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J-1 Exchange Student: Arrival and Orientation

To feel comfortable in your new surroundings before the semester starts, all semester or year long exchange students should plan to arrive a day or two before the orientation, perhaps several days earlier if you will be searching for a place to live off-campus. Approximately one month prior to your arrval in the United States please complete and submit this arrival form with your arrival details.

For the Fall 2014 term, we will offer airport pick up at Chicago O'Hare (ORD) and Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport (MKE)  (tentative dates) Wednesday, August 20 and Tuesday, August 26. (hours to be determined) at the Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport (MKE), or Milwaukee train, Coach USA or Greyhound bus terminals, or Chicago O'Hare Airport.  There may be a fee for these services.   If you have questions about your arrival, please email Sue Conway at  


Entering the United States

On Arrival

The non-immigrant visa stamp in your passport allows you to apply to enter the United States in a specific immigration category (status). Your J-1 visa stamp notifies immigration officials at your point of entry into the U.S. that you wish to enter the U.S. in the J-1 Student category. If granted permission to come into the U.S. for the purpose of being a student, your DS-2019 will be returned to you, and may or may not be stamped by immigration.


I-94 Form

UPDATE - I-94 forms are now almost exclusively completed online!  Do not be alarmed if you don't have a white card in your passport.  


Duration of Status
On your arrival stamp (usually stamped near your Visa) there should be a notation which reads "D/S". This stands for Duration of Status. This means that as long as you follow the rules established for the J-1 student, you may remain in the United States legally.

Arrival and Getting to UWM

Whether you are traveling here alone or with fellow students, getting to the university is relatively easy. The Milwaukee airport is within twenty minutes driving time of downtown Milwaukee and thirty minutes driving time from the UWM campus. If you are arriving at Chicago O'Hare International airport with no connecting flight to Milwaukee, there is a direct bus service from O'Hare to Milwaukee offered by Coach USA.

Arrival/Pick-up Option
In order to welcome you to Milwaukee, UWM tries very hard to have someone meet you on arrival in Milwaukee or Chicago, there may be a charge for this service and it is only offered at specific times.  You will receive an email from Sue Conway letting you know when this service is available.  All exchange students should fill out the  Arrival Form even if they are not receiving our pick up service. Please complete and return this form to the CIE study abroad office by fax (1-414-229-4858) or e-mail ( at least one month before your arrival in Milwaukee. Again, you must return this form whether you are requesting to be met by someone or not.

We will offer Panther Pick Up airport pick up service on  (expected dates) Wednesday, August 20 and Tuesday, August 26. (hours to be determined) at the Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport (MKE), or Milwaukee train, Coach USA or Greyhound bus terminals, and at Chicago O'hare airport.   All international students will be sent details on how to register for this service, and cost, during the summer.  If you have questions about your arrival, please email Sue Conway at  

If CIE pick-up is not possible, you have a couple options available for getting to UWM. You could schedule a door-to-door transportation service through GO Riteway ( ) for about $25.  You could also ride a Milwaukee County public bus (Green Line north bound - which you catch at the airport about a 2 minute walk from the terminal).  The Green Line goes very close to campus.  If you are coming to the main campus (Sandburg Residence halls) you will exit the bus at the corner Oakland and Kenwood Avenues (tell the bus driver that you are going to UWM).  It is about a 7 minute walk to campus from this corner.  The ride takes about 1 hour, with a lot of stops throughout the city.  The one-way fare with free transfer is $2.25 and you must have exact change.  The service runs from approximately 4:00 am - 2:00 am (22 hours a day) on weekdays, with slightly shorter hours on the weekends.  

If you arrive at the Greyhound bus or Amtrak train station in the city center, you can either walk 2-3 blocks north to Wisconsin Avenue and catch a #30 bus eastbound (same instructions as above), or you can take a taxi cab and pay approximately $20-$25 to get to campus from downtown. A taxi ride from the airport directly to the UWM campus will cost about $40-$45.  Some taxis require cash payment, while some may accept credit cards.


You are required to attend a mandatory orientation session. Upon acceptance, information will be sent to you about the date, time, and location of the orientation. Orientation is designed to inform you and the other exchange students in attendance about immigration regulations, health insurance, campus employment, health and safety, to acquaint you with UWM, and to introduce you to the culture and life of the Milwaukee and some fun free-time activities.

The Orientation date for the Fall 2014 term is Friday, August 29, 2014.

Classes begin for the Fall 2014 term on September 2,  2014. 

Health Insurance 

  • NEW AS OF JANUARY 14, 2014, due to changes in policies related to the Affordable Health Care Act, exchange students are now required to purchase a health insurance policy arranged by UWM for international students.