Prepare for your Stay at Mason (J-1 Scholar)

The information below will help you to prepare for your trip to the US and George Mason University:

Once you have received your Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (DS-2019 Form), please check the dates carefully.  You can enter the United States up to 30 days before the program begin date listed on your Form DS-2019.  If your plans change and you have to arrive 10 days past the start date on the form, please contact your hosting department and J-1 advisor, Irina V. Chizhova at to amend the dates.

Pre-Arrival Guide and Other Resources

We have prepared the Pre-Arrival Guide for you to use as you make your preparations for arrival to George Mason University. It includes information and answers to many of the common questions, such as how to pay the SEVIS fee, prepare for visa interview, find housing, banks, day care facilities and schools. Please review it carefully as you make your plans and arrangements.

Link: Pre-Arrival Guide for J-1 Scholars (2022)

We also encourage you to explore the following resources:

Link: Welcome Brochure US State Department (2022)
Link: OIPS Check-in Form (you will need to complete this form during your program validation/orientation upon arrival)
Link: Health Insurance Agreement (you will need to complete this form during your program validation/orientation upon arrival)
Link: Be Aware of Scams

Mandatory Orientation with J-1 Advisor

Your DS-2019 is valid for entry to the United States for the 30 day period before the start date of your J-1 program (as listed in #3 on the form). Once you have arrived in the U.S., you must come to the Office of International Programs and Services within your first 10 days to check-in and have your SEVIS record validated. SEVIS validation is a legal requirement.

REMINDER: All incoming J-1 Scholars are required to check in with OIPS upon arrival at Mason

Schedule an Appointment Today!

In order to schedule a check-in and orientation appointment with the J-1 Advisor, please call the OIPS front desk (703) 993-2970.  Please note that the check-in and orientation appointment can take up to 45 minutes.  Click here for OIPS office hours, location and directions.

THINGS TO BRING: You must bring your passport, DS-2019, and proof of health insurance with you.  If you have J-2 dependent(s), bring their passports, DS-2019s and health insurance with you.

IMPORTANT: If you fail to check in with OIPS, your SEVIS record will automatically be invalidated on the 21st day past your start date, which will significantly complicate your stay at George Mason University.

Useful Links

You might also be interested in the following links: