Read ABOUT THE J-1 EXCHANGE VISITOR'S PROGRAM text version

Pre-Arrival Information for J-1 Exchange Visitors

University of Hawaii Faculty & Scholar Immigration Services www.hawaii.edu/fsis/downloads/JPrearrivalBooklet.pdf rev. April 2012

WELCOME TO THE UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI`I We are pleased to welcome you to the University of Hawai`i (UH) as a J-1 exchange visitor. Visiting scholars such as yourself are selected and invited to participate in UH's exchange visitor program to increase your knowledge and skills in your field of study while making important contributions to academic, research, and cultural activities at UH. This publication is intended to provide general information about the UH Exchange Visitor Program in which you are a participant. We hope this pre-arrival information will assist you in understanding the nature, objectives, and requirements of the Exchange Visitor Program, ease your adjustment to a new environment, and help you derive the fullest benefit from your experience. Although many of your initial questions may be answered by reading the information contained in this booklet, you will probably have other questions or concerns. If you have any questions regarding the Exchange Visitor Program or your immigration status, first consult with the Administrative/ Personnel Officer for your college or research unit. The Administrative/Personnel Officer is responsible for submitting immigration requests to our office and can assist you with general UH policies and procedures. More information about Exchange Visitor Program is available on our website at <www.hawaii.edu/fsis>. Upon arrival at UH, you must register with FSIS within ten business days. We are located on the UH Mnoa campus and serve all ten UH campuses. Please report to your sponsoring UH department first, and then attend your registration appointment with FSIS. If the location of your program is on a neighbor island (other than O`ahu), you should make arrangements to register with an FSIS International Scholar Specialist before traveling to your UH host campus. At registration, an FSIS International Scholar Specialist will (1) check your immigration documents, (2) explain the Exchange Visitor Program requirements to you, (3) provide you with an orientation packet, and (4) activate your SEVIS record. The registration/orientation appointment is an important beginning to your exchange visitor program. It gives you an opportunity to obtain immigration information as well as seek answers to questions you may have as a new arrival. Through their activities in research, teaching, study, consulting and training, exchange visitors from many different countries contribute to the academic and cultural diversity of UH. We hope that your experience with us proves to be both productive and enjoyable. Aloha,

Signe Nakayama Interim Director, Faculty & Scholar Immigration Services Responsible Officer, UH Exchange Visitor Program

University of Hawaii Faculty & Scholar Immigration Services 2565 McCarthy Mall, PSB 102-106 Honolulu, HI 96822 USA www.hawaii.edu/fsis Signe Nakayama Interim Director Kathy Todoki International Scholar Specialist Jamie Higa Student Assistant [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] tel. 808-956-0935 tel. 808-956-9265 tel. 808-956-0934

ABOUT THE J-1 EXCHANGE VISITOR PROGRAM

Responsible Agency and Program Sponsor The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program was created in 1961 by the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States (U.S.) and other countries through educational and cultural exchanges. The University of Hawai'i (UH) is designated by the State Department as an Exchange Visitor Program Sponsor. UH annually sponsors over 400 J-1 exchange visitors, who participate in a variety of activities as students, professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, and specialists. The U.S. Department of State (DOS) is responsible for the administration and regulation of the Exchange Visitor Program. U.S. embassies and consulates abroad also contribute to the administration of the Exchange Visitor Program through their visa issuance responsibilities. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for admission and departure requirements as well as the administration of SEVIS, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. SEVIS is a web-based data system that enables program sponsors to create and process Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status. All exchange visitor program sponsors must enter an exchange visitor's record in SEVIS and report events as required by the Exchange Visitor regulations. The Two-Year Home Country Residence Requirement (212(e)) Exchange visitors and their dependents may be subject to the "two-year home country residence requirement" as a condition of being granted their visa status. Under this requirement, exchange visitors must return to their home countries for at least two years after finishing their programs. The purpose of this requirement is to allow the home country to benefit from the exchange visitors' experiences in the U.S. Exchange visitors come to the U.S. for a specific objective, such as a program of study or a research project. The requirement is intended to ensure that the exchange visitor spends at least two years in the home country, after completing the objective, before coming back to the U.S. for a long-term stay on an H or L nonimmigrant work visa or immigrant visa. While in the U.S., J visa holders cannot change to another visa status (except "A" or "G"), or get a permanent resident visa (green card) without first fulfilling the two-year requirement or having it waived. How Do I Know If I Am Subject to the 212(e) Two-Year Requirement? Please note that only the DOS Waiver Review Division can determine with finality whether you are subject to the requirement. Many exchange visitors think that this is decided when a consular officer stamps the passport with a statement that the visitor is not subject to the requirement. However, this is only a preliminary determination by the consular officer. UH also makes only a preliminary determination about this requirement when a similar notation is entered on Form DS-2019. You may write to the U.S. Department of State (DOS) Waiver Review Division to request an "advisory opinion" on whether or not you are subject to the requirement. For more information, see the DOS website at: <http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/info/info_1296.html>. 12- and 24-Month Bars Depending on the J-1 category or the length of the J-1 program, an exchange visitor may also be subject to a 12month or 24-month bar on repeat participation as a J-1 research scholar or professor. An exchange visitor who begins a J-1 program in either the research scholar or professor category automatically becomes subject to the 24-month bar, which means once he/she completes his/her current J-1 program, he/she may not participate in another J-1 research scholar or professor program until 24 months have passed. For more information on these bars and how they apply, see the chart on the following page.

GENERAL RULES OF THE UH EXCHANGE VISITOR PROGRAM The following are rules that exchange visitors are required to follow under the UH Exchange Visitor Program. Violation of any of these rules may result in an individual's termination from the program. 1. The exchange visitor shall comply with UH policies, rules and procedures, in addition to applicable state and federal statutes, rules and regulations. 2. The exchange visitor shall pursue the activities authorized on his/her Form DS-2019 for which admittance was granted to the U.S. 3. An exchange visitor who engages in unauthorized employment shall be deemed to be in violation of the exchange visitor's program status and will be terminated from the program. 4. The J-1 exchange visitor and J-2 dependents are responsible for maintaining current immigration status, which includes following through with these responsibilities: a. Providing complete and accurate documentation and immigration information to the sponsoring unit's Administrative/Personnel Officer and to Faculty and Scholar Immigration Services (FSIS); b. Keeping the Administrative/Personnel Officer and FSIS informed of any changes affecting the exchange visitor's program status, need for extensions, address and telephone number, or any other immigration matter; c. Maintaining a valid passport during the entire stay; and

d. Filing initial applications, transfer requests and extensions on a timely basis. 5. It is the responsibility of the exchange visitor and dependents to maintain required medical insurance coverage in the event of sickness or accident during the period of time the exchange visitor is participating in the exchange program. The minimum health insurance requirements are explained in this booklet under the "Health Insurance Requirements" section. Failing to maintain the required medical insurance coverage while participating in an exchange program or making a material misrepresentation to the sponsor concerning such coverage shall result in termination from the program. 6. Dependents may accompany the exchange visitor or they may arrive at a later time. The exchange visitor shall provide the Administrative/Personnel Officer of the UH sponsoring unit with the full name, relationship, birth date, city/town/province of birth, country of birth, country of citizenship, and country of permanent residence for each dependent. In addition, financial evidence showing that sufficient funds are available to support all dependents while they are in the U.S. is required. See the "Spouse and Dependents" section of this booklet for more information.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN YOUR J-1 PROGRAM To show that you have been selected to participate in an exchange visitor program, UH will issue you a SEVIS Form DS-2019 "Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status." SEVIS FEE After receiving a Form DS-2019, you must pay a SEVIS fee of $180 and obtain a receipt before you can apply for a J-1 visa and enter the U.S. Failure to pay the fee is grounds for denial of J-1 status or statusrelated benefits. Who must pay the SEVIS fee? · Persons applying for a J-1 visa at a U.S. embassy/consulate abroad for initial participation in an exchange visitor program (except federal government-sponsored programs: G-1, G-2, or G-3); · Citizens of Canada or Bermuda who are applying for J-1 admission at a U.S. port of entry to begin participation in an exchange visitor program; · Persons who are in the U.S. in another nonimmigrant status and who are changing to J-1 status; · A J-1 exchange visitor sponsored by the federal government (with G-1, G-2, or G-3 program codes) who is transferring J-1 program sponsorship to UH. Who does not have to pay the SEVIS fee? · J-2 dependents; · A person who paid an initial SEVIS fee when seeking a J-1 visa from a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad, was denied a visa, and is applying again for a visa in the same J-1 exchange visitor category within 12 months of the visa denial; · A J-1 exchange visitor applying for a visa to return to the U.S. as a continuing participant of an exchange visitor program (this applies only to J-1s returning to the U.S. to resume participation in a program that began previously, in which he/she has maintained status, and which has not completed); · A J-1 exchange visitor transferring to UH in the same exchange visitor category, except from a federal government-sponsored program; · A J-1 exchange visitor applying for an extension of stay in the same program. When do prospective exchange visitors pay the SEVIS fee? · Citizens of countries OTHER THAN Canada or Bermuda: o You must pay the SEVIS fee before going to the U.S. embassy/consulate for your visa interview. You may schedule a visa appointment with a U.S. embassy/consulate before paying the fee, but you must submit a receipt for the SEVIS fee payment when you go to the visa interview. The SEVIS fee cannot be paid at the U.S. embassy/consulate. o Fee payment must be processed at least 3 business days in advance of the visa application and interview, unless the applicant has a printed receipt from an Internet payment. · Citizens of Canada or Bermuda: o You do not need to obtain a J-1 visa at a U.S. embassy/consulate, but you will need to apply for J-1 status at a U.S. port of entry. The SEVIS fee cannot be paid at the port of entry. Fee payment must be processed at least 3 business days prior to applying for admission at a U.S. port of entry. You must present a SEVIS fee receipt at the U.S. port of entry. · If you are in the U.S., changing your status to J-1 by filing Form I-539 with USCIS: o You can pay the SEVIS fee after you receive the I-539 receipt notice from USCIS. · If you are transferring to UH from a federal government-sponsored J-1 program: o You can pay the SEVIS fee after the effective date of your transfer to UH. How do you pay the SEVIS fee? · On the Internet at <www.FMJfee.com>. Complete Form I-901 Fee Remittance for Certain F, M, and J Nonimmigrants and pay the SEVIS fee using a credit card; OR · By mailing Form I-901 with a check or money order drawn on a U.S. bank and payable in US$. · Note: Payment can be made by someone other than the J-1 visa applicant, either in the U.S. or abroad. SEVIS fee receipt: The Department of Homeland Security will issue an official paper receipt (Form I-797) acknowledging the payment of your SEVIS fee. Express delivery service for the I-797 receipt may be requested at an additional cost. If you submit your fee electronically, you can print out an electronic receipt immediately at the time of payment to use before the I-797 receipt arrives in the mail.

HOW TO ENTER THE U.S. AS A J-1 EXCHANGE VISITOR Citizens of Canada and Bermuda: You do not need to apply for a visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate prior to entering the U.S. You should present the DS-2019 and SEVIS fee receipt to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry with your passport to be admitted as a J-1 exchange visitor. (Skip down to "Applying for J-1 entry to the U.S.," below.) Citizens of all other countries: You must apply for a J-1 visa at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate with the Form DS-2019 and SEVIS fee receipt. An in-person interview is usually required. Specific documentary requirements may vary from consulate to consulate, so please check with the consulate first to be sure you have all the required supporting documents. Many U.S. embassies and consulates have visa application procedures on their websites (see <www.usembassy.gov>). Please apply for your visa as soon as possible because it may take some time for the consulate to process your visa application. All visa applications undergo a security check and some may require a more extensive security clearance that may take several weeks. Generally, your visa application must include: 1. A valid, unexpired passport (must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your intended stay); 2. DOS Form DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Application: See <www.usembassy.gov> for a list of U.S. embassy/consulate websites worldwide ­ the DS-160 can be accessed from these websites; 3. Original Form DS-2019 issued by UH; 4. Original documentation (no photocopies) of financial support, such as letters or documents showing UH employment offer or fellowship grant, certification of salary or funds from your employer or from granting agencies, bank statements, or affidavits of support; 5. One passport-style photograph ­ see Photo Requirements on the DOS website at <http://travel.state.gov/visa/visaphotoreq/visaphotoreq_5334.html>); 6. Visa fee(s): All new J-1s must pay the SEVIS fee of $180 and submit the receipt with their visa application (see "SEVIS Fee" section, above). All nonimmigrant visa applicants (J-1s and J-2s) must pay a $160 nonimmigrant visa processing fee (nonrefundable). Depending on the arrangement between your country and the U.S., you may also need to pay an additional visa issuance fee. To see whether you need to pay a visa issuance fee, ask the U.S. embassy/consulate or see the DOS website: <http://travel.state.gov/visa/fees/fees_3272.html>. UH cannot reimburse you for any visa fees. After a successful visa interview, the consular officer will return the Form DS-2019 along with your passport, which will now contain your J-1 entry visa. You can now apply for J-1 entry to the U.S. Applying for J-1 entry to the U.S. You must enter the U.S. on or within 30 days before the start date on your Form DS-2019. If you cannot enter the U.S. by the DS-2019 start date, notify your UH department immediately so that FSIS can issue you a new DS2019. If you are unable to come to UH for any reason, you must return the DS-2019 to FSIS immediately. At the U.S. port of entry, present the DS-2019 and your passport containing the J-1 entry visa to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer. Any J-2 dependents accompanying you should also present their DS-2019s and J-1 visas in their passports. The CBP officer will review the documents and ask you questions about your stay. These officers can refer you to a more detailed secondary inspection at their discretion. When you are admitted into the U.S., the DS-2019 will be returned to you and you will be issued a white Form I94 (Departure Record) card. The I-94 card is proof of your admission to the U.S. and evidence of your legal immigration status. Each J-2 dependent should have his/her own I-94 card. The name on each I-94 card must be identical to the name on the corresponding DS-2019. Take the DS-2019 with you whenever you travel and reenter the U.S. from abroad during your J-1 program. Keep the DS-2019 and I-94 with your passport in a safe place. They provide evidence of your status and are important documents which should be safeguarded against loss or destruction at all times. You will need them for such purposes as extending your stay in the U.S., evidence of employment authorization, visa renewal, and reentry to the U.S. after temporary trips abroad during the validity of the DS-2019. Keep all DS-2019s permanently.

HOW TO CHANGE STATUS IN THE U.S. TO J-1 If you are already in the U.S. in a nonimmigrant status other than J-1, you will need to change to J-1 status to participate in UH's exchange visitor program. For information on applying for a change of status to J-1, see our website at <www.hawaii.edu/fsis/j-1/info/begin/cos.html>. Depending on your specific circumstances, it is possible that you may not be eligible for a change of status, which means you may have to leave the U.S., apply for a J-1 visa at a U.S. consulate, and then reenter the U.S. in J-1 status. If you are considering a change of status and are unsure whether you are eligible, please consult with an FSIS International Scholar Specialist. HOW TO TRANSFER YOUR J-1 PROGRAM TO UH SPONSORSHIP If you are currently a J-1 participant with another program sponsor, you should first consult with the Responsible Officer/Alternate Responsible Officer (RO/ARO) at your current institution for advice on the proper procedures to transfer your program sponsorship to UH. If you are eligible to transfer program sponsorship, UH will issue a DS2019 for the transfer after your RO/ARO has processed a "transfer out" to UH in SEVIS. For more information on transfer procedures, see our website at <www.hawaii.edu/fsis/j-1/info/begin/transfer.html>. YOUR RIGHTS IN THE U.S. While you are in the U.S. as an exchange visitor, you are entitled to certain rights and protections under U.S. law. You can read about these rights in an informational pamphlet published by the U.S. Department of State: <www.travel.state.gov/pdf/Pamphlet-Order.pdf>.

SPOUSE AND DEPENDENTS A J-1's spouse and children (unmarried, under age 21) may apply for J-2 visas as exchange visitor dependents. Please inform the Administrative/Personnel Officer of your UH sponsoring unit if your spouse and/or dependents are accompanying or following to join you. If your spouse and/or children accompany you or join you in the U.S., they may obtain their visas and admission to the U.S. using a Form DS-2019 issued to each dependent. In order to issue a DS-2019 for your family members, FSIS will need the following information for each family member: 1) full name as it appears in the passport; 2) birth date (month/day/year); 3) city/town/province and country of birth; 4) country of citizenship; and 5) country of legal permanent residence. If the J-1's salary, stipend, or funding is not sufficient to support the family as well as the J-1 exchange visitor, then separate evidence of adequate financial support for the family must be submitted (see paragraph below). J-1 exchange visitors are responsible for their family's financial support, including roundtrip transportation and living expenses. If your spouse or dependents wish to work, it may be difficult to find suitable jobs. When your family applies for the J-2 visa, the U.S. consul must determine whether your family has sufficient funds to meet basic living costs in the U.S. The consul will need evidence of financial capability before issuing J-2 visas. If the consul has any reason to think a prospective J-2 has a prior intention of working in the U.S., the J-2 visa may be denied. The consul will also expect your family to have return tickets or funds set aside for return transportation prior to departure for the U.S. Due to these consular requirements, you are required to submit evidence of sufficient funds for family support before UH will issue DS-2019s for family members. General information for J-2 dependents 1. J-2 extensions of stay may be granted to dependents for the same duration as the J-1's program. 2. If a J-1 exchange visitor leaves the U.S. for an extended absence, J-2 dependents are also required to leave the U.S. J-2 dependents must depart the U.S. when the J-1's program ends. 3. If the J-1 exchange visitor is subject to the two-year home country residence requirement, the J-2 dependent is also subject to the two-year home country residence requirement. 4. If a J-2 spouse or dependent wishes to work in the U.S. after his/her arrival, he/she must submit a Form I765 Application for Employment Authorization to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) California Service Center after he/she arrives in the U.S. Working without USCIS authorization is illegal and makes the J-2 spouse/dependent subject to deportation. I-765 applications generally take about 90 days to be adjudicated at USCIS. There is no guarantee that USCIS will approve an I-765 application. If employment authorization is granted, income from employment may be used only for the support of the spouse and dependents. For more information: <www.hawaii.edu/fsis/j-1/info/j2.html#work> 5. Full-time study is not permitted in J-2 status, except by J-2 dependents in K-12 programs. It is expected that final J SEVIS regulations will reflect this change. Until this correction is made, there is no restriction on study for J-2 dependents but it is uncertain when the restriction will become effective. J-2 dependents who wish to study full-time will be required to change to F-1 or J-1 student status. It is expected that J-2s may study part-time while in the U.S. 6. Changes of Status: a. J status to another nonimmigrant status: A J-1 or J-2 who is subject to the foreign residence requirement cannot change to another nonimmigrant visa status (except A or G) within the U.S. If a J-2 is not subject to the foreign residence requirement, a change from J-2 to another nonimmigrant visa status (such as H-1B or F-1) may be possible. b. J-2 to J-1 status: A J-2 who has been in the U.S. for more than 6 months within the previous 12month period is not eligible for the J-1 professor or research scholar categories. Opportunities for a change from J-2 to J-1 status are rare, except for students who are offered a scholarship or graduate assistantship by a university. Thus, if a spouse/dependent strongly wishes to pursue a degree, he or she should apply for admission while still in the home country and enter the U.S. on a student visa specifically for that purpose. 7. If a J-2 travels abroad for a temporary visit, he/she must follow the same reentry procedures as the J-1. The J-2 must have a valid passport, valid J-2 visa, and a validated, unexpired DS-2019 issued to the J-2. If you have other family members and/or dependents who do not qualify for J-2 status, FSIS staff can provide information on other visa types for which they may be eligible.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

High cost of living You may be surprised to learn how expensive food, housing and other basic necessities are in Hawai'i. It is a good idea to prepare a budget before coming to ensure that you will be able to support yourself and any dependents. Rent and utilities for a one bedroom apartment averages $900-$1000 per month; a two bedroom apartment's rent averages $1500-$1800 per month. The cost of food and other expenses varies per individual. An estimated $18,000 per year or $1500 per month for one person is usually sufficient for basic living expenses, including housing and utilities, health insurance, food, and local transportation. Additional funds are needed for personal expenses. Sufficient funds should also be set aside for international travel expenses. If bringing family members, an additional $500 per month per person should be budgeted. Necessity for reserve funds Any exchange visitor who will be provided payments by UH is advised that there are often substantial delays until receipt of the first check. Many scholars arrive with the belief that they can immediately begin counting their UH pay or stipend as a source of support. You will need to bring sufficient funds for supporting yourself and any dependents in the event of delays or emergency. An amount sufficient for at least three months support is strongly recommended. A certified or cashier's check for deposit in a checking account or traveler's checks are suggested. Delays in receiving your first check are most commonly caused by the following factors: · No Social Security Number (SSN) ­ An SSN is required before UH can begin paying you a salary or wages. You must apply for an SSN in person at the nearest Social Security Administration (SSA) office in the U.S. Before applying for an SSN, you must register with FSIS so your SEVIS record can be validated. The SSA must verify your immigration status before it can process your SSN application. Therefore, the SSA recommends that you wait at least 10 business days after entering the U.S. and registering with FSIS before submitting an SSN application to allow sufficient time for immigration data to be collected from your admission to the U.S. to be available to the SSA. It can take as long as 3-4 weeks after the application is verified to process and receive your SSN card in the mail. In addition to the waiting time for the SSN, you must plan on additional lag time while UH processes your employment and payment paperwork. Altogether, you should be prepared for a possible 2-3 month delay in receiving your first check if you do not already possess an SSN. The Honolulu Social Security Administration office is located in the Prince Kuhio Federal Bldg., 300 Ala Moana Blvd., Rm. 1-114. For information, call the toll free number: 1-800-772-1213. · Delay in Processing of Immigration Papers ­ UH cannot pay a nonimmigrant employee unless the employee has an employment-eligible visa status or evidence of employment authorization. Delays in processing your immigration paperwork can occur despite the best of planning, such as deficiencies in documentation, delays in financial support, or backlogs in immigration service centers. You should be prepared to live off reserve funds in the event of such delays. This can occur not only when obtaining a visa initially, but also later in your stay when extensions or changes of nonimmigrant status become necessary. Banking You should not carry large amounts of cash with you. Purchases are commonly paid for by check or credit card. It is practical to open a checking account at a local bank to establish credit and to provide an easy method of paying for purchases. Until you are able to open a bank account, it is recommended that you use traveler's checks. There are several commercial banks near the University that offer checking or savings accounts. You are also eligible to join the University of Hawaii Federal Credit Union which provides full banking services to its members. See the UHFCU website at <www.uhfcu.com>.

HOUSING

On-campus housing Dormitories ("Dorms"): Only UH Manoa and UH Hilo provide on-campus housing in dorms. However, these dorms are maintained for full-time students. The East-West Center, which is adjacent to the UH Manoa campus, accepts requests from UH faculty, staff or students with an educational affiliation or sponsorship who are interested in living in an international, graduate residence hall. For more information, check the East-West Center's home page <www.eastwestcenter.org> or contact the EWC Housing Office, 1711 East-West Rd., Honolulu, HI 968481711 USA; phone: 808-944-7805, fax: 808-944-7790, email: [email protected] Faculty Housing: A limited amount of faculty housing at UH Manoa may be available to exchange visitors. It is assigned on a priority basis for a maximum of 3 years. Contact the Faculty Housing Office, 1951 East-West Rd., Honolulu, HI 96822, USA; phone: (808) 956-8449, fax: (808) 956-9968, email: [email protected], web: <www.hawaii.edu/fachousing>. Off-campus housing Due to the limited availability of housing on campus, most exchange visitors live off campus. There are many sources you can use to search for off-campus housing. Friends can sometimes recommend a rental to you, but it is often necessary to look for a place yourself. You should consult a map of the area so you can avoid places that are too far from your campus. In Honolulu, the areas closest to UH Manoa are Manoa, Moiliili, McCully, Punahou, Makiki, Kaimuki, Kapahulu and Palolo Valley. Finding a place to live Bulletin boards on campus frequently have notices advertising places for rent. The Exchange, a monthly bulletin published by Women's Campus Club, lists housing for rent or sharing. You may find a current listing at <www.soest.hawaii.edu/rentals>. The UH off-campus housing referral program's website is: <www.housing.hawaii.edu/och>. Another excellent source of rental listings is local newspapers. On Oahu, you can consult the Honolulu Advertiser and Honolulu Star Bulletin. The Sunday edition of The Advertiser usually contains more listings than any other day of the week. On the neighbor islands, such newspapers as the Hawai'i Tribune-Herald, The Maui News, and The Garden Island (Kauai) can also provide rental listings. Finally, some landlords advertise rooms for rent with a sign on the building or in a window which might say "For Rent," "Room Available," "Vacancy," etc. You must contact landlords individually to make arrangements to see the apartments or rooms and decide whether it is suitable. If you see an advertisement for a room that looks promising, you should call the landlord right away, since desirable rentals are usually taken quite quickly. Types of listings · Shared Room. An apartment or house is shared with others. There may be all males, all females, or males and females sharing the rental unit. A visit with those sharing the unit is important to make sure that the individuals understand and respect each other. · Studio Apartment. Refers to one large room with a kitchen. There is no separate bedroom. Accommodates one person or a couple. · One Bedroom Apartment. Has a separate room for sleeping. Usually accommodates one to three people. · Partly Furnished. Includes basic kitchen appliances such as a stove, refrigerator, and water heater, but comes with no furniture. · Furnished. Includes basic kitchen appliances as well as beds and some furniture. · Unfurnished. Apartment does not come with either appliances or furniture.

Deposit and rental agreements When renting an apartment or room, you should be aware that a security deposit is usually required at the time you pay the first month's rent. The security deposit is normally equal to (but cannot be more than) the amount of one month's rent. The purpose of the security deposit is to protect the owner in case of damage to the property or failure to pay the rent when due. This deposit (or part of it) is returned at the time you move out if the landlord determines that the apartment is left in satisfactory condition. The lease A written lease (also sometimes called a rental agreement) is usually signed by the manager/owner and tenant. This document outlines the responsibilities that the landlord and tenant have with respect to the rental property. Written lease agreements are recommended. It is advised that the prospective tenant read and discuss the terms of the rental agreement with the landlord or rental agent to be sure that there will be no misunderstandings as to the responsibilities of each person. An inventory list of furniture and appliances should be reviewed and checked before you move in. Any discrepancies and/or damages should be noted so that you are not blamed for any damage that you did not cause. Any written inventory should be carefully read before being signed and a copy kept for future reference at the time of vacating the unit. Term of the lease A lease with a specific time period is called a "fixed term lease." Six months to one year is the usual length of a lease and can be re-negotiated when it expires. Another type of lease has a "month-to month tenancy." This means that the lease does not have a specific time limit. The unit will be rented as long as the tenant and landlord both agree, and the rent is paid on a monthly basis. If a fixed term ends and a landlord keeps accepting money, the fixed term becomes a month-to month lease. The advantage of a month-to-month lease is that renters can vacate the apartment at any time with a 28-day written notice to the landlord. On the other hand, the landlord can raise the rent or ask tenants to leave by giving 45 days written notice. Setting up the apartment If you are interested in furniture or other items for your rental unit, you might want to browse thrift shops and discount stores for inexpensive items. The classified section of the newspaper, the used furniture store section of the "Yellow Pages" in the telephone book, or campus bulletin boards are also good sources. Compare prices and check the quality of the item to make sure you are getting a good deal. TRANSPORTATION A public bus system operates throughout the city of Honolulu and island of Oahu. The other Hawaiian islands have limited public transportation. If you wish to drive an automobile, motorcycle or moped, you are required to have a valid driver's permit and accident & liability insurance. The automobile must be registered and have a current safety inspection sticker. To drive legally in Hawaii, you must have one of the following: 1. A valid State of Hawaii driver's license <www.co.honolulu.hi.us/csd/vehicle/dlicense.htm>; or 2. Be at least 18 years of age and have a valid driver's license issued by any U.S. state or U.S. territory; or 3. A valid foreign driver's license AND an International Driving Permit. Note: Individuals without a valid Social Security Number may obtain a letter from the Social Security Administration stating that the applicant is ineligible for a SSN. He/she should present this letter when applying for a State of Hawai`i driver's license.

HEALTH INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS The U.S. government requires exchange visitors and their dependents to maintain health insurance, including repatriation and medical evacuation coverage, for the duration of their stay in the U.S. All health insurance policies carried by exchange visitors and their accompanying dependents must conform to the following minimum requirements: 1. Minimum medical insurance coverage must provide: · medical benefits of at least $50,000 per accident or illness; · in case of death, repatriation of remains in the amount of at least $7,500; · in case of serious illness or injury, payment of expenses associated with the medical evacuation back to the exchange visitor's home country in the amount of at least $10,000; and · a deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness. 2. The policy may require a reasonable waiting period for pre-existing conditions. 3. The policy may include provisions for co-insurance in which the exchange visitor may be required to pay up to 25% of the covered benefits per accident or illness. 4. If a particular activity is part of an exchange visitor's program, the policy must cover injuries resulting from the exchange visitor's participation in that activity. 5. Policies must meet certain rating requirements. A policy meets rating requirements if it is: · Underwritten by an insurance corporation having an A.M. Best rating of "A-" or above, and Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of "A-i" or above, a Standard & Poor's Claims-paying Ability rating of "A-" or above, a Weiss Research Inc. rating of B+ or above; or · Backed by the full faith and credit of the government of the exchange visitor's home country; or · Part of a health benefits program offered on a group basis to employees or enrolled students or scholars by a designated sponsor; or · Offered through or underwritten by a federally qualified Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) or eligible Competitive Medical Plan (CMP) as determined by the Health Care Financing Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Exchange Visitor regulations state: "An Exchange Visitor who willfully fails to maintain the insurance coverage set forth above...or who makes a material misrepresentation to the sponsor concerning such coverage shall be deemed to be in violation of these regulations and shall be subject to termination as a participant" [22 CFR 62.14(h)]. This means that FSIS can terminate your J-1 program if you refuse to purchase adequate health insurance coverage that meets these requirements. If you are not sure whether the policy/plan you want to purchase will provide the required minimum coverage, you must ask your insurance company for confirmation. In the U.S., certain kinds of elective medical care, such as vision care or dental care, are ordinarily not covered by medical insurance, and they are very expensive. The UH/HMSA health insurance plan for non-student J-1 exchange visitors does not cover dental services or vision care. To the extent possible, exchange visitors and dependents should take care of those needs before leaving home. The need for health insurance It is extremely risky to be in the U.S. without adequate health insurance coverage. Although in many countries the government bears the expense of health care for its citizens, and sometimes even for visitors, individuals and families in the U.S. are responsible for these costs themselves. Since a single day of hospitalization and medical treatment can cost thousands of dollars, many hospitals and doctors will not treat uninsured patients except in life-threatening emergencies. Most Americans rely on insurance and you should do the same. Insurance gives you access to better and more timely health care and provides the only protection against the enormous costs of health care in the U.S.

How health insurance works When you purchase health insurance coverage, your payments (premiums) are combined with other people's premiums to form a pool of money. That money is then used to pay the medical bills of the participants who need health care. Your coverage remains valid only as long as you pay your insurance premiums. Once you purchase insurance, the company will provide you with an insurance identification card for you to use as proof of your coverage when you need health care from a hospital or doctor. The company will also provide written instructions for reporting and documenting medical expenses (filing a claim). The company will evaluate any claim you file and pay the appropriate amount of coverage provided by your particular policy/plan. In some cases, the company pays the hospital or doctor directly; in others, the company reimburses the policy/plan holder after he/she has paid the bills. Insurance agents An agent is a person who represents one or several insurance companies and sells insurance to individuals and groups. When consulting with an agent, you should feel free to ask questions and take time to understand several choices before you make a decision. If you are uncertain or confused, don't sign anything. If you are unsure whether the policy/plan you are considering meets the minimum requirements, ask the agent for confirmation. UH Student Health Insurance Plan UH offers health insurance to its exchange visitors through the Hawai`i Medical Service Association (HMSA) student health insurance plan. Information about the HMSA plan is posted on the FSIS website at <www.hawaii.edu/fsis/j-1/info/uhhealth.html>. See current HMSA student health plan rates at <www.hmsa.com/portal/?gid=student&pg=8#rates>. Since international scholars and postdoctoral fellows do not meet the definition of "student" as defined by the plan provider, the University Health Services established the following policies and procedures to enable non-student J-1s to request coverage by the UH student health insurance plan: · Only non-students who are affiliated with UH on a non-salaried basis, such as visiting scholars and postdoctoral fellows, are eligible to enroll. · J-1 non-students and their J-2 dependents must enroll within 15 days of their arrival at UH. If they do not enroll within 15 days of arrival, they must wait until the annual open enrollment period (July/August). · J-1s and J-2s must have no other health plan options through UH. · The J-1's program duration must be at least 3 months long. To apply for the UH HMSA health insurance plan, please complete the following at least 2 weeks prior to effective date of coverage: 1. Complete a Request for Non-Student Eligibility Form <www.hawaii.edu/shs/images/request.pdf>. 2. Attach copies (not originals) of the DS-2019s for yourself and your J-2 dependents or a letter from your UH sponsoring unit confirming your participation in a UH J-1 program for at least 3 months. 3. Mail the request form and the DS-2019 copies to the Student Health Coordinator, 2600 Campus Road, Room 313D, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA or fax it to (808) 956-6371. The Student Health Coordinator will review your request and issue you a Notice of Decision. If the Notice of Decision states that you are eligible, complete the HMSA Application Form in the plan brochure or from the HMSA website at <www.hmsa.com/portal/?gid=student&pg=13>. IMPORTANT: · Select an option that includes repatriation coverage on the application form. · Select "Non-Student" as the classification category on the application form. · Do not enroll online.

When you have completed the HMSA Application Form, mail the form with a copy of the Notice of Decision and payment (check or money order payable to HMSA) to: HMSA, 6-AMS, Attn: UH Student Plan, P.O. Box 860, Honolulu, HI 96808-0860. Keep copies of the Notice of Decision and the completed application forms and your payment check/money order for your personal records. If you have any questions regarding the UH student insurance plan, please contact the UHM Student Health Insurance Coordinator, Stephanie Yoda, at [email protected], (808) 956-5361. Alternative insurance plans If you decide not to purchase the UH student health insurance plan, you may choose another insurance plan that meets the minimum requirements. If you (1) purchased a policy that does not meet the minimum requirements, (2) have not purchased insurance prior to arriving in the U.S., or (3) if you are not eligible to enroll in the UH HMSA plan, please go to the following link for pre-screened alternative insurance plans that meet J-1 requirements: <www.hawaii.edu/fsis/j-1/info/althealth.html>. If you choose not to enroll in a plan on the above list, you may find another plan that meets your needs. However, be sure that the plan you purchase meets the J-1 requirements. If you purchase a plan that does not meet the requirements, you will be required to enroll in another plan that does meet the requirements. UH employee insurance plans (EUTF HMSA, HMA, or Kaiser) If you purchase a UH employee insurance plan, you will also need to purchase separate repatriation and medical evacuation coverage from a different insurance company. Repatriation & Medical Evacuation Coverage If you need to purchase a separate repatriation and medical evacuation plan, two options are: · Harbour Group Medical Evacuation & Repatriation Benefit Plan: <www.hginsurance.com/medevac.asp> · International SOS Visitor USA plan: <www.internationalsos.com/visitorusa> Alternatively, you can find and purchase another repatriation and medical evacuation plan that meets the U.S. government's minimum requirements (at least $7,500 USD coverage for repatriation and at least $10,000 USD coverage for medical evacuation). You must complete the J-1 Health Insurance Requirements Compliance Form (blank form is attached to your DS-2019 and available at <www.hawaii.edu/fsis/downloads/JHealthComplianceForm.pdf>) and bring the form and the required documentation of health insurance coverage to your FSIS registration appointment. If you and your dependents do not already have the required coverage before you arrive, you must purchase adequate insurance as soon possible after you arrive in the U.S.

EXIT PROCEDURES When you leave the U.S., your I-94 card will be collected by an airline representative. The airline will turn in the I94 to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to record your exit from the U.S.

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