Arriving in the U.S.

International Services Office

You may enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to your program start date in the case of the F-1 and J-1 visa holder. In the case of the H-1B, O-1 or TN visa holder, you may enter no earlier than 10 days prior to your start date. Although you may enter the U.S. early, you may not begin work at Scripps Research until your official start date and after you have checked in with the ISO. Please note the start date on your documents and plan your travel accordingly. 

You must carry the original visa documents and your passport with valid visa stamp on your person. Do not pack these items in your checked luggage. Be prepared to present the following documents to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer:

  1. Original immigration document (DS-2019, I-20, I-797 approval notice)
  2. Valid passport with visa stamp
  3. Scripps Research offer letter
  4. SEVIS fee payment receipt ( F-1 and J-1 visa holders only)
  5. Financial documentation (if not paid by Scripps Research)


It is important that you specifically ask to be admitted into the U.S. in the appropriate visa status when you speak to a CBP officer. Be sure to present to them your original visa documents (DS-2019, I-20, I-797 approval notice) and open your passport to the page that has the new visa stamp. Prior to leaving the CBP inspection area, check your passport and make sure it has been stamped properly.

This is what to expect when you enter the U.S.:

  1. You will wait in line to show your passport to a CBP officer. You will not have a chance to get your luggage before this, so you will need to have your original documents in your carry-on luggage.
  2. Enter the line for non-U.S. citizens to be seen by a CBP officer. This is where you will show your visa and passport.
  3. The CBP Officer will ask you some questions such as, “Where are you going? What will you be doing there? What do you plan to do when you are done with your research?”
  4. It is also possible in some cases that the officer will ask you to unlock your electronic devices (cell phone, iPad, etc.) and show him or her your Facebook page or other social media.
  5. At some airports, the line can take an hour or more. Consider a stop at the restroom before getting in line. Once you have cleared CBP, you will go to another room to collect your luggage.
  6. With your luggage, get in another line to pass through another checkpoint. The second checkpoint relates to the items that you are bringing with you into the U.S.. For a list of items that are prohibited, please see the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.
  7. Once you pass through the second inspection point with your luggage in hand, you can proceed to your connecting flight. When you exit from the second checkpoint, there is a place for you to re-check your baggage with the airlines if you are boarding a connecting flight.

After you have entered the U.S., you should review your I-94 “arrival record.” Click on the link “Get Your I-94 Admission Number” and enter your personal information. You can only access this record after you have entered the U.S.

Report Your Arrival to the ISO

Upon your arrival at Scripps Research, you are required to check in at the ISO to complete the employment eligibility process.

  • In La Jolla, prior to your arrival, a check-in appointment will be scheduled directly with you by the ISO.
  • In Jupiter, you will meet your ISO advisor during the New Employee Orientation that is scheduled for you by the Human Resources Office.

You cannot apply for a social security number or driver's license, be placed on the Scripps Research payroll, receive Scripps Research benefits or begin in the laboratory until your immigration documents have been verified and you have completed the check-in process. Please bring all of your original visa documents for you and your dependents with you to the ISO, including passport, DS-2019/I-20/I-797 approval notice and I-94 arrival record. You must also be able to provide a local address, even if it is temporary when you check in.