Once in the U.S.A.

You made it into the U.S.! Your journey was long, but by now, you’ve checked into your temporary accomodations, and are looking to finish the process of settling into life here in Charlotte. The following subsections contain information about getting set up at the university, finding permanent housing, arranging health insurance, and getting to know your way around your new city, Charlotte.


Newly arriving visiting scholars should attend a mandatory orientation/check-in meeting held each Wednesday at 1:00pm in the ISSO, located in the CHHS building, suite 202. Please submit your arrival information in the ISSO Scholar Portal using the original email address affiliated with your account. Also, be sure to upload your I-94 arrival/departure record and your health insurance card.

Continuing visiting scholars and international faculty who have individual questions and would like to meet with an advisor should email intlsso@charlotte.edu to set up an appointment.

Please also be in contact with your host faculty to notify him/her of your arrival plans.

We encourage you to view this orientation document which will review important immigration information and useful tips for settling into the UNC Charlotte community and the City of Charlotte. However, your check in appointment also serves as an orientation, where you can ask any specific questions that you may have.


After your visa check in is complete, international scholars and faculty should take steps to complete other on-boarding tasks elsewhere at the university. You should:

*To apply for an SSN from the U.S. government, visit the Social Security Administration and submit the following with your application:

Upon submission, request a receipt for your records.

After you receive your Social Security card in the mail (in 2 to 4 weeks), take it to the King Building (Building # 11 on the Campus Map) Room 222. Federal law requires that the university keep a copy of the original card.

On-Campus Housing

The University has temporary and short term apartments available on campus for visiting international faculty and researchers. Arrangements for living in these apartments are made through your sponsoring academic department.

Costs of Off-Campus Housing

Apartment costs vary greatly. A one bedroom apartment could cost anywhere from $500 – $1000 per month, depending on the location and level of luxury; a two or three bedroom apartment could range from $700 – $1200 a month. Some rentals do not include utility costs (gas, heat and electricity). This can run an additional $30 – $110 per month, depending on apartment size and your usage of energy. Unless otherwise specified, most apartments are also unfurnished.

Locating Your Apartment

If you do not own a car, your transportation options may include car-pooling, living near a Charlotte bus route, or living within walking distance of the university.

The Best Apartment Finding Resources
  • The ISSO has a list of off-campus apartment complexes near UNC Charlotte
  • The Campus News or the University Times listing
  • The Charlotte Observer, the local daily newspaper and bulletin boards on campus

When determining the best place for your needs, keep in mind the following:

  • Is it in a safe area?
  • What are the conditions of the lease?
  • If there is no lease, what are the conditions of tenancy?
  • How much is the security deposit? How and when is it returned?
  • How do you arrange for repairs?
  • How is the building secured? Are the locks and doors secure?
  • What provisions are made for fire safety?
  • Is the apartment insured?
  • What kind of heat is provided? Is it included in the rent? If not, how much will the monthly cost be on average?
  • What utilities are included in the rent?
  • Where are the nearest laundry facilities? Stores? Restaurants?
  • Is it located near the school (s) you want your children to attend?

Per federal regulations, ALL J-1 visa holders and their J-2 dependents MUST have medical insurance for the period of their appointment, starting on the day of arrival. Failure to maintain health insurance is a serious violation of the Exchange Visitor Program regulations and will result in the cancellation of your program.

The insurance coverage must meet the minimums set by the Department of State as follows:

  • $100,000 per accident or illness,
  • Medical evacuation of $50,000 and
  • Repatriation of remains of $25,000
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness
  • The insurance policy must be underwritten by an insurance corporation with an A.M. Best rating of “A-” or above; an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of “A-1” or above a Standard and Poor’s Claims Paying Ability rating of “A-” or above; “A-“or above by Fitch Ratings, Inc.; “A3” or above by Moody’s Investor Services; or a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of B+ or above. Alternatively, the sponsor (UNCC) may ascertain that the EV’s policy is backed by the full faith and credit of the government of the EV’s home country.

Health Insurance


For UNC Charlotte appointments eligible for University sponsored health insurance (post-docs and full-time appointments only), your coverage will not begin until the month following your arrival or program start date, whichever is later. Therefore, you are still required to purchase coverage effective on your date of entry into the U.S. (see below).


If you are not eligible for University-sponsored insurance, or you need coverage until your University-sponsored insurance begins, please find below several links to U.S. health insurance companies offering plans that meet the J-1 requirements:

Click here for additional health insurance information