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: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/wait-times.html/
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 https://ustraveldocs.com/ 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 https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/wait-times.html/ and see if you are still in time
(5) You need to make a profile at https://ustraveldocs.com and pay the MRV-fee
(6) Wait some days till the MRV fee is approved and proceed with the steps at https://ustraveldocs.com
(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 https://ischoportal.mit.edu
(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.)