Checklist for New Visiting Scholars

Your Checklist

Important things to consider and do before and soon after you arrive in Lawrence.

Tell your new faculty host (supervisor) at KU when you will arrive in Lawrence. Your supervisor or department may wish to arrange to pick you up at the airport, have lunch or dinner with you, and provide other assistance. Your supervisor will also tell you when your first day will be, where to park, where your office (if any) will be, who to check-in with on your first day, and provide you with department orientation information for your research program.

Learn more about moving to Lawrence and living the the Greater Kansas City area.

You may want to let your home government know that you are in the United States. They may have a registry for citizens who are in the U.S. so that they can contact you in an emergency. 

Here is a resource to find the embassy of your country that is closest to Lawrence. Many countries have embassies in Houston, Chicago, New York and Washington D.C. 

Embassies & Consulates Around The World

It is important to search for housing before you arrive in Lawrence. Learn more on our Find A Place to Live webpage.

There are many cell phone companies that offer service in the Lawrence area and nationwide. You can decide to sign a contract for one or two years with one company or you can buy a month-to-month service that you can cancel anytime. The U.S. has a law that requires cell phone companies to allow customers to keep their U.S. cell phone numbers if you decide to change companies. This is called "porting". If you decide to change companies, make sure you "port" your current cell phone number. 

If you are unsure of which company to buy a cell phone plan with, you can buy a month-to-month or pre-paid cell phone at stores like Walmart and Target. You can decide later to change to another company and keep the cell phone number you have. 

When you decide to buy a cell phone plan with a company, you may be able to continue using your current phone or the company may required you to purchase a phone through them. Companies will often offer cheaper prices on new phones for new customers. However, keep in mind that you may not be able to upgrade or get a new phone with the company until your contract period ends. Be sure to read the contract carefully before signing or purchasing service online. 

The Whistle Out website provides comparisons between cell phone companies. 

The University of Kansas is not affiliated with any bank in the United States. There is no bank location on campus. There are several banks in Lawrence. Contact the banks that you are interested in to find out how to open up a checking or savings account and get an ATM card. You may also want to ask about wire transaction fees to compare costs before deciding on a bank to use. 

There are several ATM locations around campus.

The Kansas Union hosts ATMs by Bank of America, Capitol Federal, UMB and US Bank.

The Burge Union has an ATM for US Bank.

J-1 New Scholar Orientation

If you are in J-1 status, you will need to check-in with ISS and attend a New Scholar Orientation session during your first week of being in the United States.

J-1 New Scholar Orientation

The J visa mandates that you have health insurance. The University of Kansas also requires that you have health insurance for the entire time you are in the United States.

Insurance information for Visiting Scholars

The J-1 research scholar, J-1 short-term scholar, and J-1 professor categories are all eligible to apply for a social security number. A social security number is used for tax purposes. If you will receive funding from a US source, like the University of Kansas, then you will need a social security number.

Learn how to apply for a Social Security Number


Identity Theft

Identity (ID) theft is a crime where a thief steals your personal information, such as your full name or social security number, to commit fraud. The identity thief can use your information to fraudulently apply for credit, file taxes, or get medical services. These acts can damage your credit status, and cost you time and money to restore your good name. You may not know that you are the victim of ID theft until you experience a financial consequence (mystery bills, credit collections, denied loans) down the road from actions that the thief has taken with your stolen identity. 

Learn more about identity theft and how to prevent it.

All children in Kansas between the ages of six and eighteen are required to be registered in and attending school.  In the U.S., all children are eligible for free elementary, middle school and high school education provided by the public school district in the city where you reside.  Many schools offer after-school programs that provide homework assistance and organized activities.  English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction is offered at many public schools.

Learn more about school enrollment for children



Finding childcare for your young children can be stressful and expensive. Start early. Most childcare in the U.S. is not supported by the government and is privately owned. 

Learn more about childcare.