Arrival Checklist for Short Term Participants

Will you be in the U.S. for less than 4 months? Are you traveling directly to the training site and not attending an orientation? Then this checklist is for you!

(If you will be attending an orientation, you can view your checklist here.)

Jump to: 

Complete BEFORE Arrival in the U.S.
What to Expect When Arriving into the United States
Complete AFTER Arrival in the U.S.
What to Expect from MAST

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. If you have questions about which airport to arrive at, ask your host trainer. Trainees or Interns may enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the DS-2019 start date, but are not allowed to begin training before that date.

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:

What to Expect When Arriving Into the U.S.

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:

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. 

Complete AFTER Arrival in the U.S. 

Within 1 business day:

    • Call or email MAST International at 1-800-346-6278 or This must be done before going to the Social Security office.

Within 3 business days:

    • Obtain I-94 Admission Record Number online (instructions here)

Within 1 week:

    • Submit the Address Reporting Form ( Submitting your living address in the U.S. is necessary to complete your visa record with the U.S. government. This must be done within 10 days after your arrival or your visa will be cancelled. You must also provide a valid address so that MAST can communicate program information and updates to you.
    • Review the Discussion Paper with your host trainer. This is an opportunity to ask questions and discuss your goals.

Within the first month:

    • Apply for a Social Security Number (instructions here)

What to Expect from MAST

When you call us after your arrival, we will validate you in the SEVIS government system, which confirms that you can work in the United States and allows you to apply for a social security number.

After we know that you are here, we will send you a Participant Notebook, t-shirt, and information about health insurance, billing, and other necessary documents.

If you ever have questions or concerns, please let us know. We are here to help!

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