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J-1 visa programs

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You must accomplish two administrative tasks as soon as you arrive in the U.S.:

SEVIS Registration

Register on the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System by calling CIEE at 1-888-268- 6245 as soon as possible after you have landed in the United States. When you call to register, please have your DS-2019 number, current address and host organizaton information at hand.

If you do not register on time (within 20 days of the start date indicated on your DS-2019), your program may be terminated.


Social Security Number

If you do not already have a Social Security number, you will have to apply for one. This number has a lifetime validity and you’ll need it in order to get paid, open a bank account, and pay taxes. It is legal for you to begin your program before a Social Security number has been issued, but you must have a receipt of application; this shows that you have applied. Please be aware that the social security number does not grant you health benefits in the U.S. It is only an administrative and fiscal identification number (your health insurance is covered by CIEE).

To apply, visit the nearest Social Security office at least 5 business days after you’ve registered for SEVIS. Applying for a Social Security Number is mandatory if you are paid in the U.S. and optional if you are unpaid.

Social Security Administration website:


You will find further information regarding these two formalities on CIEE’s website: