Scholars & Employees

Pre & Post Arrival

After receiving your DS-2019 from USF, it is time to prepare to come to the Tampa Bay area.   

Get Your J-1 Visa or Transfer J Status to USF

If you are outside the US:

  • Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee 
  • Make an appointment for a J-1 visa at a US Embassy or Consulate.
  • After receiving the visa stamp in your passport, make arrangements to arrive in Florida.  Tampa International Airport is the closest airport.
  • You and any J-2 dependents may enter the US up to thirty (30) days before program start date on the DS-2019.

If you are inside the US:

  • OIS will work with your J-1 program sponsor to arrange transfer of your SEVIS record to USF. 
  • Your category, subject/field code, and program objective cannot change. 
  • USF will not have access to the SEVIS record to produce the final DS-2019 until you arrive at USF.

Plan Your Arrival to USF

Report to OIS for Document Check and Orientation 

Mandatory Document Check  

  • You will upload copies of immigration documents and provide information via iStart eforms. 
  • Mandatory Document Check occurs during one of the days/times below.   
Mandatory Document Check
Day Time
Monday 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. 
Tuesday 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. 


1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Friday 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
  • View a map to our office on our Contact Us page.
  • If you have not uploaded or completed all post arrival eforms in iStart, arrive one hour early for assistance.  
  • During Document Check, OIS will “activate” your SEVIS record.   
  • Two days (48 hours) after SEVIS activation, you can apply for an SSN number at the local SSA office. 
  • After Document Check, you may complete Right Start with Human Resources if you are employed at USF and any department on-boarding. 

Mandatory Orientation  

  • OIS conducts Scholar Orientation on the second Tuesday of each month.   
  • Scholars are required to attend the next available session.   
  • Dependents are welcome to attend the orientation. 


Update your U Number in iStart

  • During your first week with your new USF department you should be provided with your University ID Number (U Number) and a Net ID. Once you have your U Number, login to iStart and complete the Update your U Number E-Form to complete the scholar checklist. This step is mandatory in order to allow you to access iStart resources as a continuing scholar at USF.

Get Involved

  • OIS offers a full range of activities for scholars and their families during their stay at USF.  Scholars are notified via email. 
  • Departments are expected to include scholars in departmental meetings and events.