PI Advice

PI Advice


During your flight, a flight attendant will give you a Customs Declaration. Complete this form during your flight and submit it to the Customs and Border Patrol Officers at the airport upon arrival. If you have questions about completing the form, you may ask the flight attendant.

Please note that you will be asked to write the address in the U.S. where you will be staying. It may be a permanent or temporary address. If you know your US address, use it. If you don't know your US address, please use your work address. Your work address is indicated on your Form DS-2019.


A port-of-entry is the first airport you land at in the US Even if you have a connecting flight, you need to go through the immigration procedure, pick up your luggage, re-check it and get on the next flight. There are four separate inspections at a port-of-entry: Public Health, Immigration, Customs, and Agriculture but it might happen that you will only be interviewed by the Immigration Officer.


As a guest in the US, it is important that you cooperate fully with the Customs and Border Patrol officer and answer all questions clearly and respectfully. The officer may ask for some general details about your visit. For example, you may be asked the reason you have come to the US and where your final destination is located.

Remember: You are entering the US as a "J-1 Exchange Visitor". You will show the officer the following documents: Passport, Form DS-2019, J-1 Visa, and your training plan. The Immigration Officer will scan your finger prints, take a digital picture of you and stamp your passport. 

Collecting Your Bags

After passing through Immigration, you will go to the baggage claim area where your bags will arrive on a carousel. Check the display board for your flight number. If your bags have been damaged or lost, report it immediately to the airline and get a Property Irregularity Report as you will need this for insurance purposes. Give the address where you will be staying in the US or your employer’s address as the one to which you would like your bags delivered.


Process through the Customs and Board Patrol checkpoint and show your declaration to the CBP officer. The officer will review your declaration and either ask you additional questions or allow you to process out of the terminal or to your connecting flight. Your luggage might be examined at this point as a matter of random or routine inspection.

Remember: You are not allowed to bring to the following into the US:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Fresh, canned or dried meat products
  • Soil, snails and plants
  • Products made from protected species

You are limited in bringing to the US:

  • Medications – you may bring reasonable quantities, only in their original containers
  • If you bring more than $10,000.00 you must report it to the CBP officer
  • You have a duty-free allowance of $100 in gifts
  • 200 cigarettes
  • 50 cigars or 2 kg of smoking tobacco
  • If you bring in alcohol, you must be 21 or older

Getting To Your Work Place In the US

There are a wide variety of transportation options that will allow you to get to your work place and to travel throughout in the US

Airplane is the most time efficient way to travel in the US

When searching for the best airfare deals, try checking the following websites:

www.travelocity.com | www.orbitz.com | www.cheaptickets.com | www.expedia.com

You may also want to check the websites of all major airlines for competitive pricing and travel options. Please note that you must have a credit or a debit card available to make travel arrangements on a website. Bus is also a popular and inexpensive way to travel in the US Major bus companies can help you connect to local bus transportation to reach even the most remote towns. Greyhound Bus Company is the largest ground transportation provider in the US | www.greyhound.com.

Renting a Car 

Car rental comes with mandatory automobile insurance, and you will need an International Driver’s License. Some car rental agencies require that you are at least 25 years of age. Some may allow the renter to be 21 years of age as long as they have at least one major credit card. Be aware of the rules of the road while you are in the US Drive safely and make sure you carry proof of auto insurance at all times. For further detailed information on driving tips for foreign visitors, please visit: USA.gov Foreign Visitors Driving in the U.S.

Train travel is another travel option to consider. Amtrak, the national railroad (railway), offers a rail pass similar to Europe’s Inter-rail pass. The USA Rail Pass is valid for either 15 or 30 days. There are nationwide passes or Amtrak has also divided the country into sections for regional travel. You can obtain passes for the Eastern Region, Northeast Region, Southern Region and Western Region | www.amtrak.com.

Copyright © 2024. All Rights Reserved.