Pre-Arrival Information

Group of students gather on Aiken St. fields

Once the DS-2019 J-1 visa document is issued, the scholar and UMass Lowell faculty host will receive email correspondence containing information related to the visa issuance process. The scholar will receive the necessary information to schedule his/her visa interview, instructions on how to receive the original DS-2019 J-1 visa document and other pre-arrival information.

Scholars are encouraged to review our Pre-Arrival Guide for International Faculty and Researchers (pdf). There, they will find important information about the visa issuance process, housing resources, transportation options and much, much more.

For off-campus housing resources, please visit, UMass Lowell's official off-campus housing website. There you will find a map-based search tool with a variety of housing options, you can create and view roommates profiles, post and search for available sublets, and find other useful off-campus living information and resources.

Post-Arrival Information

Upon arrival to the US, you should plan to schedule a J-1 orientation with the ISSO advisor managing your case. This is a legal requirement which should be completed within the first week of your arrival to the US. Upon arrival to the US but before your J-1 orientation, you should complete the ISSO J-1 Arrival eForm. This online application will allow you to provide pertinent information and documentation that will help guide the J-1 orientation.

In advance of your meeting with an ISSO advisor, you should get in touch with your UMass Lowell departmental host. They can help get you settled in the department and in your work space, arrange a tour of the campus so that you are familiar with UMass Lowell, and assist you with obtaining your UMass Lowell ID card. Your departmental host can complete one of two forms, found on the UCAPS Forms webpage.

  • For non-benefitted, visiting researchers/faculty should complete the Vendor/Visitor/Volunteer Request for Services
  • For benefitted faculty/staff should complete the Request for Services for New Faculty/Staff

Present the appropriate form along with your UMass Lowell Invitation Letter when applying for the ID card. For more information, visit the UCAPS website. Please note, you will not be able to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) until you have met with an ISSO advisor, have and confirmed a US address with the ISSO, and have had your program validated by an ISSO advisor. This will be discussed further during your meeting with an ISSO advisor. Please complete the online check-in, detailed below, in preparation for your meeting with an ISSO advisor. We look forward to meeting with you and welcome any questions or concerns you have at that time.

After conducting the J-1 orientation, an ISSO advisor will “validate your program” with the US government, confirming that you are physically present in the US and are maintaining status. This MUST be done within 30 days of your J-1 program start date.

Please also review our Transportation Guide and Cultural Adjustment Guide, which may serve useful as a visitor new to the United States and the City of Lowell.

Obtaining a Social Security Number (SSN)

J-1 scholars are permitted, if not required, to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN). While unpaid scholars can choose to obtain one, scholars who are paid by UMass Lowell must obtain an SSN. To apply for an SSN, applicants can visit their closest Social Security Administration (SSA) Office during normal business hours with the following materials:

  1. A completed Social Security Application (pdf)
  2. Copy of his/her passport with J-1 visa stamp
  3. Copy of his/her I-94 record
  4. Copy of his/her DS-2019
  5. Copy of UML Invitation/Job Offer letter

The nearest SSA office is located at:

151 Warren Street, Suite 300
The Gateway, Building 11
Lowell, MA 01854

Telephone: 1-877-746-985

Hours: Monday - Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Please note: You should not apply for a SSN until your ISSO Advisor or HR Immigration & Compliance Specialist has conducted your J-1 Orientation and has validated your J-1 program with SEVIS, activating your J-1 status. Please consult your ISSO advisor or Patrick Trouve, HR Immigration & Compliance Specialist with any questions related to obtaining an SSN.