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Pre-arrival Information

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Cost of Living & Housing

Cost of living in Texas depends largely on the city and neighborhood. A good starting point to figure out how much money you will need to live in Texas can be found in this cost of living interactive map of Texas.

RentCafe estimates the following for 2019 monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment. On-campus housing may be significantly cheaper, as is rent in most smaller cities. Be sure to check with your inviting faculty member or campus contact person to see if student housing is available and to seek assistance finding housing.

RentCafe estimates the following for 2019 monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment. On-campus housing may be significantly cheaper, as is rent in most smaller cities. Be sure to check with your inviting faculty member or campus contact person to see if student housing is available and to seek assistance finding housing.

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Pre-departure checklist

  • Make travel plans to allow sufficient time to familiarize yourself with your host university. J-1 exchange visitors may arrive up to 30 days before the program start date listed on the DS-2019.

  • Weather in Texas can be extreme! We have an average of 300 sunny days per year, and summer temps can be intense! But we do have freezing temperatures on occasion, especially in January and February. Pack a variety of clothing for all seasons, including a warm overcoat and summer attire.

  • Consider bringing your traditional or national costume to wear for cultural events.

  • Exchange some currency to US Dollars either before leaving or at the airport. A mix of $5, $10, & $20 bills will be helpful.

  • Check with your university for help with housing arrangements.

  • Collect and organize immigration documents and put in your carry-on (hand) luggage. You will need to carry the following documents with you:

    • Valid Passport with J Visa

    • DS-2019

    • Health and/or travel insurance

    • T/IPP (Student interns only)

  • Determine transportation from airport to the university or your housing. Most airports have taxis, shuttles, and ride-share services like Uber or Lyft available.

  • Ensure you have all required immunizations or arrange to get them. Your university can tell you what (if any) immunizations they require.

  • Bring all prescription medicines and copies of prescriptions you will need during your stay.

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Since 1990, the Texas International Education Consortium (TIEC) has sponsored Exchange Visitors and their dependents on J- Visas for study, work, and research at higher education host institutions throughout Texas and beyond.

The Exchange Visitor Program fosters global understanding through educational and cultural exchanges.  All exchange visitors are expected to return to their home country upon completion of their program in order to share their exchange experiences.

The J-Visa Exchange Visitor Program consists of several principal parties:

  • The Department of State (DOS)

    • Issues J visas, designates exchange visitor program sponsors, and creates and administers regulations and policies governing the Exchange Visitor Program.

  • Exchange visitor program sponsor (TIEC)

    • Serves as exchange visitor program sponsor for our member universities.

  • Responsible Officers (ROs)/Alternate Responsible Officers (AROs) (TIEC employees)

    • Represent TIEC, create and manage SEVIS records.

  • TIEC Campus Representatives

    • Apply for EVs through their university, orient and assist EVs before and during exchange.

  • Exchange visitors (EVs)

    • Participate in exchanges.

  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

    • manage SEVIS, admit EVs to the United States.

  • SEVIS Help Desk

    • Assists ROs and AROs in correcting SEVIS issues.

 

Don’t miss these visa interview tips from TIEC’s President and CEO Robin J. Lerner:

 
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Health Insurance

Medical insurance is a requirement for all EVs. Acceptable insurance policies must include the following coverage.

REQUIRED MINIMUM INSURANCE COVERAGE

  • Major Medical Coverage.....................................................................$100,000

  • Medical Evacuation....................................................................$50,000

  • Repatriation of Remains....................................................................... $25,000

  • Maximum Deductible per Accident/illness........................................... $500

MINIMUM POLICY RATING (Must Comply With One)

A.M. Best rating of “A-” or above;

Insurance Solvency International Ltd., rating of “A-”

Standard and Poor’s rating of “A-” or above

Weiss Research, Inc. rating of “B+” or above

**All policies must fully comply with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act**

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What will life be like in America?

Of course everyone’s experience will be unique, but we have compiled some resources for you to get an idea of what to expect from your experience.

  • Read about a wide variety of exchange visitor experiences

  • Upon arrival at your university, check in with the person identified as TIEC’s Campus Representative, whose name is found on the letter you will receive with your DS-2019.

  • There you will be oriented to your new campus and they will collect important information and copies of your documents which they will forward to us to validate your program participation.

Texas Resources