Moving and adjusting to life in a new country can be an extremely isolating and stressful experience.  It is natural to feel over-whelmed, sad, lonely, frightened, and regretful. But while those feelings may be natural, they are by no means comfortable nor easy to live with.  Sometimes loved ones back home are unable to hear how you are feeling.  They may be more comfortable saying enthusiastic things such as "Oh, what a wonderful adventure this is for you!" than paying attention to the strain you are under. 


There are a few documents that are important to keep updated with respect to the Immigration services. Most importantly with regards to the J status VISA is the DS2019. Make sure that your contractor has an updated version for you whenever you intend to travel outside the US or are going to some other government agency for services.

Social Security Agency

As an employee you most likely will have to make sure that you have a Social Security Number. This will facilitate all financial activates as your unique database key. Most domestic services such as phone lines, insurances etc require a SS# to function properly. Make note that you CANNOT apply for a SS# until 14 days have passed since your entry into the US. The application can be done at a local SS office and usually you will have your number and card within 10 working days.

Health insurance



If you intend to use a car during your stay in the US it is highly recommended that you contact the Maryland Vehicle Administration as soon as you know that you are going to the US and book an appointment for documental review. The normal waiting time is three months for this procedure. If your documental review is fine you can take the written and driving tests the same day and thus convert your international drivers license to a Maryland one. Note that you are obliged to take the compulsory three hour drug and alcoholic course and bring the proof of participation to the documental review.

Yahoo groups

Useful local yahoo groups: - a great way to give away or receive free stuff - a group of Greenbelt area residents who talk about local issues.