Arriving In The U.S.

Figure out first steps for a well prepared arrival in the U.S.!
Arriving to the States may get a little overwhelming, specially when you’ve been dreaming about this opportunity for so long and you feel that you have to get a lot of things done in order for you to get settled in before the first day at your job. Don’t worry though! If you get organized and make a list of all the things necessary, you will see that it won’t be so bad at the end! You just have to try to be as productive as you can upon on arrival so you can get all the boring stuff out of the way and begin enjoying the adventure. Here we leave you with 5 Must-DO’s as soon as you get to the States:
  1. Social Security
It is mandatory for you to apply to the Social Security when arriving to the States. You can do that by going to the nearest Social Security Office with your passport, DS-2019 form  and an the Employer Letter (which we will send you). All of these steps will be given to you in a  Pre-Departure Orientation Session by Architect-US and ASSE before you embark to the U.S.
  1. Housing
One of the biggest challenges is finding an affordable place to live in U.S., but it is not impossible. You can search on the Internet in places such as Zillow, Craigslist, Homes, Apartments, Trulia, and many others, and you can also ask your Host Company for suggestions. Many candidates also resort to contacting an Agency to find their housing. We will also add you to the Architect-US participants chat so the rest of the community can give you some advice as well. You will need to take into consideration factors such as safety, price, transportation to the office and distance from it.
  1. Driver’s Permit
To find more information on Driver’s Permit it is important that you check the laws and regulations of the state that you will be going to. To do so, visit the DMV website (Department of Motor Vehicle) or make an appointment to go see them. Depending on the duration of your program, and where and if you have a valid driver’s license from your home country you may be allowed to use that one to drive. You can also get an International Drivers Permit. Most states in the U.S. let you drive up to a year with an international license.
  1. Bank Account
Some banks may have different policies and you have to decide on the available options they provide you with. It is important that you look for the bank that best suites you and that you open the account in person. When you get there make sure that you bring things like: home address, home telephone number, unexpired passport, DS-2019, passport, birth certificate, and state driver’s license if you have one.
  1. Utilities
Once you have taken care of the most important things, you will need to figure out the utilities of your home. That includes internet service, and your phone provider. You should shop around for the best deal for various utilities and the best service that you can get price/value. You will need a phone in the states, and there are great all-inclusive deals that you can get so that you don’t have to worry about going to different companies. Don't worry we will help you as much as you can before your departure to the States and we will provide you with as much information as we can so that you take care of all the important things upon arrival when you join our Job+J1  program.
Probably one of the biggest challenges you will face when moving to the States is finding affordable housing.  Just remember that is not impossible! When an offer has been extended to you, you can always ask the host company on suggestions for places to live. In the past, many of our program participants have asked the host company directly for some help and they’ve always been of great assistance on the best areas/neighborhoods to live in, transportation, etc. You also have the option of getting in touch with an agency to help you look for a place. We will add you to the Architect-US participants chat so the rest of the community can give you some advice on housing as well. You can also take a look at some of our other blogs topics which give you suggestions on this matter and helpful information on things like transportation, safety, and other matters that you have to take into consideration. So that you can begin your search for housing, we’ve put together a list with the best platforms for you to use: 1. Apartments.com A simple apartment search engine for you to use. It is one of the forerunners and provides you with great search filters that will help you narrow down your search. It also shows you all of the listings on a map which will help you choose the location visually. With the filters you can decide the type of housing you are looking for, bed and baths, pet eligibility, and other community amenities. 2. Homes.com This website is usually used by buyers mostly but it will definitely include some listings that are worth taking a look at, and also ones that may not be listed in the other search engines as well. You can narrow your search by using filters such as price, size, year built, and building type. 3. Craigslist This is a great website to use but one that you have to use carefully as well. Craigslist listings are usually used by “smaller” landlords as a platform to rent/sell the home/apartment for a reasonable price. It has been used for a long time and it is a great application for you to check out. What is important is that you avoid scams. If you see listings that are way too cheap, or they ask for money in advance, or once you have emailed the owner they cannot meet in person at all, it is most likely a scam and a way for them to take money from you. 4. Zillow Zillow is also one of the best apartment search sites because of its interactive navigation. You’ll be able to use a map to draw around the area that you want to search in. That way you can select a specific area of the city or neighborhood that you want to live in, giving you complete control. You can also use on of the features which allows you to receive alerts when a new home becomes available that fits your price range and size requirements. With it’s Zestimate tool, the platform will also find an estimate on the possible cost for rent for the area that you have chosen. 5. Trulia Trulia is another of the well know search engines for apartment and housing listings all over the States. One that you will want to check out as well. It has a nice layout and will let you explore the neighborhoods and provide you with the cost ranges for each. 6. Airbnb Commonly used as a tool when traveling, it can also be used to find short term housing solutions. So, if you would like to get to the States first before making a final decision on where to live in, you can always use this as an option for you to stay in the meanwhile. Some of the people that have their apartments listed in Airbnb for rent can be contacted for you to find if there are any possibilities to stay for longer periods of time. So, it is definitely a great platform for you to use and consider when you are moving to the States. This are all great search engines for you to use in your apartment hunt. Just make sure that you take into consideration factors such as safety, price, convenience in transportation to the office and the distance from it. All of these things are important, specially in bigger cities in the U.S.

The process to receive the J1 Visa through Architect-US only takes 30 days from the moment we have all the required documents from both you and the Host Company. In this timeline are included all the necessary steps to starting your  Internship / Training Program in the USA - documentation validation, official documents issuance, Embassy appointment and getting the passport back stamped, as well as usually travel (depending on the J1 holder's plan). Architect-US guides you every step of the way to receive the J1 Visa.

In accordance with the official J1 Exchange Visitor Regulations, you are not permitted to enter the USA more than 14 days before your Program's official start date (as stated in your DS-2019).
J1 Visa holders must exit the U.S. within 30 days of the completion of their J1 Exchange Visitor Program. It is not recommended to travel outside of US (including Mexico and Canada) during this 30-day Grace Period as re-entry might not be granted (read more about it HERE).
Even though the Intern / Trainee can apply at the U.S. Embassy from any country in the world, it is usually recommended that the participant applies in their country of permanent residence because that is where they can show the strongest ties to the country and non-immigrant intent. So far Architect-US has not had a case of J1 Visa denial but it's always best to do everything as best as possible.