Your Ultimate Pre-Departure Checklist and Arrival Guide

Ultimate Pre-Departure ChecklistJ1

Embarking on Your J1 Program in the USA:
Your Ultimate Pre-Departure Checklist and Arrival Guide

Welcome to the start of an exciting chapter in your life! Whether you’re heading to the USA for culinary training or an internship, a Summer Work and travel position, or a summer as a Camp Counselor, you’re in for a journey filled with opportunities and adventures. To make the most of this experience, it’s crucial to be well-prepared. This guide will help you navigate preparations and ensure a smooth transition into your new environment.


Pre-Departure Checklist and Tips:

  1. Essential Documents:
  • Double Documentation: Carry your DS-2019 form and passport, and make duplicates of all crucial documents. Store copies separately from the originals and consider leaving another set with someone back home for safekeeping.
  • Inform Key People: Ensure that a trusted individual back home knows where your important documents are and how to access them if necessary.


  1. Financial Preparation:
  • Banking Basics: Bring your debit/credit cards and notify your bank of your travel plans to ensure seamless access to your funds abroad. While cards are widely accepted, carrying some cash for emergencies is wise.


  1. Packing Essentials:
  • Tech and Health: Don’t forget chargers, adapters compatible with US sockets, and any necessary medications. These items are easier to bring than to find on arrival.
  • Little Extras: Past participants recommend packing comfortable shoes like Crocs, a flag from your home country, sunglasses, and an extension lead.


Arrival in the US:

  1. Immigration Process:
  • Be Document Ready: Keep your passport, DS-2019 form, and other essential paperwork handy. Know your accommodation details, local contact numbers, and your return travel date to ease the immigration process.


  1. Customs Clearance:
  • Know What’s Allowed: Review the US Department of Homeland Security’s guidelines on permissible items. Always declare any goods accurately to avoid complications.


  1. Managing Flight Connections:
  • Allow Time: Ensure ample time between flights and know the protocol for missed connections. Communicate any changes in your itinerary to relevant parties like the airline, AAG representative, Host Company, and housing provider.


  1. Planning Onward Travel:
  • Research Transport Options: Know your options for getting from the airport to your final destination. Book early to avoid last-minute hassles, and consider temporary mobile service options like international roaming or a temporary local SIM card for immediate communication.


  1. On Arrival:
  • Stay Informed: Most airports have designated zones for taxis and ride-sharing pickups. Ask airport personnel about any available shuttles or transportation services, especially in major hubs.


Quick Recap: Essentials to Keep Handy:

  • Contact Information: Ensure you have emergency contacts, personal ID, itinerary, passport copies, visa, bank cards, health insurance details, medical prescriptions, acceptance letter, DS-2019 Form, travel bookings, essential phone numbers, program dates, sponsor letter, and participant handbook.



As you gear up for this incredible adventure, remember our support team is here to assist you every step of the way. This checklist will help you prepare thoroughly for your journey, ensuring you can focus on the exciting opportunities ahead.


Safe travels, and we look forward to welcoming you to the United States!


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