Arriving in the US and at WPI
Once you have obtained your visa and made your travel plans, you should prepare for the actual entry to the US.
When entering the US, you will be dealing with the Customs and Border Protection Officers at the airport. You will need your passport, your visa documents (Form DS-2019 or Form I-797), and your appointment letter from WPI. If you have another visa in your passport,make sure the CBP Officer admits you to the US in the correct status with the correct visa. International visitors often like to bring food from their home country ether for their own consumption or as gifts. The US has very strict rules about what types of food you can bring to the US. If you plan on packing any food, make sure you review the rules on the CBP website.
Be sure to schedule your travel so you can arrive in the US and Worcester before your appointment starts. You might need to search for housing, open a bank account, and apply for a Social Security Number etc.
Upon arrival in Worcester, it is important that you set up an appointment with Tom H Thomsen, the Director of International Faculty and Scholar Services. At this initial meeting, we will go over the various tasks you have to complete to get started at WPI. If required, we will complete the SEVIS registration (J-1 visa holders only).
If for some reason you are not able to arrive at WPI by the start date of your appointment, it is very important that you keep both your department and the Office of International Faculty and Scholar Services informed about your delayed arrival.
I-94 Form. After each entry to the US, you need to go on line and print your Form I-94 which is the document showing your lawful record of admission. For J-1 visa holders, the I-94 will not have a specific date for the duration of admission; instead it will have the notation D/S. D/S stands for duration of status and your admission in that case is valid as long as you maintain the J status and have a valid form DS-2019. For others such as H-1B, B-1, TN, the I-94 will have a specific date listed. To access your I-94 form go to: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home
The climate will vary depending on the time of the year you arrive.Summers are often warm and humid, with average temperatures ranging from 60°F (15°C) to 80° (26°C) in June, July, and August. Spring (April through June) and fall (September through November) are very enjoyable, particularly in the fall when the tree leaves change color. For some, the winter months are more challenging. Worcester will often have snow during the months of December, January, and February with average temperatures between 20°F (-6°C) and 30°F (-1°C). It is best to bring or budget for clothes that will make you most comfortable in these various types of weather. If you are arriving in summer or early fall, you can buy winter clothes when you arrive, but if you are arriving in winter you should make arrangements to have warmer clothes (coat, scarf, hat, gloves, boots, sweaters) for when you arrive.