Scholars-Office of International Education - Carnegie Mellon University


Secure temporary housing.

Report to your academic department.

Your department should be able to provide you with information about your email account, office and/or lab space, office telephone, computer facilities, and CMU ID card.

Attend OIE's Scholar Orientation.

The Office of International Education (OIE) located on the 3rd floor of Warner Hall hosts an orientation and immigration check-in for new scholars every Thursday from 1:00pm - 2:30pm. Within the first week of your arrival, call the OIE receptionist at 412-268-5231 to make an appointment for this orientation. This is a required meeting.

Complete Immigration Check In.

This will be completed during the scholar orientation. Bring all orginal documents (passport, visa, DS-2019), as well as copies of your passport, your visa, and your I-94 record. You will also need the Scholar Data Form (.pdf) and the Health Insurance Agreement (.pdf).

This check-in is required; failure to check-in will result in the loss of your legal status.

Get your affiliate or staff identification card (ID) at the Hub.

If you will be paid by CMU, you can obtain an ID card 3-4 days after your department has entered your information into the Human Resources system. If you will not be paid by CMU, your department will give you a form (Affiliate Card Request) to take to the Hub for you to obtain an ID. The Hub is located in the basement of Warner Hall. You must have photo identification (passport is acceptable) with you when you apply for your ID card. Staff receiving benefits will receive a Carnegie Mellon ID+ card with a white bus icon on the card that allows you to ride Pittsburgh public transportation free of charge. Scholars who are not benefits eligible will receive a Carnegie Mellon Affiliate ID card which does not allow for the free bus pass benefit.

Locate off-campus housing.

CMU's Community Housing Office can provide general tips as well as specific information on available apartments and houses for rent. You can also stop by the office on the first floor of Morewood Gardens E-Tower or call them at: (412) 268-2139.

Open a bank account.

Take into consideration services and fees associated with checking and savings accounts, interest rates, ATM machine access, credit and debit card availability, as well as telephone and web banking. You may want to open an account after you find housing so that you can choose a bank located conveniently near to your apartment or house.

Purchase health insurance for yourself and dependents, if you do not already have it.

Health insurance is a necessity in the US because the cost of routine and emergency health care is extremely expensive. J visa holders are required by US federal law to have health insurance. More information about health insurance can be found at University Health Services or at Human Resources for those with CMU benefits.

Apply for a Social Security Number (SSN).

Scholars find it convenient to apply for a permanent SSN when they arrive in Pittsburgh. You will be asked for the SSN at the bank, by your landlord, CMU payroll office, etc. It's the closest thing that Americans have to a national identification number although you are not required to have one unless you will be paid in the US. Apply at a nearby Social Security Administration (SSA) office at least 10 days after you have entered the US (and after you have attended scholar orientation at OIE). It takes approximately 10 days for your entry to the US to be recorded in the immigration database that the SSA must check before they can assign a number to you. You must take your passport, DS-2019, I-94 card (found in your passport) and the SSN application (SS-5). Further information can be found by clicking here.

Go to CMU's Payroll Office.

If you will be paid by CMU, visit the CMU Payroll Office (4516 Henry Street) between 9:30 am and 3:30 pm. Helpful documentation to bring with you includes your passport, DS-2019 and I-94 as well as your Social Security Number or Social Security card. Unless you claim a tax treaty based on the specific treaty between your home country and the US, US federal taxes will be withheld from your paycheck. You will also pay state and local income taxes.

Last Updated:  January 10, 2017