New J-1 Scholar Arrival Checklist

Welcome to the University of California, Davis as a J-1 International Scholar. These are some resources and information to help you with getting settled into living and working as part of our campus community.

1. Report to Your Department

Make an appointment to meet with your faculty sponsor and/or host department contact person, especially if you need to submit any documents. If you don’t know already, also make sure to ask your department what the terms of your appointment will be. You will need to know this information in order to set up: 1) Your campus ID number and card (either as an Employee or Volunteer) and  2) The health insurance your appointment qualifies you for (see Item #4).

2. Report to SISS

Federal regulations require that all foreign visitors, students and scholars report their arrival to Services for International Students and Scholars Office (SISS) upon arrival at UC Davis.

All new J-1 scholars are required to check in immediately with SISS after US arrival by completing the iGlobal check-in eForm. During check in you will upload copies of your immigration documents and also sign up for our new J-1 scholar orientation Orientation for J-1 Scholars .

3. Housing

Depending on the length of your appointment to the University, there are a variety of both short-term and longer housing options available in the community.

4. Health Insurance

The United States does not have a national health insurance program. Although in many countries the government may provide free or very affordable health care for its citizens, individuals and families in the United States are responsible for these costs themselves. Health services in the United States can be extremely expensive without adequate insurance coverage. All J-1 Exchange Visitors and their J-2 dependents are required by federal regulations to have medical insurance for the entire period of their stay.

Your academic appointment at UC Davis will determine what type of medical insurance coverage you have access to and is discussed in detail in the Resources for Scholars section. Scholars employed by UCD should ask their department if health insurance will be included as part of their compensation. Postdoctoral scholars, whether paid in the U.S. or not, should check with their department to see if they are eligible for postdoc insurance coverage.  If your appointment does not include health insurance coverage, you are responsible for arranging it yourselfthrough J-1 Scholar Health Insurance.

5. Social Security Number

You will need to get a Social Security Card if – 1) You will be earning money in the U.S. and/or 2) You planning on getting a California’s driver’s license or California identification (ID) card. You must wait 10 days after your arrival in the United States to apply.

Please refer to International Scholar Resources section for more information.

6. Local Bank Account

More information about how to set up a local bank account be found in the Resources for Everybody section

Please note that some institutions (but not all) will require that you first have a Social Security Number in order to open an account with them.

7. Schooling and Childcare

School-aged children who accompany you during your stay in UC Davis can register to attend local schools. In general, you must present proof of a residence in the city where the child will go to school; proof of the child’s birthdate (birth or baptismal certificate) and immunization records. More information about enrolling your children in local schools is available under Resources for Families.

8. UC Davis Identification Card

A university identification (ID) card, known as the Aggie ID Card will be needed to use the University library and to access other services (Davis Wiki has the full list of services and benefits). If you are paid by UC Davis, you must have your employee ID number to get an Aggie ID Card. If you are not paid by UC Davis, you must have your department contact provide you with a volunteer number. Please note that if your assignment is with the UC Davis Med Center, you will have a different identification card for that campus.

9. English Language Classes

Information about various opportunities to improve your English skills is available at the New J-1 Scholar Orientation. More information about English language classes and learning resources in the Davis area is available under Resources for Everybody.

10. Transportation

Whether you plan to walk to campus, buy a bike and ride, take the bus, or drive to campus, you can get information on all the types of transportation options in the Davis area through the Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS), including the cost of taking the campus Unitrans bus or parking on campus.

11. Employee Rights

If you are employed in the US, it’s important that you know the “Rights and Protections for Temporary Workers.”  For more information about US law on this topic, you can read the Wilberforce pamphlet on the Department of State website. This information is offered in many different languages.

12. Questions?

If you have questions or concerns about your J-1 program at any time throughout your stay, you can also contact the government office below, or visit their website.