Obtaining a J-1 Visa
You will need a DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitors J-1 Status to apply for the J-1 visa. The DS-2019 form will be mailed to you with your acceptance letter from Clemson University. Effective September 1, 2004, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security implemented a SEVIS fee. The fee is USD $180 for J-1 visas and must be paid at least 3 days before applying for your visa. You will need the SEVIS ID number located on your DS-2019 and your passport to pay the fee. The SEVIS fee is a one-time payment for each non-immigrant program in which the exchange student participates and can be paid by mail or electronically. Please visit http://www.fmjfee.com for more information on the SEVIS fee as well as the online Form I-901. Please note that the SEVIS fee is non-refundable. Students who do not need a visa to study abroad in the United States should pay the SEVIS fee online at least 3 days before arrival.
U.S. Department of State regulations may require a personal interview for some visa applications. To apply for the J-1 visa, contact the closest U.S. embassy or consulate to inquire about the necessary documents and the estimated timeframe for your visa application. To find the closest U.S. embassy or consulate, visit http://usembassy.state.gov/. You should check the website of the embassy before your visa appointment to ensure that you have all of the documents that you need. Each embassy will have a complete list of required documents, and this may vary from embassy to embassy. You must provide proof of financial support during your visa interview. You must also indicate that you do not intend to become a U.S. immigrant by demonstrating strong ties to your home country that would increase your chances of returning. After meeting with the U.S. consulate, your visa will be stamped in your passport.
Please complete the following health form before your arrival in the United States:
Required Student Immunization Form
This form must be completed and submitted prior to your arrival to Clemson University. Please mail in or fax the forms as indicated. Failure to comply will prevent you from being able to enroll in courses. To ensure that all health requirements are met, bring a copy of your immunization record with you to Clemson University.
All international exchange students are required to have health insurance during their study at Clemson University. All J-1 visa holders and their J-2 dependents must maintain continuous coverage in accordance with U.S. federal law and Clemson University. Exchange students will automatically be enrolled in the Clemson Student Insurance Plan through Redfern Health Center (RHC). Health insurance charges will be billed with tuition and fees. Students who purchase insurance in their home country can apply to waive the Clemson insurance and, if approved, would not be charged the Clemson insurance premium. In order to waive Clemson University health insurance, the home country insurance must meet the requirements of the Clemson student insurance plan. Policy details can be found in the Health Insurance Information for International Students & Exchange Visitors letter.
Visit the Clemson University Health Insurance Waiver Information for International Students and Exchange Visitors for instructions and to submit the online waiver form. You can also view our Health Insurance Waiver Tutorial for step-by-step instructions on how to apply for a student health insurance waiver.
Please bring a copy of your insurance policy translated into English with you to Clemson if applying for the waiver.
The Clemson Student Insurance Plan meets all visa and university requirements while providing excellent benefits and services to exchange students. Please visit the Student Insurance Plan page for additional information.
Entering the United States
When traveling to the United States, remember that U.S. federal regulations allow international students entry to the United States no earlier than 30 days prior to the start date listed on your DS-2019.
Before leaving your country, confirm that your passport and visa are still valid for entry into the United States. Your passport should be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your expected stay.
When you travel, make sure that you carry some specific documents on your person. These include your passport (including attached envelope of immigration documents) with visa, DS-2019, evidence of financial resources, evidence of exchange visitor status (recent tuition receipts, transcripts), and the name and contact of the designated school official at your intended school or program. Do not check these in your baggage.
At the port of entry into the United States, you will receive the Form I-94. Make sure that you keep the I-94, your DS-2019, and your passport in a safe place as these documents establish your identity as a non-immigrant student in the United States.
There is limited public transportation into the city of Clemson. Arrange to fly into the Greenville/Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) in Greer, South Carolina. An airport shuttle service will transport you to Clemson University for approximately $45.00 USD cash. You can make arrangements by visiting http://clemsonshuttle.com or calling 1-864-226-9020. Reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance. If traveling from the Atlanta or Charlotte airports, you must provide at least 4 days notice.
For students traveling from Atlanta, Charlotte, or other metropolitan cities, you may consider taking the Amtrak train to Clemson. Further information can be found at http://www.amtrak.com.
New Exchange Student Orientation
You will receive information on the New Exchange Student Orientation via email before your arrival on campus. All exchange students are required to attend this orientation. Bring with you your passport, J-1 visa, I-94 card, stamped DS-2019, and a copy of your health insurance.
Exchange students for the Spring 2014 should plan to move into their on-campus housing on Sunday, January 5, 2014 and move out on Saturday, May 3, 2014. New Exchange Student Orientation will be Monday, January 6 and Tuesday, January 7, 2014. All exchange students should plan to attend! Classes at Clemson University will begin on Wednesday, January 8, 2014.