J-1 visa regulations allow you to enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the begin date as indicated in #3 on your DS-2019 and not later than the begin date. If for any reason, you are unable to arrive in the U.S. within that time frame, please contact our office as soon as possible.
Once you have obtained the J-1 visa, you will be able to enter the United States in J-1 status. At the U.S. port of entry, please show an immigration official your J-1 visa stamp and original Form DS-2019 as evidence of your intention to enter in this status. Upon showing these documents, s/he will date stamp your passport and return the documents to you. By the date stamp, each document should be marked “J-1” and “D/S” (duration of status). Check to be sure you were given J-1 status. If not, ask the immigration official to correct it right away. Retain the DS-2019 for future use.
The form I-94 is the Arrival/Departure Record issued by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) when you enter the United States. Beginning April 30, 2013 CBP will automate this process by issuing digital I-94 records at all airports and seaports. Instead of receiving a paper I-94 record when you enter by air or sea, your I-94 information will now be made available online. It is important to note that USCIS and other government departments in the U.S. will continue to require students to submit a paper copy of Form I-94 when requesting certain benefits. Therefore, the OGS advises you to print and save a paper copy of the electronic I-94 soon after arrival.