What to do once you have arrived
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 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.
2. 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:
- Your campus ID number and card (either as an Employee or Volunteer)
- The health insurance your appointment qualifies you for (see Item #4)
3. Locate Housing
Depending on the length of your appointment to the University, there is a variety of both short-term and longer housing options available in the community.
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 health insurance 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. You are responsible for arranging it. For more information, please see J-1 Scholar Health Insurance.
5. Check about a Social Security Number
You will need to get a Social Security Card if:
- You will be earning money in the U.S. and/or
- You planning on getting a California 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 the Social Security page for more information.
6. Open a Local Bank Account
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. Consider Schooling and Childcare
School-aged children who accompany you during your stay at UC Davis can register to attend local schools. In general, you must present proof of 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 family resources.
8. Pick up a 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. Enroll in 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 in the resources section.
10. Get Familiar with 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. Learn about 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.
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.
U.S. Department of State, Office of Designation
Academic and Government Programs Division
ECA/EC/AG – SA-5, Floor C2
2200 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20522-0505
Tel.: (202) 632-3235