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Interview with Niamh Neylon, the Irish Consul, about studying and living in Ireland

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   Arrival in the US

Immigration at the Port of Entry in the United States, On the airplane en route to the United States, you will be given an I-94 Form. Complete the form very carefully and make sure that your name is spelled exactly as it is on your Form DS-2019. The I-94 will be the record of your arrival and departure into and out of the United States and it will be validated and attached to your passport after your documents are reviewed by Immigration upon your arrival to the United States. 

At the Port of Entry in the United States, you must pass through Immigration. There are five important documents you must have in your possession and present to an Immigration Officer:
  • Valid passport
  • Valid J-1 Visa
  • Original Form DS-2019
  • SEVIS fee receipt
  • I-94 card
The Immigration Officer is going to review all your documents. The Officer might also ask you some questions, so please remember to communicate respectfully. Your Form DS-2019 will be validated and your I-94 card will be attached to your passport. The officer will then return all documents to you.
It is important that you keep all documents with you at all times and as soon as you receive them back from the Immigration Officer please keep them in a safe place.
a-  DS-2019
Students enter the country on Exchange Visitor Visa status with the J-1 visa. In order to apply for the visa, all students must have a DS-2019. This form is a is a “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status.” It officially identifies the program sponsor, describes the purpose of the program, and lists the exact dates the student is permitted to work. It also indicates the authorized place of employment in the U.S. and states that the student has at least USD$ 1,000 in personal funds available in case of emergency. Upon acceptance into the program, the DS-2019’s will be sent to the partner agent in the home country.
Participants should carry their DS-2019 and passport at all times during the program. If the DS-2019 form is lost or stolen, the partner agency or the participant should notify Horizon int immediately.
The participants should always have a copy of their DS-2019 present during their stay in the United States.
b- J-1 Visa
The J-1 visa is the legal entry document into the U.S. It indicates under which status the participant is allowed to enter the country. Participants must apply for the J-1 visa in their home country. Participants may not extend this type of visa.
Denied J-1 VisaShould the participant’s J-1 visa application be denied by the U.S. Consulate / Embassy, the DS- 2019 form must be returned to Horizon int and proof of denial is required in order to receive a refund (less the USD$100 administrative fee). Horizon int is not responsible for any U.S. Consulates’ decisions to deny a participant’s visa application. Visa approval or denial is at the sole discretion of each U.S. Consulate/Embassy. All denied DS-2019 forms must be returned to Horizon int for a refund no more that 60 days after the start date of the form.
c- I-94 Form
The I-94 is a form used by the U.S. Immigration Department as a record of the arrival and departure of everyone who enters the country. Participants fill out the I-94 on the plane prior to landing in the U.S. and present it to be stamped by immigration officials at the airport. This stamp will indicate the date of entry into the country, the visa status and the last day the participant is authorized to legally stay in the U.S.
A “D/S” stamp means “Duration of Status” and is equivalent to the dates on the participant’s DS- 2019 form plus the 30-day travel period. However, if an earlier date of departure is specified on the I- 94 form, the participant is required to leave the U.S. by the date indicated on the I-94.
The U.S. Immigration Department closely monitors all entries and exits of foreign visitors. Participants who remain in the U.S. longer than their authorized stay may be deported, fined and unable to re-enter the U.S. in the future.
d- Social Security Card
All participants must have a Social Security Card to legally work in the United States. To apply, students must go to the nearest Social Security Office, which can be located at, the Social Security Administration website. To apply for the Social Security Card, the following documents are needed:
1) DS-2019
2) I-94 Card
3) J-1 Visa
4) Passport
5) Letter from Sponsor on company letterhead verifying the participant’s status in the program
6) Valid job offer that corresponds to DS-2019
7) Activation of the Sevis System
Some employers provide assistance in finding the nearest Social Security Office and/or transportation to obtain the Social Security Card. If assistance is not provided by the employer, it is the participant’s responsibility to locate the nearest Social Security office. Some remote areas do not have a Social Security Office and participants may need to travel to a larger city to obtain the Social Security Card. This should be discussed with the employer and travel plans should be made BEFORE participants arrive in the U.S.
Students should wait approximately 10 days before applying for the Social Security card because it will take this long for their information to be processed in the database. It will take approximately 15 workdays to receive a Social Security number.
Because some employers require the card before permitting participants to begin employment,
participants should be advised to request a receipt when applying for the card to present to the

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