Pre-Arrival Checklist for Scholars

Here is some valuable information to know before you make your way to the U.S.  We have provided a checklist of things to do before you are ready to travel to the U.S. along with some lists of things you should bring with you and things as you should leave at home.

A pen checking off items in a checklist. Checklist

  • Have your J-1 visa prior to departure or else you will not be allowed in the country.
  • Know where you will be living or have arrangements for temporary housing until you find a permanent situation.
  • Plan for your transportation from the airport to UMass Dartmouth.
  • Plan a realistic budget.
  • Be sure to take care of your finances before you depart (bank account, wire transfers, etc.)
  • If you are traveling with dependents (wife, husband, children) be sure their paperwork is in order and that they have the proper visas.
  • Know what you can and cannot bring onto the airplane:

‌ Carry-on Bag

  1. Immigration Documents
    • Passports, Visas and I - 20 or DS 2019
    • Documents showing financial support
    • Birth Certificate (optional)
  2. Money
    • At least $200 (US) in cash
    • Other funds:  You should plan to have about $2000.00 (US) readily available to you.  Do not carry this amount in cash.  The easiest way to handle these funds is by a cash card or bank check. This is especially important if you plan on living off-campus and might want to have a downpayment on rent.
    • Cash Card: Major credit/debit cards can be used to get local currency through automatic teller machines (ATMs) machines. Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, and American Express work with nearly all machines in the U.S.
  3. Health Records 
    • Record of required immunizations for yourself, your spouse, and children (if traveling with you)
    • Prescription drugs for two months with written prescriptions
    • Medical records to give your new physician (translated into English, if possible)
    • List of Allergies
  4. Important Correspondence from UMass Dartmouth
    • Hiring Contract
  5. Other 
    • Children's school records, in English, if possible; otherwise, you may need to translate them yourself for school officials
    • Laptop Computer, unless you plan to buy one here, along with backup copy of all computer data and programs
    • Small electronic gear, such as a digital camera, calculator, iPod, and PDA
    • Clothing and toiletries: enough for a few days, in case the airlines loses your luggage
    • List of emergency phone numbers, addresses, and contacts in your home country and at UMass Dartmouth
    • A book to read on the plane

A suitcase. Regular Luggage

  • Clothing: suited for the local weather and for school. Good walking shoes are also recommended
  • A few important books, especially if they're hard to find in the U.S.
  • Your favorite CDs and computer games
  • Pictures of home and friends, plus other small mementos
  • List of emergency phone numbers, addresses, and contacts at home and at UMass Dartmouth
  • A large card with your new address in the U.S. inside each piece of luggage, as well as on the tag, in case the airport loses it. (If you do not have an address yet, list the International Student & Scholar Center here at UMass Dartmouth):

Pine Dale Hall, Suite 7123, 285 Old Westport Road, North Dartmouth, MA 02747-2300

What to leave at home 

Don't bring things that are large, inexpensive, or delicate. It will be cheaper and more convenient to buy them in the U.S. So do not bring:

  • Home appliances such as toasters, irons, coffee makers, etc
  • Printers and Scanners
  • Glassware and anything else that is easily broken
  • Spices (since they are now available online and often at local stores)
  • Most books

Updated 06/22/2017