Moving to the US with a J1-Visa

Time-schedule for Visa

Be aware that you might need to wait for an J1-Visa-appoint­ment at the embassy over two months, for cur­rent wait­ing times at your US-embassy please check:

How to speed up the Visa-process

(1) Be sure your pass­port and the pass­port of your depen­den­cies (mar­ried spouse and/or chil­dren) are valid till 6 Month after the end of the J1-Visa, so if you (or your spouse) want to change the name (e.g. mar­ry) have the pass­port ready at least 4–5 Month before you start to work.

(2) Ask for the SEVIS-Num­ber of your DS2019 and the SEVIS-Num­bers of depen­den­cies to get at as soon as pos­si­ble per eMail, the Postal-Mail might take longer than expect­ed. You need the SEVIS-Num­bers for the DS160-Forms for your­self and for the DS160-Forms of your dependencies.

(3) You and your depen­den­cies should start to fill out the DS160-Form before you receive the DS2019-Form. You will need the DS160-Form for the appoint­ment with the embassy.

(4) Have a cur­rent (print­ed) Pass­port-Pho­to and as-well make a cur­rent (dig­i­tal) qua­drat­ic 600x600px-Visa-Pho­to (max file­size 240kB).

(5) Make a pro­file at and pay the MRV-fee, it takes about 2days after arriv­ing at their bank-account till the Fee is marked as paid in their system.

What to do

(1) The employ­er pre­pares your DS2019-Form defin­ing your SEVIS-Number

(2) You (and your depen­den­cies) pre­pare each the DS160-Form. You need to pro­vide (i) a US-Social-Secu­ri­ty-Num­ber if some­one already worked in the US, (ii) all Social Media-Plat­forms you used in the last 5 years, (iii) exact dates of your education&work, (iv) exact dates when you have been in the US, (v) a con­tact address in the US (vi) which coun­tries you vis­it­ed in the last 5years, (vii) a Visa-Pho­to. The Form spon­ta­neous­ly times out, there­fore you will need much time and patience.

(3) Pay the I‑901-Fee

(4) Check the wait­ing times on and see if you are still in time

(5) You need to make a pro­file at and pay the MRV-fee

(6) Wait some days till the MRV fee is approved and pro­ceed with the steps at

(7) Pre­pare all doc­u­ments for the appointment/interview at the embassy, you will def­i­nite­ly need the DS2019-Forms, the Pass­ports and the self-addressed envelopes with enough Post­ed-stamps for a reg­is­tered Mail. Bring all oth­er impor­tant doc­u­ments, e.g. mar­ried cer­tifi­cate or cur­rent print­ed pass­port-pho­to with you, if you for­got doc­u­ments you might have to resched­ule a new appointment.

(8) Check which flight you want to take.

(9) Two to Three Work­ing-days after the Appoint­ment you will receive the Pass­ports with your Visas

(10) Book your flight

(11) Make a Covid-19-test not more than 24-hours before the depar­ture of the actu­al flight to the US. [If you have mul­ti­ple stops, it is the depar­ture of the flight enter­ing the US.]

(12) Arrive in the US [Have your DS2019-Form always with you. If the over­head bins of the air-craft are lim­it­ed, you might won’t be able to take the hand-lug­gage always with you.]

(13) Fill out the I94-Form, which you will need for the Social-Secu­ri­ty-num­ber, Bank-accounts and the I9-Form.

(14) Ask for a Social-Secu­ri­ty-Num­ber, since this will pro­vide you access to Amer­i­can bank-accounts and if you are work­ing this enures that you pay your taxes.

(15) Wait 5 work­ing-days for your Social-Security-Number

(16) If you are stay­ing for at least a year in the US, change the Region on your iOS-App-Store or your Google-Play-Store to the US, oth­er­wise Apps (e.g. Bank-App) might not be avail­able for your system.

(17) Open an Amer­i­can bank-account (for a deb­it and a cred­it-card), since some markets&online-shops do not not accept Euro­pean cred­it cards. I rec­om­mend to take a bank that has a store in all states, if you want to vis­it oth­er states. Take mon­ey you need for open­ing a account in cash with you [I rec­om­mend tak­ing ≥200$ with you].

Enrolling to the MIT

I received the MIT-ID on the first day I was hired (in the after­noon), there­fore I had sev­er­al problems.

(0) Take your pri­vate Note­book with you, because you might don’t get a Com­put­er at MIT.

(1) Com­plete the steps at

(2) Ask the Human­Re­sources-Offi­cer of your Depart­ment to get the MIT-ID at least a 1,5 month before hir­ing. [If you would like to have a pub­lic-trans­port-tick­et you need to tell them over a month beforehand.]

(3) With the MIT-ID you can request a Kerberos-ID.

(4) The Ker­beros-ID is nec­es­sary for your E‑Mail-address and dig­i­tal login-cer­tifi­cates and enter­ing the buildings.

(5) Look into the MIT-Atlas-sys­tem there you can check sev­er­al option­al ben­e­fits. e.g. If you would like to get a reduced com­muter-tick­et you have to tell them at lat­est 1month and a day before the first of this month.

(6) Join the ISchO Orientation-Programm 

(7) One the first day of work­ing start fill­ing out the I9-Form (via the MIT-System)

(8) Go to the MIT-Atlas-sys­tem for get­ting your MIT-Card, for being able access­ing the build­ing (If you Smart­phone does sup­port NFC you can also use your phone.)