will be performing research in a “sensitive area of study” as indicated on the State Department’s Technology Alert List.

In either case of a visa denial or delay you should notify the International Students & Scholars Office as soon as possible. A consular official must verbally inform you of the reason for the denial or delay – please be sure to provide this information when you notify the ISSO.