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Pre-Arrival Checklist

  1. Obtain J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa
  2. SEVIS Fee
  3. Immigration Documents
  4. Arrival Notification Requirement
  5. Health Insurance
  6. Housing
  7. Things to bring with you
  8. Travel and Arrival Tips for Columbus campus
  9. Travel and Arrival Tips for OARDC

Obtain J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa

Applications for J-1 Visas require:

  • Valid unexpired passport (valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay)
  • Form DS-2019
  • SEVIS fee receipt
  • Evidence of financial support
  • Visa fee
  • Passport-size photograph
  • Additional forms and/or documents as required by the consulate at which you will apply

Additional information about applying for a visa is available at the Department of State website. And read 10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Nonimmigrant Visa for more helpful tips.

Note: Canadian citizens are exempt from the J-1 visa stamp requirement.

SEVIS Fee

What is the SEVIS Fee?

The SEVIS fee, implemented by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is a fee intended to defray costs associated with the administration of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). This rule took effect on September 1, 2004. The current fee for exchange visitos (J-1) is $180.

Who Must Pay the SEVIS Fee?

You are required to complete the I-901 form and pay the fee before making an appointment at the U.S. consulate, applying for a change of status or entering the U.S. This requirement applies to:

  • Individuals applying for a J-1 visa stamp at a U.S. consulate;
  • Canadians who are exempt from the visa requirement;
  • Individuals currently in the U.S. applying for a change of status to J-1;
  • Individuals who are transferring from a U.S. federal government sponsored J-1 program (e.g. Fulbright).

How Do I Pay the Required Fee?

Go to FMJfee.com for instructions on the I-901 form and paying the $180 fee for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Choose one of the following three methods to submit the I-901 form and pay the fee:

  1. Via the internet — this is the quickest and easiest method, but is not available in all countries. Visit FMJfee.com to complete and submit the I-901 form and pay the fee using a credit or debit card.
  2. VIa Western Union Quick Pay — go to a Western Union Quick Pay location. Western Union will collect the data needed for the I-901 form and the fee in local currency and transmit both electronically to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). First, read the instructions on the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) website. Then print out a copy of the instructions and the sample of the completed Western Union form from the website and bring those two items, along with a copy of your DS-2019, to a Western Union Agent location.
  3. Via mail — print the I-901 form, complete it and mail it, along with a check or money order drawn on a U.S. bank payable in U.S. currency to "I-901 Student/Exchange Visitor Processing Fee." The PDF of the I-901 form includes instructions for paying the fee by mail. Remember that when you provide a check as your method of payment, you are authorizing ICE or its financial representatives to use information from your check to make a one-time electronic transfer from your bank.

Note: If you are having difficulty paying the I-901 fee, another person ot a university may pay the fee on your behalf and mail the receipt to you. Visit FMJfee.com, click on "More Information" and click on "How can someone else pay the fee for me?"

Additional information on SEVIS I-901 Fee can be found in our Frequently Asked Questions.

Immigration Documents

DS-2019, also called "Certificate of Eligibility," is required to obtain a J-1 visa at the U.S. consulate and is used to enter the U.S. It indicates your length of stay in the U.S. on your J-1 program, authorizes you to participate in The Ohio State University J-1 Exchange Visitor program and is used for travel outside, and reentry to, the U.S. Scholars should keep all copies of DS-2019s issued to them.

Form I-94 is a small white card usually stapled inside your passport upon entry into the U.S. This card is also referred to as the arrival/departure card since it is used to record your arrival into and departure from the U.S. It shows your arrival date into the U.S., the port of entry and your immigration status as a J-1 visa holder. In addition, it shows the date by which you must depart the U.S., which should be reflected by the letters D/S. D/S stands for "Duration of Status" and your duration of legal status in the U.S. is indicated by the expiration date of your Form DS-2019.

Visa is the stamp that a U.S embassy or consulate affixes to the passport to indicate the kind of nonimmigrant status that a person is seeking. The only time you are required to have a valid visa is when you enter the U.S.

Passport is an internationally recognized travel document that verifies the identity and nationality of the bearer. Your passport should be valid at least six months into the future.

Arrival Notification Requirement

THe United States government rules allow a limited time to enter the U.S. based on the start date of your DS-2019 form. You must report in person to Ohio State after you arrive. You can enter up to 30 days before and no more than 20 days after the start date listed on your DS-2019 form.

Notify your host department immediately if there will be a delay in beginning your J-1 program more than 20 days after the start date of your DS-2019 form. Your host department will contact the Office of International Affairs to update your immigration document and SEVIS record. Failure to update your SEVIS record will result in denial of the visa stamp or entry into the U.S. 

To complete the government reporting requirement, you must attend the Office of International Affairs' check-in and orientation. Office of International Affairs scholar advisors review your immigration documents, collect your residential U.S. address and health insurance coverage information and provide orientation. Register for check-in and orientation online.

Note: If you will be located at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster, Ohio, schedule your check-in and orientation with Jane Douglas at the Office of Human Resources by email or phone at (330) 263-3608.

Health Insurance

The U.S. government requires all J-1 scholars and their J-2 dependents to have health insurance coverage that meets certain minimum requirements throughout their entire stay in the U.S. If you will be using the Gallagher Plan, you should apply online for this insurance ahead of time to begin on the day of your arrival in the U.S.

For detailed information regarding insurance, please see the Required Health Insurance section of our website.

Housing

There are many housing options in the Columbus area, including a wide variety of rooms, apartments and homes offered from both commercial companies and local landlords. There is also an option of "sub-letting" a place where you can rent someone's room/home for a set period of time while they are away. This option might be the best if you are only coming for a short period of time and do not want to sign a lease. Below are a few options to help you find a place close to campus, along with websites to explore a wide variety of other options. Please note that this list is not comprehensive and that the listed prices can fluctuate. Prices may or may not include utilities, furniture or more than one bedroom.

Short-Term Housing

Fairfield Inn & Suites
3031 Olentangy River Road
614-267-1111
marriott.com/hotels/travel/cmhsu-fairfield-inn-and-suites-columbus-osu/
Suites available with refrigerator and microwave, $104 per night (ask for Ohio State rate)

Homewood Suites by Hilton - OSU
1576 West Lane Avenue
614-488-1500
ColumbusOSU.homewoodsuites.com

Jamie Cerrienne (Private Landlord)
32 Buttles Avenue
614-596-2296
Boarding house available for minimum one week leases, furnished, internet and utilities included, coin operated washer and dryer, no deposit required, one and a half bathrooms, common kitchen, living room, $85 - $95 per week

Meridian
1401 Aschinger Blvd
614-291-0027
themeridian-apts.com
No roommate matching service, unfurnished, six month lease

The Ohio State University Office of Housing Services
614-292-8266
Matt Gaul
South Campus Gateway, one bedroom apartments, furnished, utilities included, minimum one month lease, free parking included in lot near building, $1,060 – 1,120 per month

The Ohio State University Office of Student Life
614-292-0100
offcampus.osu.edu
Provides a list of local landlords looking to rent their places for a short period of time

The Ohio Stater
2060 North High Street
614-294-5381
ohio-stater.com
Three months minimum lease, $655 – $895 per month

Pella on 15th Avenue
614-291-2002
Boarding house available for minimum three month leases for women only, unfurnished, some furniture available, $425 per month including utilities

Ravine Ridge Apartments, LLC (Owners: Bruce and Lisa Bernard)
2011 and 2013 Summit Street, also on Luka Avenue
614-299-2280
ravineridgeapts.com
There are 48 units available with a variety of options, from one to four bedroom places, roommate matching services, furnished, minimum lease of one semester, no pets, utilities included in some rentals, $375 - $810 per person

Sandy Bolzenius (Private Landlord)
88 W. Blake Avenue
offcampus.osu.edu/search-housing.aspx?property=10215&pricefrom=0&shortterm=1
614-843-6170
Fully furnished, no car needed, flexible leases. $550/month plus utilities.

SpringHill Suites Columbus/OSU
1421 Olentangy River Road
614-297-9912
SpringHillSuitesOSU.com
OSU rate offered - .5 mile from campus
Complimentary shuttle

The Thistle Stop
196 East Frambes Avenue
614-299-5189 or 614-309-1794
Boarding house available for minimum one month lease, furnished, cooking supplies, dishes and linens, two shared kitchens, two and a half bathrooms, living room, porch, deck, off-street parking, co-operative living with household chores, internet and utilities included, $325 - $356 per month

University Village
505 Harley Drive
614-261-1211
universityvillage.com
No roommate matching services, unfurnished, five, six, nine and 12 month leases are available, $475 - $880 per month

Village West Apartments
884 Thurber Drive West
614-469-9267
villagewestaptsoh.com
Minimum six month lease, no matching service, unfurnished, $769 - $995 per month

ZCI Consulting, LLC (Proprietor: Ann Lavelle Kozliner)
The Admiral Barrett House
1217 Neil Avenue
House: 614-291-1776, Mobile: 614-207-7003
Rooms available for minimum one week rental, furnished, laundry room available, huge back yard and front porch, 6 fireplaces and 5 original Tiffany stained glass, weekly “Family Dinners,” rent from $400 a week (utilities included) to $800-$1,075/month (utilities not included) per room.

For more information about housing, including places to stay when you first arrive in Columbus, please see our temporary housing information.

Cathy Beatty (Private Live-in Landlord)
146 East Lakeview Avenue, Columbus, OH 43202
beatty.22@osu.edu
Two bedrooms available in landlord’s private home for six to twelve month leases, furnished, utilities included, must be pet friendly (pet dogs present), rent $350/month

Carol Miracle (Private Landlord)
1007 Kenway Court
614-207-7212
cmiracle@aol.com
Private home with master bedroom available for rent in a non-smoking household, leases available for one month or longer, furnished, utilities included, $600 per month (no overnight guests allowed)

Long Term Housing

Alexandria Colony
784 Thurber Drive West
614-372-8136
apartmentguide.com/apartments/Ohio/Columbus/Alexandria-Colony/19129
Twelve month lease, no roommate matching service, unfurnished, two to three bedrooms, $790 - $1,000 per month

Harrison Apartments
222 West Lane Avenue
614-294-5551
harrisonapartments.com
Twelve month lease, roommate matching, furnished, $776 - $1,070 per month

Heritage Apartments
1361 Presidential Drive
877-321-6477
villagegreen.com/columbus/heritage
Twelve month lease, no roommate matching service, furnished or unfurnished, $470 - $1,295 per month

Homewood Suites by Hilton - OSU
1576 West Lane Avenue
614-488-1500
ColumbusOSU.homewoodsuites.com

Innova International Guest House
Columbus, OH (close to Ohio State, north of campus)
Two bedrooms ($450 with utilities) and a studio apartment ($800 with utilities) are available in fully furnished residential home with central heating/AC; includes two-car garage and two-car on-property parking
robertleeerickson@gmail.com
www.facebook.com/bob.erickson.754
614-424-6203 (cell/text/WhatsApp)

Keller Williams Consultants Realty
174 East Maynard Avenue
614-300-2900
Twelve month lease minimum, four bedrooms, one bathroom, no roommate matching service, unfurnished, $1,550 per month (utilities not included)

Meridian
1401 Aschinger Blvd
614-291-0027
themeridian-apts.com
No roommate matching service, unfurnished, six month lease

New Yorker
787 Thurber Drive East #C
877-418-1587
apartmentfinder.com/Ohio/Columbus-Apartments/New-Yorker-Apartments
Twelve month lease, no roommate matching service, unfurnished, $750 per month and up

Ohio State Housing
614-292-8266
An apartment or room in the graduate dormitory may sometimes be available for faculty and visiting scholars, hosting department should make arrangements

Olentangy Commons
4765 Blairfield Drive
614-451-6512
olentangycommons.com
$640 - $1,449 per month

Olentangy Village
2907 North High Street
614-261-0202
olentangyvillage.com
Twelve month lease, no roommate matching service, unfurnished, furniture rental available. $460 – $1,699 per month

Ravine Ridge Apartments, LLC (Owners: Bruce and Lisa Bernard)
2011 and 2013 Summit Street, also on Luka Avenue
614-299-2280
ravineridgeapts.com
There are 48 units available with a variety of options, from one to four bedroom places, roommate matching services, furnished, minimum lease of one semester, no pets, utilities included in some rentals, $375 - $810 per person

StarKing Apartments
1580 King Avenue #201
614-486-7755
metro-rentals.com/MMC/
$399 - $800 per month

Sandy Bolzenius
Northwest Campus
offcampus.osu.edu/search-housing.aspx?pricefrom=0&landlord=3649ffcampus.osu.edu/bolzenius
614-843-6170
Ten minute walk to campus, fully furnished, flexible leases, $550/month + utilities.

Thurber Gate
684 Thurber Drive West
877-686-9643
apartmentfinder.com/Ohio/Columbus-Apartments/Thurber-Gate-Thurber-Square-Apartments
Seven to nine month leases, no roommate matching services, unfurnished, $650 - $995 per month

Tivoli Apartments
412 Thurber Drive West
614-221-8161
mgicommunities.com/contact_profile.asp?AID=14413
Twelve month lease, no roommate matching service, unfurnished, $660 - $774 per month

University Village
505 Harley Drive
614-261-1211
universityvillage.com
No roommate matching services, unfurnished, three, six, nine and 12 month leases are available, $475 - $880 per month

Village West Apartments
884 Thurber Drive West
614-469-9267
villagewestaptsoh.com
Minimum six month lease, no matching service, unfurnished, $769 - $995 per month

ZCI Consulting, LLC (Proprietor: Ann Lavelle Kozliner)
The Admiral Barrett House
1217 Neil Avenue
House: 614-291-1776, Mobile: 614-207-7003
Rooms available for minimum one week rental, furnished, laundry room available, huge back yard and front porch, 6 fireplaces and 5 original Tiffany stained glass, weekly “Family Dinners”, rent from $400 a week (utilities included) to $800-$1,075/month (utilities not included) per room.

Carol Zamonski (Private Landlord)
2386 Adams Ave
614-447-2084
doro@copper.net
Private home with individual rooms available for women only for one semester or year-long leases, is a non-smoking quiet household, furnished, utilities included, $325 - $375 per month

For more information about housing, including helpful tips, please see our permanent housing information.

Other Housing Resources

 

Things to bring with you

Immigration and Travel Documents

  • Passport, valid at least six months into the future
  • Valid J-1 visa — this visa is obtained through the U.S. embassy or consulate nearest to you
  • Immigration Document — Form DS-2019

Money

  • Amount brought with you should be enough to cover at least one month's expenses, plus payments for any purchases such as a car, cellular (mobile) phone, etc.
  • Types of currency to carry may include:
    • Wire transfer
    • Traveler's checks
    • If available, a credit card accepted in the U.S.

Important Numbers and Addresses

  • Home Country address and phone numbers to call in case of emergency
  • U.S. address and/or phone number of contact within the U.S., if available
  • Host department phone number and address

Other Important Documents (with official English translation)

  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Educational credentials
  • Health documentation

Travel and Arrival Tips for Columbus campus

  1. Use your original DS-2019 (not a copy) when applying for the U.S. visa stamp and at the U.S. port of entry.
  2. Have your passport, DS-2019 and financial support documents ready to show at the U.S. port of entry.
  3. Taxis are available from the Columbus Airport to Ohio State. The fare will be approximately $20 - $25. It is advisable to tip the driver 10 - 15% of the dare.
  4. Nationality clubs or organizations at Ohio State may be able to assist you with airport pick-up and arrival information. Find listings and contact information in the student organization directory on the Ohio Union website.
  5. There are a number of hotels located close to Ohio State (ask if they offer a special rate for Ohio State):
  6. For more information on permanent housing, please visit Permanent housing.
  7. Information about Columbus events, hotels, restaurants, shopping and more can be found at the Columbus Visitor's Bureau website.
  8. Directions to campus, as well as campus maps, a building index, parking, history and more can be found in the Visitors section of the Ohio State website.

Travel and Arrival Tips for OARDC

  1. The airports closest to OARDC are located in the following cities in Ohio:
  2. There are a number of hotels located close to Ohio State (ask if they offer a special rate for Ohio State):
    • Hilton Garden Inn
      959 Dover Road
      Wooster, OH 44691
      330-202-7701
    • Best Western Hotel
      243 East Liberty
      Wooster, OH 44691
      330-264-7750

  3. The OARDC Scholars Association may be able to provide assistance after arrival.
  4. Permanent housing information is available both for staying on-campus at OARDC and off-campus as well.
  5. The Wooster Transit Service, a bus service in Wooster, is free with a university identification card (called a BuckID).
  6. Information about the city of Wooster, events, hotels, restaurants, shopping and more can be found on the Wooster Area Chamber of Commerce website and the Wayne County Convention and Visitor's Bureau website.
  7. You can find information such as campus maps, a building index, history and more on the OARDC website.