Arrival Checklist for Orientation Participants

Will you be in the United States for more than 4 months? Are you attending an orientation in Minneapolis/Saint Paul before traveling to the training site? Then this checklist is for you!

(If you are a short-term participant, you can find your checklist here.)


Jump to: 

Complete BEFORE Arrival in the U.S.
When You Arrive: Entering the United States
When You Arrive: MSP Airport
When You Arrive: Orientation


Complete BEFORE Arrival in the U.S. 

1) Apply for your visa. Information about this process can be found here

After you receive your visa: 

2) Purchase airline tickets

    • Look at your Placement Information sheet to see your scheduled arrival date and location. Trainees or Interns may enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the DS-2019 start date. Plan to arrive in Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP) on Saturday or Sunday before the orientation, as listed on your Placement Information sheet. MAST International will cover your hotel expenses for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday nights. If you arrive on Saturday, you will pay part of the hotel costs for Saturday night ($25).
    • A MAST representative or Twin Cities host family will try to pick you up at the airport if you arrive between 8:00 am and 10:00 pm on Saturday or Sunday. If you arrive outside of these times, you will need to find your own transportation to the hotel.
    • Check in time at the hotel is 3:00 pm. If you arrive before 3:00 pm, you may have to wait a few hours in the hotel lobby before getting into your room.
    • If you arrive earlier or depart later than the scheduled orientation dates, you will be responsible for the lodging costs and should expect to pay at least $90/night.

3) Obtain an International Driving Permit

    • To drive in the United States, you must have a valid driver’s license. It is very helpful to have an International Driving Permit (IDP), which translates the information contained in your license. The IDP must be obtained outside the U.S. MAST strongly recommends you obtain an International Driving Permit.

4) Complete and return the following to: mast@umn.edu


When You Arrive: Entering the United States

When going to the airport, remember to carry all of your documents with you (not in your checked bag!). Label all your luggage with your name, email address, and a phone number that will work in the U.S. Don’t pack any fresh foods, including meat or fruit, in your bags. You can read more about bringing food into the U.S. here: https://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/agricultural-items

When you enter the U.S., you will be required to fill out a Customs Declaration form. You may fill out a paper form on the airplane, or you may fill out the form electronically on a kiosk in the international arrivals area. You will need to declare items such as alcohol, cigarettes, food and agricultural items, and large amounts of cash. If you do not declare a required item (such as meat, fruit, or bread), you may have to pay a fine.

 Tips for the Customs Declaration form:

    • Print in CAPITAL letters on the paper form
    • Print your FAMILY name (surname) exactly as it appears on the visa in your passport.
    • Write your host trainer's address (found on your DS-7002)
    • Mark “Yes” if you brought food items or have recently been on a farm

When you land, you will proceed to the terminal area for arriving passengers for inspection. Have these documents ready to present to the Customs and Border Protection Officer: 

    • Passport
    • Form DS-2019
    • Customs Declaration Form (if you filled out a paper form on the plane)

The officer will inspect your documents and ask a few questions. They may also require you to provide your biometrics (digital finger scans and photograph) to verify your identity. Your passport will then be stamped with the date of your arrival into the U.S.

If you enter the U.S. at an airport other than your final destination, make sure your luggage is transferred to your next flight. Look for the “Transfer” area after you speak with the customs officer. 


When You Arrive: MSP Airport

If you sent your arrival information in advance, a MAST representative or Twin Cities Host Family will meet you at the MSP airport in the baggage claim area if you are arriving between 8:00 am and 10:00 pm. If your flight has been delayed or your arrival time has changed while you are traveling, contact the MAST orientation cell phone: 612-205-3574. You can also contact us through WhatsApp. When you arrive, go to the baggage claim for your flight and look for someone holding a sign with your name or “MAST” written on it.

If you do not see anyone to pick you up, you should:

  1. Find your luggage at the baggage claim area.  If you do not have any checked bags, you should still go to the baggage claim carousel for your flight.
  2. Call the MAST orientation cell phone: 612-205-3574. You may also email mast@umn.edu or contact us through WhatsApp. If you need to log onto the airport wifi, select the “MSP Free Wi-Fi” network and follow the prompts to log in. If you are struggling to log in, go to airportwifi.com/MSP.
  3. If you need help, go to the Traveler Information Desk.
  4. Wait at least 30 minutes and listen for any paging messages over the intercoms.
  5. If you are unable to connect with a MAST representative, go to the Days Hotel (2407 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414) and tell them you are with MAST. Leave a message on the MAST cell phone letting us know you are at the hotel.  An airport taxi service can take you to the hotel. The cost is $35-$50. If you are arriving very early in the morning or very late at night, a taxi is recommended. 

When You Arrive: Orientation

While you are in Minneapolis/Saint Paul for orientation, you will either stay at a hotel or with a local host family.

Orientation will take place on Monday and Tuesday. After orientation, you will either be picked up in St. Paul by your host trainer or MAST will assist you in traveling to your training site. If you are thinking of purchasing your own ongoing travel, contact MAST before purchasing. For trainees and interns who are not met in St. Paul, we ask the host trainer to reimburse you up to $150 for travel to the placement site or purchase the ticket for you.

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